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You are viewing a single post made by Skiekitty in the thread called Toni's 2019 Chicken thread.
|long time since I posted here... quite a bit has gone on but too tired to post it all. Here's what I did today. Copied from my post on FB.
TL:DR - turkey attacked me, processed him into a 35lb Thanksgiving dinner.
Well, my turkey saga is 1/2 complete. I started with 4 poults back in the end of April, sold one in July as he as getting pretty bitey, and, then, yesterday Butterball attacked me. For about 2-3 weeks now, he'd been poofying up more than normal and stomping and hissing, but I didn't pay him any mind as he'd stop when I fed him. Yesterday morning I was hurried, so I just poured the food w/o paying any attention to him, his Jenny, or the other Jake, then went to school. Got home around 3 and went to do the afternoon rounds. He immediately poofed and stomped at me, but I'd seen him do that with the jenny. I bent down to fill a waterer for the little chicks I have outside and he bumped into me w/his chest. Upset, I gave him a look and pushed him back. He then came at me more forcefully, bumping me w/his chest. I shoved him pretty hard w/both hands and told him to cool it. He then angled his head back as far as it would go, his neck gobblething was so red as to almost purple and his head was blue-purple. Rearing back, he clapped my head with his wings! That HURT. OK, it's on.
I put my money with my mouth is. Any time I see someone asking how to break an aggressive rooster, I always use one of the usual images of a crockpot or an instant pot. And, I saw this as a sign of aggression. So, Butterball signed his fate. I walked past him, with him chest-bumping me and fluttering his wings at me, to where I keep my dog crates. I opened a crate and turned back to him. My BBB turkey Jake kept getting between us, which was annoying as it made it THAT much harder to get the white. Butterball kept poofing and hissing and tried to slap me with his wings again, but I was watching for it and stepped back easily (even though he had a 7' wingspan from tip to tip). He kept backing up, hissing at me as I think he could figure out that I was NOT happy. Plus the BBB kept snapping at his head (?). I tried to get behind him so I could guide him to the crate, he was NOT having that at all. So it became a ring-around-the-Rosey with him circling around while I was attempting to get behind him. I tried to grab his head a couple of times, but he'd weave it out of the way super fast like a snake.
Amazingly, the BBB is the one who came to my rescue (?). He lunged forward & grabbed Butterball by the back of the skull and bit hard, pushing his head down. I darted my hand in there and grabbed Butterball's head where it connected to his neck and turned him around. I kept trying to get BBB to let him go, but nope, he was QUITE happy to bite the crap out of Butterball's neck. So I got Butterball guided into the crate and closed the door. I had to get my husband to help me carry him into the garage as he was way too heavy for me to carry by myself. I kept saying, "Butterball, you signed your own fate, dude.. you did this to yourself and I'm not putting up with it!" John & I got him into the garage where I let him stay overnight to empty his crop & bowels.
This morning I had my early morning class, so was home by 1130. But had to feed the husband (they get cranky if they get hungry), so that put me behind. I had watched various YouTube videos on how to dispatch a turkey, so I had a tiny inkling of how I was going to do it. One video I really liked showed putting the turkey head-down into a kitchen garbage can w/a hole cut in the bottom so the head could be pulled out. 2 holes near the top would hold a bar, whereas the entire thing could be suspended up between 2 6' ladders. The guy in the video had used a square frame where he hooked his turkey's legs to - I didn't have that kind of time/energy, so I just threw a rope over one of the support strusses in the garage (I always process in the garage so as to keep as much gore from the neighbors). I made a slipknot noose and tried to get Butterball's feet through it. Nope, that wasn't working. So I got a black sock and put it over his head (saw something VERY much like this on a Dirty Jobs where Mike used a black sock to subdue an ostrich). Butterball did calm down, but for some reason wouldn't cooperate w/me hogtying him (wonder why). So I made the slipknot REALLY big and just had him walk into the noose, then had John hold him still while I slipped the knot tight. I picked up Butterball (almost throwing out my back), and put him in the garbage can I had prepared yesterday. Hoisted him up, but his head was stuck inside the can. Oops. So lifted him up up by his feet, reached in through the hole in the bottom, and pulled down his head. Had John keep him suspended up and dispatched him. One of the toughest things I have done... both emotionally and physically. When I do a chicken, I usually remove completely. I knew, however, from watching the videos, that this wouldn't be much of an option and I would have to drain. Yuck.
After dispatching, put him on the table I had already prepared and got my luggage scale I had picked up yesterday. Using zipties around his feet, I managed to hook it long enough to get a weight: 41lbs dispatched. Wow. BIG turkey. Biggest bird I had processed before was my 7 month old Frankenchicken, who was over 10lbs dispatched, but was barely over 6 when I finished processing (that much fat). So I expected to get no more than 20-25lbs.
I dry plucked him (HUGE PITA w/those big flight feathers!!!) and then set about to the evisceration. Amazingly, that was the simplest part of the entire job! Removed everything, took him inside, spent almost 45 mins washing him out so that he was all pretty. Got him rescaled.. 35lbs. A freaking 35lb dressed turkey. It's just John & me. OMG, that's like 14 meals!
Showed John (he helped w/the holding up, but he's a squeemish guy) the end results and he suggested to quarter him. Ok, not a problem. So I cut off one leg. Holy crap, this thing is bigger than a lamb leg!! Cut off one breast... ridiculous! The 2 wings came off next, then the other breast, then the other leg. I didn't half the legs (thighs from drum sticks), but I *DID* cut the breasts into 2 or 3 pieces each. Too damned big! My FoodSaver vacuum sealer definitely got a workout today and now my freezer is full of fresh turkey. The pictures of the quarter on a platter is a standard sized turkey platter for Thanksgiving. I opted not to keep the neck even though it was huge and very scary looking.
And I have still have 2 more birds to process.. one almost as big!!!!! Yikes!
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