Processing My First Turkey of the Season

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Butchering Broad Breasted Turkeys

This spring I ordered 10 Broad Breasted White turkeys from Dale (The Chicken Guy) in Wisconsin. Actually, I think I ordered 6, but Dale always orders extra and somehow a few of them end up in my basket. I picked them up on March 13th.

Happy Easter 5s

They were cute little fluff balls when I first got them! But they grew fast. 🙂

Not so cute anymore...and talk about eating machines!

Not so cute anymore…and talk about eating machines!

I’ve been picking them up and feeling their breasts to see if they are ripe and ready to harvest. 😉

With all of the high protein feed and pasture they’ve had available, they are already big enough to start butchering.

turkey

Turkey in the pasture.

It’s not a job I enjoy, and I have a tendency to put it off and only do one turkey at a time. Even though they poop a LOT and are getting kind of ornery, I still hate to do the deed. But, alas, it must be done.

Decapitation station.

Decapitation Station. Make sure you have a gut bucket ready. (Hubby thinks this photo is too graphic, but I think you can all handle it.)

I started last Saturday. I killed and processed one of the largest toms in the flock. I’m guessing he weighed around 16 pounds, but I couldn’t locate the scale. I can say this though, that bird was hanging out of the sides of my roasting pan. 🙂

Slime under the skin.

Slime under the skin.

The turkey carcass wasn’t the best looking and had a yellowish slime under the breast skin. I removed the skin and slime and decided to cut the bird up and freeze it in parts. We had one of the boneless, skinless breasts for dinner for 3 nights. The other breast and both legs went into the freezer. The rest of the carcass went into my stock pot on the stove top. The meat was removed and I pressure canned it with the broth. We have 7 quarts of turkey soup base for the winter set aside now. I will propably do more of the turkeys this way, since I don’t need 10 turkeys for roasting over the next year.

Too big for the scalding pot.

Too big for the scalding pot.

On Thursday I processed another tom. This one weighed in at 18 pounds. (I found the scale…right where I was looking for it.) He went in the freezer as a whole bird, destined for our Thanksgiving table.

It is becoming apparent to me that I need to make a few changes to my butchering techniques.

  • First, I’ve always chopped their heads off with a hatchet so that they don’t suffer. But the last one scratched my arm up pretty good as it was kicking in its death throes. I think maybe I need to look into construction a killing cone and maybe try the braining method ( driving a sharp instrument into the brain through the mouth).
  • Second, I need a bigger scalding pot. The last tom didn’t fit in the pot and I had to turn it over to scald the other end…not easy.
  • Third, instead of ordering the birds in the early spring, I need to order them to arrive in June. Butchering in June and July is pretty rediculous. I had to shoo away flies and rush to get the birds chilled. Lesson learned (maybe, my skull can be pretty thick).

Do you raise your own turkeys? Do you process them yourself, or send to the processer? Have you ever cut your bird up into parts or pressure canned them? I like to hear about your experiences, so please feel free to share!

I shared this post on Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop 🙂


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59 comments on “Processing My First Turkey of the Season

  1. Rebecca

    How old were your broad breasted Turkeys when you butchered? I use a killing cone for chickens but I’m going to cut the corner off a plastic feed bag and attach that to the tree we use. It has to be pretty big for a turkey. I find that once the bird is upside down in the cone it only takes a couple of minutes before their eyes close like they are sleeping and the deed itself is very quick.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Rebecca,
      The broad breasted turkeys were about 3.5 months old when I first started processing them. I have 3 left…the temps got so warm and I’ve been having trouble finding time to finish them. Plus, there’s a part of me that wants to try cross breeding them with heritage turkeys, so I’ve been putting it off. It’s probably more sensible to just butcher them and wait to do breeding experiments when I (hopefully, someday) have more room.

      I’ve thought about trying the feed bag suspended too. I have to butcher in my garage/barn, because I have a neighbor that complains about me doing it outside and I don’t want to get into any arguments. So I might try to see if I can suspend the feed bag from a beam in the barn when I do the rest. Turkeys are a real ‘handful’ to butcher!

      Reply
      1. Anonymous

        Lisa: So do you live inside within the city limits then? Or outside but just with a near to you neighbor? Are you the only one in that area of homes that has chickens and turkeys? Do you have any other type of small animals, like goats or anything? I know I had read everyone’s posts at one point who described their lot size, etc., however I don’t have everyone straight now and all sorted out in my head yet! LOL

        Thanks
        Tirtzah

        Reply
        1. Lisa Lynn Post author

          Hi Tirtzah,
          I live on the other side of the road from our village…we have just a tad over one acre, zoned agricultural. Right now I only have poultry, but I tried goats (for a month….realized that I would need to add a new shelter and fencing, but didn’t want to invest the money in our current property because we plan to move in a few years), and I’ve also raised rabbits for meat.

          I own this blog and all of the articles are mine, written about our homesteading adventures, unless specifically noted in the post. So if you are interested in reading more of my experiences, feel free to poke around in the content section on the right side of the page. I have articles detailing how to butcher chickens, some gardening diy, cooking from scratch, making cheese, foraging for wild foods, and a variety of other subjects. That’s my picture at the bottom 🙂 I hope you enjoy reading more of my blog! Feel free to ask questions and leave comments as you go!

  2. Sunny

    I agree with you I don’t think we save money raising our food. However we aren’t in the store as often. We don’t buy junk food any more. I know our food is healthy and chemical free. Cheaper no but much healthier.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Sunny,
      Very true! I also like knowing that our meat comes from animals that never had antibiotics fed to them and they were humanely raised and processed. Plus, I’ve read that poultry goes through a wash of formeldehyde after processing to kill alll of the bacteria in the chill water…the same water is used all day for thousands of bird carcasses. Yuck.

      I also like knowing that it is fresh and there is no arsenic in the feed…that was another eye opener.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing!

      Reply
    2. Anonymous

      Hi Sunny:

      Totally agree with you Sunny! The homegrown food we grow and raise, without all the growth hormones, antibiotics, bone meal, and foods they weren’t designed to eat in the first place…….makes our animals much healthier a s well as the veggies, herbs and fruit we grow ourselves. Monetarily we make up for it in the long run I think as we are healthier by eating this way, which means less medical care costs. We also are able to get outdoors to take care of the animals and things we grow, which keeps the stressors down in our lives! Stress is a leading cause and factor in disease! So we might pay more to buy feed and fencing etc. But we turn around and save money in not having to pay Dr.’s, Surgeons, Hospitals, etc.!

