When to butcher turkey's

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by apphorses, Sep 21, 2010.

  1. apphorses

    apphorses Member

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    When do ya'll butcher your turkey's? We have 2 tom's and 1 female(hen?).

    We plan on butcherin' and skinnin' then this weekend. They have gotten quite aggressive with eachother...though 1 tom is *mama* to our 2 guineas.

    I'd say they are around 5 months old.
     
  2. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    It depends on whether they are broad breasted or heritage breeds. The broad breasted should be ready at 4-5 months while the heritage breeds take longer.
     

  3. Kmac15

    Kmac15 This is my life

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    Our toms have started testing each other as well, so we are waiting for the first cool day DH is off. Last year we did them before Halloween and it was still tough with how big some of them got.00
     
  4. apphorses

    apphorses Member

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    The 2 tom's are bourbon reds and the other is a giant white.

    I am guessin' the weight around 25lbs or more. I wanted to wait 'til they dressed out at 20lbs. We have a huge family:O)
     
  5. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    The bourbons you can wait till closer to the holidays. They won't be real meaty yet. Is there any way you can separate them?
     
  6. apphorses

    apphorses Member

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    One tom has run of the property (along with his guineas lol) and the other 2 are fenced up with the goats. But they still fight through the fence.

    So waiting on the bourbons would be better? Everyone keeps tellin' me to butcher them but I keep sayin' not yet.
     
  7. Our Little Farm

    Our Little Farm Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Butcher one of the toms and then let the others get larger or let them be your breeding pair for next year.
     
  8. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

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    As long as someone brought this up...

    We have a tom who's a bit over a year old. He's being very aggressive to my ducks, chickens, heck, EVERYONE. Debating whether to keep him alive over the Winter (the hen has laid lovely eggs, and sat a nest that got flooded out late in the Spring) or butcher him.

    Will a bird that old taste any good? How long are turkeys (toms and hens) fertile?

    Sorry for the hijack, but as long as the question is out there...

    TIA!
     
  9. Our Little Farm

    Our Little Farm Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I would imagine he would be a bit old right now Pony, but might be good if cut up, froze and then cooked in the crock pot.

    I don't like to breed any aggressive animal/bird, it gets culled.
     
  10. Jennifer L.

    Jennifer L. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    A year old is not too old for a heritage type bird. You get them much past two and you might think they are tough, though.

    At a year he'll be tasty!

    Jennifer
     
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  11. cathleenc

    cathleenc Well-Known Member Supporter

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    For me, I turn to butchering time when they start eating too much food and leaving too much turkey poo and fighting too much. I start with culling a tom or two till everyone settles down... and pick up again when they start driving me nuts all over again.

    We've got heritage breed, midget whites.

    Was just thinking about starting to thin them out just this morning.
     
  12. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have Blue Slates, just the tom and hen left from my original five birds.

    Well, I've gotten them grown up to this point. May as well keep them alive for the Winter and look forward to a better Spring - especially since it looks like we may have the barn completed in the next few weeks. Huzzah!
     
  13. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Forgot to say: OLF, Bruce the Turkey is not rude or aggressive to me, just pushes the ducks and chickens around so that his hen can have the best of everything. If there's fresh food in the dish, he chases away the other birds and stands by while his hen, Sheila, eats her fill. Then he escorts her away to another choice spot for tasty bugs or a fresh drink of water.
     
  14. Jcran

    Jcran Well-Known Member

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    Your old turkey can be boned out and made into fabulous ground turkey, turkey sausage, and stock bones! Yummers!
     
  15. Joshie

    Joshie Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If you're going to breed next spring, he sounds like the kind of boy to keep around.
     
  16. apphorses

    apphorses Member

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    I wasn't really plannin' on keepin' any of them.

    Glad to know that we should wait...it really irritates me when people think they know more then me about what I'm raisin'.

    Is skinnin' a good option? We don't have a pot big enough for them and my bil said they are really easy to skin. Now my mom insists that I boil/pluck them...now...uggg.

    What are my best options?
     
  17. bee

    bee WV , hilltop dweller Supporter

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    Your best options are whatever works for you and how you wish to prepare the end product. A skinned bird will look awful on the Thanksgiving table and present problems keeping the bird moist unless roasted in a bag. I skin when I am going to can or freeze portions or when time demands it.

    I just finished a flock reduction and most of the birds were in the 18 month range. They will roast up nice or can be crockpotted, boned out and ground or pressure potted. What you end up with meat quality wise will depend on how you treat it. Before freezing,canning or cooking the birds must "age". I leave mine in the fridge for at least 48 hours and try for around 4 days. You can prepare them as soon as the carcass is completed cooled out by ice or fridge but I prefer longer chilling. Compare the carcass condition to the commercial poultry you buy. Note the softness of the skin and flexability of joints. Several days in the fridge should give you this.

    Age to butcher depends on use. I have done turkeys as "fryers"...IMO it is a waste because of the low meat to bone ratio. Heritage birds need at least 8 months to put meat on bones, again IMO. I have never had a bird too old to eat. You just have to take the age into consideration for cooking method. Older birds have FLAVOR!!
     
  18. Our Little Farm

    Our Little Farm Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'm not getting the bold, especially as you asked a question here :shrug:

    But if you want an answer to the skinning part, it really depends on what you want the bird for. If you are going to roast it, I say scald it and pluck it. If it will be eaten any other way, you can skin it. I agree with keeping it in the fridge to tenderize it, or you can freeze portions.
     
  19. makete

    makete Well-Known Member

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  20. mooman

    mooman Well-Known Member

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    Anything going in my freezer gets processed when I feel they are big enough and gets skinned because its easier and I don't care what it looks like.

    The birds I take to Thanksgiving (25+ people) get dry plucked the tuesday before and brined for 2 days. I feel that A LOT of the quality comes from never being frozen. Chickenista taught me to dry pluck, and while I would not want to do bunches of birds this way, with a helper and only a few birds..... DRY PLUCKING FOR THE WIN :goodjob: