WARNING-Graphic image below!
Y’all. Turkeys. We had those birds on our farm for six months. Those birds were very curious and friendly. It was hard to say goodbye. It was even more difficult to dispatch them. They better taste good on Thanksgiving.
You can read all you want about butchering an animal but I am here to tell you life doesn’t follow the book or blog. We had three turkeys and tried three different methods.
Have an unsuspecting person, like myself, holding the turkey upside down. This is to calm the bird and to help the blood to exit the meat. Have another volunteer to “hold the wings”. Have a third person hold the head while a fourth person makes the cut into the turkey’s neck. Can you picture this? It sounded like a good plan. After the cut was made, the bird started flapping his wings. The 25 pound bird was so strong that the wing holder couldn’t hold the wings down. We should have measured the wing span. Let’s just say it felt like a small jet was flying close to my face. As I am holding the flapping bird by his feet, the strength of the bird spins me in circles. I closed my eyes so I wouldn’t get flapped in the face. I hear my three compatriots screaming things like “OOOOOOOOOOO!” and “EWWWWWWWWWW!” which only made me squeeze my eyes tighter closed. This turning in circles with my eyes closed while holding a 25 pound headless bird who is flapping hard enough to fly far far away lasts for about 7 seconds. When I opened my eyes the three turkey murderers were all staring at me and at each other. We were all covered in blood. Blood on my face, glasses, clothes. Even on my teeth. Turns out you should really close your mouth if you are butchering a turkey. I do have a picture of this but decided against posting it online.
Feeling awful and not wanting to repeat that messy escapade, we decided to try a different method.
This method involved a stump and a hatchet. It was also very messy and took more than one whack. Ugh. It still involved holding a flapping bird upside down with blood flying everywhere. There must be a better way.
The third turkey got hung by a rope in the tree before we cut his artery. It was quiet but took several minutes before he was dead. Next time, we will have industrial sized cones. Or maybe a 22?
The good thing about all this is that my friend Crystal (who dates back to middle school days) and her fiancee Chris were able to get their hands into farming. They dream of homesteading one day and were eager to butcher some birds. They were able to kill and clean four chickens and a turkey. We had a great time catching up and discussing farming and our families. Good company sure does make bird butchering more enjoyable. I just hope our friends didn’t get pulled over on the way home. At least they had two coolers filled with dead birds to prove their innocence.
Processing a turkey is very similar to a chicken. Plucking feathers takes the most time. We aim to build an automatic plucker next year so we can raise a large batch of meat birds at once.
My friend Crystal got married this past weekend and she was able to incorporate some of the feathers from the roosters into her decorations. When she sent me photos of the decorations I was touched to know our birds not only fed their family, but were able to contribute to their special day.