      Tirtzah

      Reply
  3. Anonymous

    Hi Lisa:

    This reply is in response to your original article itself entitled: ” “. BTW, your pics were great on this article! Seeing the pic you posted “showing the slime”, after you had already plucked it and the pic showed it there in your kitchen sink, that pic
    gave me an idea. I could picture it sitting there in your sink with all of its feathers still on it. However, instead of putting the bird down into a large enough pot of boiling water, I could just picture it in my mind to just let it sit in your sink there with the drain plug in and with all of its feathers still on. Take 2 of your largest pots and boiling water in them with lids on to keep the water hot.

    Now take the first pot and pour that boiling water right over the bird in your sink. Wait 2 to 3 minutes and then very carefully turn the bird over in the sink. Begin pouring the 2nd pot of boiling water also over the chicken. Again wait 2 to 3 minutes and then begin plucking off it’s feathers, (beginning on the side of the chicken in which you poured that first pot of boiling water).

    Like I said, we don’t yet have any chickens, (or turkeys), so I can’t tell you for sure if this will work or not. I can simply “picture” it working in my mind. Seems also that this might be a little “safer” way of doing it maybe? As I am only 5 ft. tall myself and I know what it is like just trying to maneuver taking a 6 pound chicken out of a pot of boiling water sitting on the stove. That pot is much shorter than the height of a pot that was tall enough to fit in an 18# bird!!! Yet it is still a bit scary even just pulling the 6 pounder straight up in the air, high enough to clear the sides even just out of that much shorter pot! I couldn’t imagine someone a short as I am trying to pick up a bird 3 times that weight, out of a pot that was 3 times taller than the size pot I have used for chickens in the past!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Tirtzah,
      I have always done all of the butchering outside so that I’m bringing the ‘clean’ carcass into the house for a final rinse and freezing or refrigerating. The scalding pot is down low so that I don’t have to lift the bird up high to get in and out of the pot. But, the idea of doing it in the kitchen sink could work. My only issue would be that I sometimes butcher on a ‘whim’…deciding to dress a bird at 6 am. Because of this, I am often butchering birds that haven’t had feed withheld for 24 hours. Most people wouldn’t care to do this, because it does mean that you have to be much more careful about getting the contents of the intestines on the carcass, with bacteria being the big issue. So, when I scald the birds, there is often some feces that runs from the vent…Sorry if this is Too Much Info! But, needless to say, I don’t want that in my kitchen sink!

      However, if I have things planned ahead, this could work. I also have an old counter with a sink in it that I sometimese set up for butchering if I’m doing alot of birds, and (if I can find the old sink drain stopper) I could do this. Thanks for the suggestion! So far I’ve been muddling through and have been able to put the bird in, take it out and put the other end in the pot to get the whole thing scalded, but it is a bit of a pain. 😉

      Reply
  4. Tirtzah

    Hi Sunny (and everyone here). I am brand new to this forum. This will be my first “reply”. We are also brand new to actually becoming “homesteaders”. We have been researching things out on our own for years, thinking about what it would be like!!! Just “dreaming”, reading books, watching those types of shows, etc., therefore, I guess we could be called “greenhorns” when it comes to actually “homesteading”. So I was really glad to find this forum!!! (IF, you all don’t mind helping a couple of “greenhorns” with “tips and answers”)? LOL…..

    My hubby and I found each other late in life, (he is 62 and I, 58). We met & have been married 12 years now. One of the things we discovered that we had in common when we first met, was that, it wasn’t that we didn’t want to be around people. It was just that we were both fed up with “this world’s system” now a days! Especially when compared to what it was like in “the pioneer days” of our country! We don’t like giving up $300 a month to have electricity, with heat and air!!! Nor do we like eating foods that have ingredients we can’t even pronounce! Nor meats that have been fed antibiotics and their feed containing things in it that isn’t part of that animal’s normal diet!

    We love to “be neighborly”, but neither of us liked to live where we could put our arm out the side window of our house and touch our neighbors house! LOL Then, about a year and a half ago, we were finally able to purchase a place of our own on almost 3 acres outside of the city limits without having to take out a mortgage! (That’s one payment we’ve gotten rid of now that we’ll never have to pay again)!!! Needless to say we were ready to actually start physically living out our “lifelong dream” of “homesteading”! We were anxious to eat our own food that we had grown ourselves, fresh out of the garden! So that was where we decided to begin our new adventure. However, we didn’t know a soul in this area. Nor did we have a tractor or any type of heavy equipment to turn over the ground. (Not even a plow and yoke of oxen)! LOL We did go rent a tiller thinking that would do the job. However, the property has never had a garden spot and I think the place we did choose must have had the hardest, and most compressed soil of any spot on our property!!! We did manage to get one or two of this or that vegetable, but certainly not anything that amounted to much. With the money we put out on renting the tiller and having it delivered and picked up and the monies spent on starter plants, etc., we could have purchased all our veggies at the farmers market for the entire season!

    So this Spring, we decided that we’d use this year for doing all of the necessary “prepping” we’d need to do, to do everything right to get started. One thing we will do this year is to make a greenhouse out of PVC piping and have some 3 to 1 ratio (top soil and compost) delivered and make some 4 x 4 raised beds so we will be all ready to go next Spring to plant everything we will need so that we won’t have to purchase any veggies at all next year!!! We will also have to purchase a pressure cooker and canning jars, along with digging out a part of a hill near our small brook/stream, to serve as a “root cellar” to put up our onions, garlic, cabbage, potatoes, carrots, etc.

    However, we also wanted to do some “prepping” that would actually yield us some benefits THIS year!!! The obvious place to start would be to “prep” for some small farm animals and maybe some bees? We’d like to have that include having some goats, (especially since our property is bordered on 2 sides by about a 10 ft. depth of briars and brush! However none of our acreage is fenced. Our neighbors had split rail fencing on a portion of their place they had just put up for their new Yorkie, when they decided to sell instead and move near their grandkids. We were really blessed because they let us have all of their fencing, (split rail plus chicken wire so their Yorkie couldn’t get out)!!! If we would just do the work ourselves of taking it all up and bringing it over here. (We were lucky that they hadn’t “set” any of the posts in with quickcrete)! We’ve purchased a used truck now so we were able to bring it over here ourselves. One of our questions we have is about goats. What is the most docile breed of goats that would be good for beginners like us to start out with? Also, do the goats just instinctively know what NOT to eat when turned out in a briar patch and bush, weeds, etc.? Can we just turn the goats loose in those areas and they would know to only eat what is NOT poisonous to them??? One other question is, neither my husband nor I like the taste of goat cheese! So then is it also likely that we would NOT like the taste of both the goats “milk” as well as the goats “meat”??? We both DO like the “wild” taste of the deer, elk and caribou meats, etc. Any thoughts by anyone???

