Whoa...are turkeys harder to process than chickens?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by ninjapoodles, Nov 23, 2008.

  1. ninjapoodles

    ninjapoodles Sees What You Did There

    May 24, 2008
    Central Arkansas
    After our easy-breezy chicken butchering experiences, we were unprepared for the struggle we had today with our Thanksgiving turkey.

    Our Narris aren't quite at butchering weight yet, but they're almost 6 months old, and it is Thanksgiving time, after all, so we decided to process one of the Toms today.

    First, the nice neat pithing that sent chickens night-night in an instant did not have the same affect on the turkey. It took longer for those turkey eyes to shut, and that was hard for me.

    For some reason I still don't understand, I thought I'd dry-pluck today. WHAT WAS I THINKING? Ugh. It took ages, and some of those big feathers just didn't want to let go. I'm exhausted.

    We just grabbed the bird up off the pasture, so his crop was bulging full--that thing was the size of a softball!

    He's chilling in the fridge for a couple days now, and then I'll probably brine him for a couple days before roasting. We're having a very small Thanksgiving, so he's just the right size for us this year.
  2. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing Premium Member

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    We did 3 turkeys today, 35 - 50lbs each. We dry plucked. On the wings we did use pliers to pluck those. I liked dry plucking best. We chopped the head - it was like a rodeo. We had to sit and strattle the birds body to handle it.
  3. Laskaland

    Laskaland ThE gRoOvY cHiCkEn

    Aug 2, 2008
    Quote:How old were they? Which breed? I want to do turkeys next spring, would be interested what you had that grew that large
  4. ninjapoodles

    ninjapoodles Sees What You Did There

    May 24, 2008
    Central Arkansas
    Quote:What breeds/how old? We hung ours upside down, and I hugged it while Hubs pithed it. It only had a couple of flap reflexes, but it took a LONG time to totally lose consciousness.
  5. jvls1942

    jvls1942 Crowing

    Oct 16, 2008
    I do not understand why some people dry pluck turkeys.. Is it because you want to save the feathers?? what do you use the feathers for??

    what is pithing??

    I hang turkeys and geese by their feet and cut the jugulars close to their heads. they just hang quietly for a minute or two and then they are dead.. quite undramatic and peaceful..

    I scald them and the plucking is quite easy..

  6. ninjapoodles

    ninjapoodles Sees What You Did There

    May 24, 2008
    Central Arkansas
    I meant to scald, and I just let it get too late in the day, and then we were out of propane, blah, blah, blah. Same old story around here! [​IMG]

    Pithing is just sticking the brain through the roof of the mouth, toward the back. On the chickens we've done, it's caused the feathers to practically roll off almost effortlessly. I think we missed the spot on the turkey.
  7. AK-Bird-brain

    AK-Bird-brain I gots Duckies!

    May 7, 2007
    Sterling, Alaska
    We cleaned a couple of BBB today, After a good soak at 150 degrees for about 20 seconds the feather practically fell out. start to finish about 20-30 minutes per bird. There were a lot easier to pluck than the ones we did this summer, hardly any pin feathers. Even the wing tip feathers (usually the hardest to get out) almost fell right out.
    We used a new trick from I picked up watching Dirty Jobs, hold the turkey by the left wing (close to the body) and the right leg with the bird facing away from you and they hardly struggle. It made it a lot easier to wrangle the birds into position.
  8. dancingbear

    dancingbear Songster

    Aug 2, 2008
    South Central KY
  9. menageriemama

    menageriemama Songster

    Feb 2, 2008
    Lake Nebagamon, WI
    I had the "bright" idea of getting a couple of turkeys off of craigslist in the spring. Rodeo is an apt description of the experience. I ended up shooting them in the head with a .22
  10. Mrs MIA

    Mrs MIA Chick Magnet

    Mar 3, 2008
    30-40 pound turkeys are strong. I definitely want a killing-cone for next year. It takes two of us to lift the bird while it's flapping, and I ALWAYS have to do laundry afterwards, if you get my drift. [​IMG]

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