Thursday, October 30, 2014

Gobble and Cluck, Skin and Pluck

Where did all the men go?

We did our fall butchering and now we are down to 3 guys on the place: Chase the Wonderbeagle, Elvis the crooning rooster, and Moose the pygmy goat! Woo Hoo!!

If you flash back to April, you might remember the turkey experiment. I stuck some commercial day-old turkeys under the Silkie hens to see if they would raise them- and they did! What an experiment!!
I learned right away that commercial turkeys are not for me! They eat...a lot. And they poop...a lot. That's it, all she wrote. All of them (2 hens and 1 tom) were bigger than we wanted them to be.  I can't imagine how big they COULD have gotten. The feed cost was staggering. Was it worth it? Yes, but just for the learning experience. If I ever raise turkeys again, they will definitely be a smaller, heritage breed. Yes, they cost more but I think the feed cost savings will prove to be beneficial.

Since we only had a few birds to butcher, we didn't get out the turkey fryer/scalder to dip them in. We decided to try our hand at dry plucking. OUCH! That was another lesson learned the hard way. My fingers ached for 2 days after. We also decided to butcher the 2 extra roosters while we had out the equipment and time. After struggling to pluck the turkeys, we tried our hand at skinning the first roo. I've heard it makes the whole process easier and faster- but not for us. We stumbled along and finally got the first one done. But the second one got plucked! Lots of lessons learned in case there's a next time!

Tom turkey (finished out at 28.5 lbs)


  1. Twenty eight pounds, DRESSED?! As in, plucked, gutted and ready to go into the oven? Will it even FIT in the oven?! Wow.
    I keep saying we'll raise one for the Thanksgiving table, but haven't yet. Maybe next time....and maybe a heritage breed. So, were they (the turkeys) as food hungry and poopy as Cornish meat chickens?

    1. Yes, dressed! Before we started plucking he weighed 32 pounds! I've never raised Cornish chickens but I imagine they are similar. The turkeys would BOMBARD us when it was feeding time. They cleaned up everything we gave them and always wanted more.


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