    Well, besides the goats, our thoughts were that, of course, chickens and maybe a few turkeys would be the place for us to start. We drew up some “plans” and went to purchase the lumber, PVC materials, etc., to begin construction on our new chicken movable “pen” and chicken “house”. We finished our portable chicken “pen” in just one afternoon and began work on the plans we drew up for building our chicken “house” (which will be stationary), when the heat of Summer hit all of a sudden, just like it always does here in NC. (So I know what you mean Sunny about the heat of the summers here)! We are in the Piedmont area, about 40 miles NE of downtown Charlotte or just about 20 miles from Matthews on 485. (Wonder if we are close enough to be “neighbors”? As the saying goes: “It’s a small world”). LOL

    Anyway, we got the floor built and all four walls constructed over the next few weeks. Then we began putting up the walls attaching them to the floor. The back and both sides are done. We still need to attach the last of the four walls, (the front one), cut out the front door, “frame” it and “hang” the “people” door. Then we’ll need to make the “ridge pole” up for the roof and cut and put up the rafters. We also really want to make the roof out of wood “shake” that we make ourselves, as we have lots of dead trees we can use on our property! If anyone has the “know how” to make these, we’d sure appreciate the information! Also any tips on cutting out the door opening and then framing it out to “hang” the door we cut out? (Told ya we were “greenhorns”)…LOL We DO have a general idea on “how to” make the temporary uprights for the “ridge post” and how to cut the angle for the rafters. But we will gladly accept any “tips” on doing this part or anything you all would think we would need to know involved in doing this roof???

    Question for Sunny specifically, since you mentioned you use a “cone” for slaughtering your turkeys is that I was wondering “what” you used specifically as a “cone” that is large enough for holding the turkeys? (We will be using the 2 gallon bleach jugs for doing our chickens). But I can’t think of something that would be large enough to hold like a 16-18# bird?

    UPDATE: My husband was replacing the blade belt on our riding lawnmower. It was up on blocks and it began to slip. His auto reflex response was to try to “catch it” and in so doing he injured his right shoulder. The MRI report shows a tear. He goes back to the Orthopedic Dr. this Monday the 13th. It looks like he will need surgery to repair it. So that means 8 weeks from now before he can get back to finishing our chicken coop/house. I’ve heard the term used in construction of getting the building “in the dry” and was wondering if this is something I will need to do while waiting for his shoulder to heal? I know I can get one large tarp and cover the area where the front wall will go. (Our chicken coop dimensions are 4’ deep by 8’ wide and 8’ high). My question though is about covering the top of the coop. Since we don’t yet have the “ridge post” up on temporary upright posts, until we actually attach the rafters, this means there is no “angle” on top. So if I were to cover the top with a tarp, I can see that rain water will just “pool” up until the weight of the water would cause it to “cave in”! So my question is what is the fastest and easiest way for a “short” (5’ tall), woman to get the top of it covered? Would it be easiest to just go ahead and put up the “ridge post” on 2 temporary uprights, (leaving me with the needed “angle”)? Or is there another solution that would be easier and/or faster???

    Need HELP! It is posting my comments as “Anonymous”! I don’t have a “website” to put on the 3rd line of the “details” to “fill in” and if I click on the fb icon then it doesn’t even post my comment at all when I click on “post comment”! If I put my “details” in the 3 lines to “fill in” to log in that way, the first time, when I put in my email address, the next 2 lines of info filled in automatically, even including some “website” address, but I don’t have any “websites”. The 2nd time I tried it that way, I put in my email address and my “Name” (which is Tirtzah), BTW, it told me I must enter a valid email address. I checked it and it was “correct” but I erased it and put it in again, making sure it was correct and it wouldn’t post that way either??? What am I doing wrong and what do I need to do??? Also, I already signed up to receive these comments when posted a new comment and am receiving the in my email inbox so it can’t be that???

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Tirtzah,
      Just a quick note…don’t put an email address or link to a website in your message and it should go through fine. I approved your other messages so you are in the system now. 🙂

      I think I answered some of these questions already, but I have a thought about the turkey killing cone. I am hoping to fashion one myself for the next time I raise turkeys. I plan to use some scrap tin or aluminum sheeting, bend the sharp edges into sort of a seam along the edges to prevent myself from getting cut up on it, then form it into a cone. I have a friend who did this and I butchered chickens with him using his homemade cone and it worked great. The only thing he didn’t do is turn the edges so that they weren’t sharp. So I ended up with a nasty cut on my arm that got infected from the chicken goop as I was dressing them. It took over a week of antibiotic cream and daily cleansing to get it to heal up properly. But it certainly gave me some good insight for creating my own!

      I hope this helps! And I just want to say, Congratulations to you and your hubby on finding a property where you are able to homestead! Keep up the good work and I hope your hubby heals up quickly from his shoulder injury!

      Reply
      1. Anonymous

        Thanks Lisa: Sorry about that posting twice like that! Before you told me that it would post as “Anonymous” until you approved me, when I didn’t see it post I copy/pasted it (since it was so long, in case I lost it or something), and then resent it. So I guess then once you “approved” me it then posted both of them?

        You all are being very kind and helpful with answering my many questions as we set out to just starting our “homesteading” adventure here! This 3 acres came with a huge manufactured home and it is just the 2 of us. We are renting 2 of the bedrooms out which helps us with the enormous electricity bill we have here!

        What we are wanting to do here, once my hubby’s shoulder heals is to begin cutting down the dead trees that are here on the property. We are going to get one of those attachments that you can purchase for the chainsaw, that gives you the ability to turn your chainsaw into a “portable sawmill” for sawing actual board lumber! Once we do that, the first thing I want to build here on the property is an “outhouse”…….LOL

        After that we are also going to cut into the side of a hill we have here by the small creek that runs the length of our property and build walls down inside there and shelves and make it a “root cellar”. Probably will put a “sod” roof on it.

        Once we do those 2 small projects, we want to use the rest of the dead trees on our property here and begin cutting them down and “notching” them out to stack them as walls to build an old fashioned log cabin here on the property! We will use the attachment to the chain saw to “square off” the logs on 3 sides, keeping the outside log “rounded” for the “look” and “old fashioned effect” it will have that way! We want to also go “antiquing” and hope to find an antique “draw knife” for stripping off the bark on the “rounded” side.

        From there our plan is to set up a few solar panels to just run a fridge and freezer and a few lights and a not too strong of a whole house type fan, since the cabin will probably be less than 900 sq. ft. and we don’t want to get blown out with a “Tornado”!…..LOL We will put in a combination wood stove for cooking and for heat. Has anyone seen these online? They are only $2500 and they have a place that heats up the water and has 2 ovens! These are also made sort of along the lines of a “rocket stove” where they burn hot and also burn up the “off gases”! The only other thing we would use the electricity for would be for a “continuous on demand” hot water system so that we aren’t paying for heating up 40 gallons of water 24/7 when at the most, we only need hot water for between 1 hour to 1 1/2 hrs. each day! Then we would actually move into this and just rent out all of 3 bedrooms in the double wide.

