Yesterday, Ryan and I (along with our handy helpers) slaughtered and processed our 6 large turkeys. This is the third year that we have grown and processed our own poultry, and I really feel as though this was the year we finally were able to stand on our own. Generally, we have relied on other, more experienced friends to help us out. This year, it was just us, and I feel like we did a great job! Everything went smoothly and efficiently, and I really felt as though we knew what we were doing. We raised six giant white turkeys - 3 females and 3 males. The largest topped out at about 22/23 lbs fully dressed, and was pre-sold as a Thanksgiving turkey to a local family. The largest hen topped out at 16 pounds, and is going to friend David over at 38 Central restaurant as a thank you for all of the kitchen scraps (which really helped to keep the cost of feed down!). The smallest tom went as a thank you to our lovely friend, Jessica, who (despite severe car trouble) showed up to help with the processing! The remaining three turkeys are going into our freezer: the biggest for Thanksgiving, one for stew/soup meat, and the final as another roaster. I am SO excited to be able to stock our freezer with our own farm-raised meat!! In celebration of this, I am making Turkey Noodle Soup today!
Processing turkeys is a great deal of work. Once you get into the swing of things, it takes about an hour per bird. We started at 9:30 am on Sunday (we spent Saturday setting up), and it took about 3 hours to process the first two birds. Here is a picture of Ryan and I plucking feathers off of the 4th turkey (you can tell that by that point we were pretty punchy).
Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!!