        We volunteer 3 nights a week for the past 3 years now down at our local homeless shelter here in town. Our desire is to offer these rooms to the homeless that come along that actually really DO want to work, but just can’t find work in our small town here….We can offer them room and board and a small stipend per month to help out on the property taking care of the animals, fencing, milking, fence repairs, gardening and any building projects etc. They can get out of the homeless shelter and begin to build their self-esteem again. Using this as a sort of “stepping stone” to get back on their feet once again….A lot of work ahead of us here but we are looking forward to it!!!

        Tirtzah

        Reply
        1. Lisa Lynn Post author

          I think that what you would like to do to help the homeless is a wonderful thing! It sounds like you have a great plan 🙂 My Dad is always on the look out for antique tools, such as draw knives, and he finds them sometimes at flea markets, antique shops, auctions, and garage sales. He also finds old axe heads, mauls, and such…so keep your eyes open!

          I also suggest that you check your local craigslist and freecycle for useful things. You may find a woodstove there or you might want to check for local businesses that sell fireplaces, etc. They may have to special order for you, but they can also install usually. If you wish to install yourself, check with your insurance company to see what steps you need to take to make sure you do it right…otherwise you may not be covered in the case of a fire.

          I’m not sure why you are still showing up as Anonymous…try signing up again. Sorry for the confusion! Best wishes!

        2. Anonymous

          Hi Lisa:

          No that one is another “Anonymous”……I just “replied” to what that person posted is all……Also, thanks for the info regarding not to have the water above 140 degrees! I didn’t know that part! You all are great to take the time to teach us who are newly just coming into “homesteading”!!!’

        3. Anonymous

          Oh WOW Lisa! Yeah, it really does have me back as being “Anonymous” again! I didn’t even notice this before! I really did reply to another person who’s post came in as being from “Anonymous” though!

          Oh No!!! I hope I didn’t post a reply to something I myself posted!!! LOL

          Well, once you accepted me and I posted those, I was actually also logged into my fb account with it open. These latest posts, I still clicked on the fb icon here in order to log in……However, I didn’t have my fb account open nor was I logged in then! Do you think maybe that is why? I will open and log into fb before I post this one and see if that fixes it.

        4. Anonymous

          Hi Lisa:

          OK so I opened up my fb account and logged in to it first and then I clicked the fb icon here before sending that last post and it DID still post me as “Anonymous”! Weird!!!

          So I guess I will go back and “sign up” again now, is that what you want me to try doing?

          Tirtzah

        5. Lisa Lynn Post author

          Hi Tirtzah,
          I have no idea why it is doing this! Did you sign in for email updates? Technology gives me a headache sometimes 😉 I hope we can get it straightened out!

        6. Anonymous

          Hi Lisa:

          LOL…yes me too! I am a pc dummy! LOL

          Yes, I signed up for email updates and that is how I get on to your site to post. That way is simplest! All I have to do is when someone posts a new post, it comes into my email account, I click on it there, read it and click reply. So that never changed since I have done that since the beginning.

          Also, I did as you suggested and tried to re-sign up for email and when I did, I got the message that it did not go through because……I was already signed up. Should I “UN- subscribe” …….. and THEN sign up again? I’m sorry to be a pain!

          Perhaps someone on this site is a pc genius and would be willing to chime in and tell us what we need to do? How about it? Anyone out there have any ideas?

          Tirtzah

        7. Lisa Lynn Post author

          Hi Tritzah,
          Go ahead and try unsubscribing and signing up again to see if that solves the problem. If it doesn’t, send me an email through the ‘contact me’ button at the top of the page and I’ll see if I can get you signed up manually. Hopefully we can get you signed up so that your name shows up! Also…Did you sign up through the side bar where it says “Join the SS HomeAcre Clan” or did you sign up at the bottom of this post to receive new comments and posts by email? If you signed up at the bottom, I don’t think I can change your info…but if you sign up in the side bar (up near the top of the page, on the right hand side, under the picture of the apples in a blue bowl) then I can change some things. Good luck and let me know if this works!

        8. Anonymous

          Hi Lisa: I signed up on the right hand side under the blue bowl…..I have been super busy but I don’t know…. how do I “Un-Subscribe”? I don’t see anything on your site to do this? Oh, I found out how to Un-Subscribe in case anyone else asks you in the future how to do it.

          Here’s how I did it: I went to my own email where the posts for your Self sufficient Home Acre comments go and I clicked onto one of those comments in my email. Down at the bottom of that email it says: “Want less email”? Then in blue, so you just click on it, it says: “Un-Subscribe from all follow-up comments” you can click on that one. But then ALSO still click on the next one that says: “Modify your Subscription Options”. Clicking on this last one will take you to The Word Press site where you can “Manage all of your Word Press Accounts”.

          Scroll on down that page and then click inside the little “circle” there to “select” the “HomeAcre” one and then click the word “Un-Follow” over on the right on that same line. You have to do BOTH! Because at first, all I did was to click on the one that says: “Un-Subscribe from all follow-up comments” and I got a message back that I was successful and would not be receiving anymore comments into my email. However that message and click must be what to do to contact my own email provider….because…..when I went back and clicked on that 2nd one that says: “Modify your Subscription Options”, (run by Word Press themselves)….it still showed me as being active and as “following” the HomeAcre site. So I clicked that circle on the left for “HomeAcre” and then clicked on “Un-follow” on that same line on the right……..and THEN I got the message from WordPress that I was successful and they hated to loose me but if I changed my mind in the future they would love to have me sign back up!

          Hopefully though, this doesn’t ever happen to anyone else so you won’t need to ever instruct anyone how to do this! It was hard for me to “Un-Subscribe” because I am enjoying your site sooo much!!! LOL I already have put in another request to “Subscribe”, so that I could post this comment to you.

          Thanks
          Tirtzah

        9. Lisa Lynn Post author

          Hi Tritzah,
          It can be pretty confusing because you can sign up to receive all of my posts in your inbox by putting your email in the side bar, but you can also sign up just to receive notice when anyone leaves a comment on a post you want to follow…which is totally separate! I still see you showing up as anonymous…so I’m going to check and see if I can figure this out. Thanks for following me!

        10. Anonymous

          Hi Lisa (or anyone):

          Was wondering if we can make up our own chicken feed using items we grow? I know we can add calcium for egg laying hens by keeping our egg shells and then crushing them up really fine and adding that to their feed. However, I think when I read this that the article said you didn’t want to do )?

          What all is in organic chicken feed? Before we domesticated the chicken, they existed strictly on free ranging. So I am not understanding why this is not something we can do in this day and age as well? I know they need protein so we can provide them with things such as worms, (maggots if you can stomach this) and other such insects such as beetles.

          Another article I was reading said that you can get a couple of insect traps, such as beetle traps and cut off the bottom. When they go into the trap, whatever they eat in there kills them and then the beetle falls to the ground for the chickens to eat, since their is no bottom in anymore to catch the beetle.

          But other than the protein, the calcium, and of course grass, honeysuckle, and other such greenery, what else do they need to get all the rest of the nutrients they need?

          Thanks
          Tirtzah

        11. Lisa Lynn Post author

          Hi Tirtzah,
          If you can let your chickens free range over a wide area, they can get a lot more of their own food. The thing is, most people can’t let their flock go that far because of predators. You can give them a lot of weeds, spent veggies, compost, meat scraps, etc…but the layer feed or a laying hen supplement has all of the nutrients they need to lay lots of eggs. I have experimented with mixing up my own feed for them and ended up with very thin shelled eggs. Which were easily broken and then eaten by the chickens. That was disappointing. 🙁

          I know that some people have experimented and had good luck. I wrote a post about mixing up my own feed and did some research. You can read my post here…

          https://www.theselfsufficienthomeacre.com/2013/10/pre-mixed-chicken-feed-vs-mix-your-own.html

          You might also be interested in these posts…

          https://www.theselfsufficienthomeacre.com/2014/02/12-ways-to-reduce-your-chicken-feed-bill.html

          https://www.theselfsufficienthomeacre.com/2013/09/can-you-save-money-on-chicken-feed.html

    2. Sunny

      We use an orange road construction cone with the tip cut off. We raise chickens and rabbits, no turkeys. Sorry if my post was misleading.

      Reply
      1. Lisa Lynn Post author

        Hi Sunny,
        No, I don’t think your post was misleading…I think we just got excited 🙂 The construction cone is an interesting idea! Thanks for sharing!

        Reply
      2. Anonymous

        Hi Sunny:

        No your post was not misleading at all. I was replying specifically to what you said in your post about how hot it gets in July/summer here in NC when you begin slaughtering your chickens. We also live in NC, in the Piedmont area about 20 miles from Matthews and about 40 miles from downtown Charlotte area……So I just wanted to specifically say hello to you (and I included saying hello to everyone here on that post because it was my very first post on this forum, so I also included an “Introduction” about who we are).

        However, was replying specifically to you wondering if we could possibly be “neighbors” wondering if you were anywhere near us??? They say: “It’s a small world”……

        Tirtzah

        Reply
  5. Deborah

    It’s always hard to process animals. It’s a gory picture, but we can handle it.
    We looked into ordering some turkeys (turklings? 🙂 ) this year, but they were $12 apiece, and alas, not in the budget. It’s on the to-do list for another year though.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Deborah,
      The cost of heritage turkey poults prevented me from jumping into the turkey raising adventure for several years…so I understand completely. I did get a breeding trio of Narragansetts, but found that they weren’t very productive parents. Keeping them in our current set up (in with chickens) and feeding them all year with only a handful of babies to repay us for the feed wasn’t very cost effective. So this year I ordered the Broad Breasted Whites again and I’m almost done processing them…3 more to go. It is a much more efficient way to have home raised turkeys if you don’t have a lot of space for breeding stock. Someday I hope to have heritage turkeys again, however.

      I’m glad the photo wasn’t too overwhelming! Thanks for stopping by!
      PS: I have a cheaper alternative for ordering the baby turkeys (poults) for $3.50 each, but I noticed that most of the hatcheries are charging over $5 for them this year. You usually have to order 15, which makes it a big expenditure.

      Reply
  6. Lisa Lynne

    Id I’ve to have land in order to raise turkey, duck, and chickens. I think though I’d have to have someone else do the killing as much as I love eating meat I also love animals and would probably make them pets. Lol. Or raise them for eggs.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Lisa Lynne,
      It isn’t easy to kill these birds that I’ve raised from babies…you’re so right. But I don’t let myself get attached so I can eat them. It is still hard to kill them, each and every time. Actually, I hope I never get to the point where I don’t mind it. Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  7. beccab14

    We use a killing cone. I do believe this calms the bird into a hug and it becomes more of a relaxed process. We went to our first Mother Earth News Fair a few years ago, watched Joel Salatin process chickens, and have followed his method from the beginning. I’m a bit of a fan of his. We do both our chickens and turkeys the same way. There is a video in this article.

    http://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/chicken-processing-for-the-uninitiated.aspx

    Last year our midget white turkeys hatched out 20+ babes, so we applied for and was inspected for a slaughter permit to sell off our farm. Spendy, but worth not having 27 turkeys in our freezer 🙂

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi beccab,
      Thanks for sharing the link…I’ll have to check that out. Since it is from Mother Earth News, I’m keeping the link. Best wishes with your turkey adventures!

      Reply
  8. Vikki

    I’m excited! First duck egg yesterday, 4th of July! Don’t know which laid it..Running duck or the Pekin. Another today found by some cactus… putting out some straw in odd places, hope they use those!!

    Reply
  9. Sunny

    We also end up butchering our chickens on the hottest days of the year in NC and we always do a lot at a time. We hate that day!!!!! But when all is said and done farming isn’t always easy or fun everyday. Good thing the rest of it makes up for the unpleasantness. It beats the options!!! And most of all a family that works together for a joint goal has plenty of bonding going on!!! Lol we never run out of things to talk about.
    I think the cone and hatchet will be a good choice. That what we use and it works well.

    Reply
    1. Monique Brown

      Sunny, do you chop off the head while the chicken/turkey is in the cone? Isn’t it hard to get your aim right?

      Reply
      1. Sunny

        We use a very sharp knife to cut their throat then put them neck down in the cone to bleed out. I have seen videos where they pull the head thru the cone first but I don’t want to terrorize the bird . I hold them upside down until they pass out then we do the deed. I speak soothing tones to thank them as the pass out. We give our birds a wonderful life and are grateful for the gift of their lives as our food.
        I also thank my plants for the food they produce as I pick it.
        I try to be grateful for all gifts in my life and view everything g as a gift. I may be a bit odd but most days I am he happiest person I know. Lol

        Reply
        1. Lisa Lynn Post author

          I think that’s great, Sunny! Sounds like you have a good system going. 🙂 I wish that more people were as grateful for the lives that are taken so they can eat meat. It is the wholesale neglect and inhumane conditions that most animals are subjected to so that we can eat meat that brought me to the place I am now. You’ve got the right idea!

        2. Anonymous

          Hi Sunny……I heard that if you lay the bird on its back and rub it’s underside, (ie: breast, belly), that it sort of hypnotizes the bird and that you know if it is hypnotized, if when you stop and take your hands off of the bird it remains lying perfectly still on its back for half a minute up to a couple minutes. Has anyone else heard this or tried this to see if this is true or just “an old wives tale”? I don’t have any birds to try this out on yet.

        3. Anonymous

          Wow! I am brand new to both “homesteading” as well as to this forum group. I wrote a fairly lengthy reply to Sunnys post and also to everyone sort of an introduction. I put in my email only in the “details” part you fill out when wanting to post a reply and my “Name” and a “website” address automatically filled itself in once I put in my email address. Since it was long I went ahead and “copied” it and then “pasted” it into a “Word” document and saved it, just in case. Good thing I did because it didn’t even “Post” onto this forum! Then I went back to finish reading more of the posts on the first Turkey slaughter and found another one I wanted to reply to. So I clicked on reply and it again asked for my details. However, this time when I put in my email address, nothing else filled in automatically like it did the first time. I remembered what it put for “Name” but I don’t have a website so I couldn’t do that one. When I clicked on “Post comment” it came back telling me: “You must put in a valid email address”. I checked the email address and it was correct so I thought maybe I didn’t have to re-put in my details cause I had just posted something 2 minutes ago? So I just cleared it out and clicked on “post comment” and it seemed to take it that time. So when the replies to the original post came back up again and I began to read more of them, I came across this 2nd post of mine and it says it was posted by “Anonymous”??? But my original, first, longer reply and intro still hasn’t posted to the forum here? So this time I am going to log in clicking on face book icon to do it and see what happens this time with this post? If it posts, then I will copy my original intro and reply that hasn’t posted yet and try to post it using my fb details log in. I don’t know what to put on the 3rd line of the “details” since I don’t have a “website”? I am guessing that whatever website it put in for me automatically “filling” in like that was the reason that my first post didn’t post??? Anyone know what I should put there if this also posts as being from “Anonymous”??? Also, I click on the fb icon to log in that way and fb connects and then goes away and the 3 lines of “details” to fill in are still blank? So what am I doing wrong trying to log in using the fb icon? I made sure my cursor was blinking in the “details” first line area. I also did it again without my cursor being in that “details” area??? Please someone who is pc savvy advise me (who is a pc dummy…lol)??? Thanks–My name is Tirtzah

        4. Lisa Lynn Post author

          Hi Tirtzah,
          I have been able to do this with young chicks that weren’t afraid of me yet. All of my birds eventually come to see me as the one who brings food, but should not be trusted or you will disappear and never return! So once they are adults I can’t pull the hypnotizing trick on them…they’re onto me!

        5. Anonymous

          Hi Lisa:

          OK, so its not just “an old wives tale” and you really can do that and it will sort of “hypnotize” them then, OK wow,
          how cool is that! However, they do grow and get wise to
          us, huh? Well thanks for letting me know this!

          Tirtzah

        6. Lisa Lynn Post author

          Hi Tirtzah,
          No problem! I find it works best with young chicks at my house. But I think that someone who treats their chickens more as pets would be able to do this to adult chickens too. 😉

        7. Anonymous

          Hi Lisa:

          True…..until they started taking one or 2 “pets” at a time out “hypnotized” like that and then not bringing them back again……LOL

          Was wondering about raising chickens for both eggs and then when they stop laying, using them for meat and what the cost analysis was on doing this? In other words, by the time you consider the cost of feeding say 4 (regular size, not Bantam) chickens and the amount of eggs you would get out of those 4, for 1 1/2 to 2 years and then eating all 4 eventually for meat….Is it cheaper to do this than to purchase the same amount of eggs from a rural neighbor @ $3 dozen and then purchasing 4 all natural free range chicken for eating??? It seems at first to look to me like it would be more expensive to raise your own and feed them then it would to just purchase from a rural neighbor that free ranged their chickens and fed them right without using antibiotics and hormones etc.? If it is more expensive, have you done a cost analysis to know how much more expensive it would be?

          For example, when we first purchased this land and home, we wanted to plant a garden!!! We didn’t have any equipment or even a truck yet at that time! So we rented a roto tiller and tried to till up the soil. We found out we had “hard as a rock” compressed soil! So after tilling, we just dug holes and filled them with miracle grow for vegetables, soil and being past time for planting from seeds, we then purchased starter plants, etc., and once you account for all the money we spent that first year on the tiller, the soil and the started plants, etc…The money that we had put into it would have purchased all of our veggies for the entire season!!! Instead, all we got out of it were a few tomatoes and cucumbers, a little bit of lettuce, a couple of tiny green peppers, 4 tiny onions and maybe 6 squash and 6 zucchini!!!

          We definitely went upside down last summer on that first garden here!!! So we don’t want to do that with our chickens. We realize that there are initial start up costs for chickens in having to get a coop and nesting boxes and all the other equipment to feed and water them a heat lamp for the babies, the incubator, etc. But then after those initial costs are out of the way and just doing this from one year to the next……is it very much more expensive to raise your own for eggs and meat then it is to just purchase eggs and meat birds from our neighboring farmer down the road???

          Thanks
          Tirtzah

        8. Lisa Lynn Post author

          Hi Tirtzah,
          I’ll be honest…I really don’t think I ‘save’ any money on my eggs and meat. It is much cheaper for the big companies to raise eggs and meat because they buy so much food that they get it at a rediculously cheap price…plus they take advantage of the farms who raise the chickens.

          If you have room to raise your hens with a very large pasture and you can raise some, or all, of their food, you may be able to raise them less expensively. I don’t have the room here. I haven’t done a cost analysis…there are too many factors to take into account. For example, I also have ducks and turkeys in my flock…so it is hard to figure out how much each type of bird is consuming. And I buy in hay for bedding, plus there are medications occasionally. But I try to save by feeding all of our compost to the flock, plus the weeds and spoiled veggies from the garden go in the pasture. They have so much room in their pasture that they always have fresh grass in season. So I save some $ that way. I sell any eggs we don’t use and all of the old hens are eaten. I don’t keep them as pets as some folks do…they are made into soup or pressure canned for the winter.

          If we are able to move after hubby retires, I plan to try keeping track of the costs associated with raising chickens and other poultry. Until then, I just try not to overdo it! 😉

        9. Anonymous

          Hi Lisa:

          No problem at all about the details you posted. I first volunteered at the hospital as a Freshman at age 14. I wanted to watch an actual autopsy and had to have my mom sign a permission slip for me to be allowed to do so, but I was able to see one being done! It was very interesting!!! It didn’t bother me one bit! I have a strong stomach. I know a lot of people don’t though.

          Glad my suggestion was a good one for you! What you posted was also helpful for me as well. I hadn’t thought that far ahead yet. I knew I would be slaughtering the chickens outside of course. But I didn’t know about not letting them have access to food prior to slaughtering them! For how long should they not have access to food prior to slaughtering them? 24 hours?

          Also, what sort of set-up do you have outside for a boiling pot that is low like that? Can you describe it a little? As I imagine I am going to need to do something similar for gutting and plucking my birds too!

          Thanks
          Tirtzah

        10. Lisa Lynn Post author

          Hi Tirtzah,
          Our kitchen range has one of those smooth glass cooktops, so I bought a single burner for doing my canning. I use that burner for heating the water up for scalding. I set the burner on a wooden box that is about 18″ high so I don’t have to bend over as much (easier on my old back), but low enough that I don’t have to lift the birds up high…important when I’m lifting a 20 pound + turkey! We have outlets in our garage/barn so it is pretty convenient. The water needs to be heated to about 140F, not boiling. If it gets up over 150 or so, it will cook the skin and then the skin will come right off with the feathers.

          If you wish to remove food for a cleaner digestive system when you butcher, put the birds to be processed in a separate pen or cage for 24 ours with fresh, clean water and clean bedding…but no food. This will make it easier to remove the innards when you are ready. If I have room and I am planning ahead to do a larger number of birds, this is how I do it.

        11. Sunny

          The hypnosis iidea is interesting. I have never hear of it before. Like Lisa my birds have seen me take their friends away never to return. They like me for food and eat out of my hands but have a healthy distrust when I pick them up. They know that I will clip their wings or take them away but they are not sure which lol.

    2. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Wow! It sounds like you have a hot and unpleasant day coming up soon, Sunny! Best wishes with your butcher day! I usually am butchering on my own. The guys usually offer to help, but they always have so many other things on their ‘to-do’ list that I try to take care of it on my own. It is supposed to be cooler later this week and I am hoping to get most of the rest of them done.

      Thanks for the input!

      Reply
    3. Tirtzah

      Hi Sunny (and everyone here). I am brand new to this forum. This will be my first “reply”. We are also brand new to actually becoming “homesteaders”. We have been researching things out on our own for years, thinking about what it would be like!!! Just “dreaming”, reading books, watching those types of shows, etc., therefore, I guess we could be called “greenhorns” when it comes to actually “homesteading”. So I was really glad to find this forum!!! (IF, you all don’t mind helping a couple of “greenhorns” with “tips and answers”)? LOL…..

      My hubby and I found each other late in life, (he is 62 and I, 58). We met & have been married 12 years now. One of the things we discovered that we had in common when we first met, was that, it wasn’t that we didn’t want to be around people. It was just that we were both fed up with “this world’s system” now a days! Especially when compared to what it was like in “the pioneer days” of our country! We don’t like giving up $300 a month to have electricity, with heat and air!!! Nor do we like eating foods that have ingredients we can’t even pronounce! Nor meats that have been fed antibiotics and their feed containing things in it that isn’t part of that animal’s normal diet!

      We love to “be neighborly”, but neither of us liked to live where we could put our arm out the side window of our house and touch our neighbors house! LOL Then, about a year and a half ago, we were finally able to purchase a place of our own on almost 3 acres outside of the city limits without having to take out a mortgage! (That’s one payment we’ve gotten rid of now that we’ll never have to pay again)!!! Needless to say we were ready to actually start physically living out our “lifelong dream” of “homesteading”! We were anxious to eat our own food that we had grown ourselves, fresh out of the garden! So that was where we decided to begin our new adventure. However, we didn’t know a soul in this area. Nor did we have a tractor or any type of heavy equipment to turn over the ground. (Not even a plow and yoke of oxen)! LOL We did go rent a tiller thinking that would do the job. However, the property has never had a garden spot and I think the place we did choose must have had the hardest, and most compressed soil of any spot on our property!!! We did manage to get one or two of this or that vegetable, but certainly not anything that amounted to much. With the money we put out on renting the tiller and having it delivered and picked up and the monies spent on starter plants, etc., we could have purchased all our veggies at the farmers market for the entire season!

      So this Spring, we decided that we’d use this year for doing all of the necessary “prepping” we’d need to do, to do everything right to get started. One thing we will do this year is to make a greenhouse out of PVC piping and have some 3 to 1 ratio (top soil and compost) delivered and make some 4 x 4 raised beds so we will be all ready to go next Spring to plant everything we will need so that we won’t have to purchase any veggies at all next year!!! We will also have to purchase a pressure cooker and canning jars, along with digging out a part of a hill near our small brook/stream, to serve as a “root cellar” to put up our onions, garlic, cabbage, potatoes, carrots, etc.

      However, we also wanted to do some “prepping” that would actually yield us some benefits THIS year!!! The obvious place to start would be to “prep” for some small farm animals and maybe some bees? We’d like to have that include having some goats, (especially since our property is bordered on 2 sides by about a 10 ft. depth of briars and brush! However none of our acreage is fenced. Our neighbors had split rail fencing on a portion of their place they had just put up for their new Yorkie, when they decided to sell instead and move near their grandkids. We were really blessed because they let us have all of their fencing, (split rail plus chicken wire so their Yorkie couldn’t get out)!!! If we would just do the work ourselves of taking it all up and bringing it over here. (We were lucky that they hadn’t “set” any of the posts in with quickcrete)! We’ve purchased a used truck now so we were able to bring it over here ourselves. One of our questions we have is about goats. What is the most docile breed of goats that would be good for beginners like us to start out with? Also, do the goats just instinctively know what NOT to eat when turned out in a briar patch and bush, weeds, etc.? Can we just turn the goats loose in those areas and they would know to only eat what is NOT poisonous to them??? One other question is, neither my husband nor I like the taste of goat cheese! So then is it also likely that we would NOT like the taste of both the goats “milk” as well as the goats “meat”??? We both DO like the “wild” taste of the deer, elk and caribou meats, etc. Any thoughts by anyone???

      Well, besides the goats, our thoughts were that, of course, chickens and maybe a few turkeys would be the place for us to start. We drew up some “plans” and went to purchase the lumber, PVC materials, etc., to begin construction on our new chicken movable “pen” and chicken “house”. We finished our portable chicken “pen” in just one afternoon and began work on the plans we drew up for building our chicken “house” (which will be stationary), when the heat of Summer hit all of a sudden, just like it always does here in NC. (So I know what you mean Sunny about the heat of the summers here)! We are in the Piedmont area, about 40 miles NE of downtown Charlotte or just about 20 miles from Matthews on 485. (Wonder if we are close enough to be “neighbors”? As the saying goes: “It’s a small world”). LOL

      Anyway, we got the floor built and all four walls constructed over the next few weeks. Then we began putting up the walls attaching them to the floor. The back and both sides are done. We still need to attach the last of the four walls, (the front one), cut out the front door, “frame” it and “hang” the “people” door. Then we’ll need to make the “ridge pole” up for the roof and cut and put up the rafters. We also really want to make the roof out of wood “shake” that we make ourselves, as we have lots of dead trees we can use on our property! If anyone has the “know how” to make these, we’d sure appreciate the information! Also any tips on cutting out the door opening and then framing it out to “hang” the door we cut out? (Told ya we were “greenhorns”)…LOL We DO have a general idea on “how to” make the temporary uprights for the “ridge post” and how to cut the angle for the rafters. But we will gladly accept any “tips” on doing this part or anything you all would think we would need to know involved in doing this roof???

      Question for Sunny specifically, since you mentioned you use a “cone” for slaughtering your turkeys is that I was wondering “what” you used specifically as a “cone” that is large enough for holding the turkeys? (We will be using the 2 gallon bleach jugs for doing our chickens). But I can’t think of something that would be large enough to hold like a 16-18# bird?

      UPDATE: My husband was replacing the blade belt on our riding lawnmower. It was up on blocks and it began to slip. His auto reflex response was to try to “catch it” and in so doing he injured his right shoulder. The MRI report shows a tear. He goes back to the Orthopedic Dr. this Monday the 13th. It looks like he will need surgery to repair it. So that means 8 weeks from now before he can get back to finishing our chicken coop/house. I’ve heard the term used in construction of getting the building “in the dry” and was wondering if this is something I will need to do while waiting for his shoulder to heal? I know I can get one large tarp and cover the area where the front wall will go. (Our chicken coop dimensions are 4’ deep by 8’ wide and 8’ high). My question though is about covering the top of the coop. Since we don’t yet have the “ridge post” up on temporary upright posts, until we actually attach the rafters, this means there is no “angle” on top. So if I were to cover the top with a tarp, I can see that rain water will just “pool” up until the weight of the water would cause it to “cave in”! So my question is what is the fastest and easiest way for a “short” (5’ tall), woman to get the top of it covered? Would it be easiest to just go ahead and put up the “ridge post” on 2 temporary uprights, (leaving me with the needed “angle”)? Or is there another solution that would be easier and/or faster???

      Just in case this posts as being from: “Anonymous” again: This is a legitament post! My screen name is my chosen Hebrew name of “Tirtzah” and if anyone knows what I might be doing wrong for it not to post under my name and email or even by logging in from my face book account please let me know how to do it right?

      Reply
      1. Lisa Lynn Post author

        Hi Tirtzah,
        Wow! That’s a lot of info to go into here 🙂 First, I removed your email from your comment and approved your message. I have my comments set so that emails and website links aren’t allowed…it prevents problems for my blog with links to sites with questionable content. I’m sure your email is fine, but I have to make sure. So now that you have an approved comment, you should be able to comment and not have it show up as anonymous.

        My experience with goats is rather limited, but I know that I have read about plants that will make them sick and I can imagine that they will get themselves into trouble if it is at all possible! I think that the easiest breed of goat to keep would be Dwarf Nigerian or Pygmy goats…they can be contained more easily that the full sized breeds. I don’t know if the split rail and chicken wire will contain any breed of goat, however. It will be fine for chickens, ducks and turkeys (trim the flight feathers on one wing to keep them from going over the fence). You will most likely need a sturdier fence for the goats…such as cattle panels.

        When I had goats, I found that the taste of their fresh milk was very much like that of cow’s milk. It didn’t taste goaty at all. I think that as the goat milk ages, it becomes stronger flavored, so all of the goat milk from the store has a strong flavor. So I think you will like their milk. I have only had goat meat once, from a young kid that I butchered. It was very mild flavored and didn’t have a goaty flavor at all, but that may not be the case with older goats.

        I think that you might want to just throw a tarp over the coop to keep it dry until you and your hubby can finish it. If you can get a pole across to hold the tarp up in a peak, that should prevent the pooling of rain water.

        I hope this helps!

        Reply
  10. Monique Brown

    Lisa, I have seen some videos on the braining method and I can’t help thinking it must be excruciatingly painful for the bird (can you imagine a sharp object poked into the roof of your mouth?!) and not all that easy to get right first time. I am planning to have turkeys next year and I think I will use the killing cone + cut the jugular method that I use for my chickens. It seems to work quite well for me although I obviously don’t know how it will work with a much bigger bird. The tip about getting the poults in June instead of earlier in the summer is great, thanks!

    Reply
    1. Alison

      I have no experience with turkeys, only questions. I just read your heritage Turkey blog and I’m wondering what happened to them? These look like the common big breasted ones. What happened to the processing facility requirement? Is there a loop hole or did it change?

      Reply
      1. Lisa Lynn Post author

        Hi Alison,
        Thanks for writing! I have one little heritage turkey left, as I write this. Here’s what happened to the heritage turkeys…my last tom became so aggressive toward me that I couldn’t even collect eggs in the coop without having him attack me from behind. He gouged up my leg pretty good before I realized how aggressibe he was becoming. Well, that was it for me…I butchered him the first chance I had. That left me with two very nice turkey hens who I really hated to butcher, but they didn’t lay very many eggs this spring and only 7 hatched. Most of the little ones went to my friends at Trogg’s Hollow CSA, but I kept one.

        If that one turkey turns out to be a male, I have the crazy idea of keeping it and one of the broad breasted hens to try hatching more next year. However, I’m leaning toward just ordering the broad breasted turkeys each year. I can order any number of them from Dale, The Chicken Guy, in Wisconsin. The price may go up, but this year the white ones were only $3.50 each…no shipping fees. And I don’t have to meet a minimum. My feeling is that it is much less expensive to order the poults instead of feeding the breeding stock…but the real clincher is the fact that so few have hatched for me, and the toms can be too aggressive. So, we’ll see.

        I live on a property that is zoned agricultural and in my county, the zoning ordinances allow me to butcher my own birds for our consumption. I can’t raise and butcher them to sell. The health dept has rules about that. You would need to check with your zoning to see if you can butcher where you are.

        Thanks for stopping by!

        Reply
    2. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Monique,
      Your probably right about the braining poker, and I was wondering that too. I just processed one more turkey this morning and I stuck with my tried and true method of chopping the head off with a hatchet. I just made sure that I held on to the legs with my other hand really tight and I didn’t get scratched up this time. I may still try the killing cone, but I haven’t found anything around here to make it from…yet. I’ll report back when I try it. If you do this, make sure that the cone is large enough for the turkeys…they are so much bigger than the chickens!

      I think that if you wanted bigger birds, live in a cooler area, or wanted to feed them a lower protein feed so the grow slower…then getting them early would be fine. Fortunately, we are having cooler than normal weather here in Northern Illinois so far this summer. So it hasn’t been horrible. But there are more flies than I like!

      Best wishes with your turkey project next year!

      Reply

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