What were you doing the Thursday before Christmas? Baking, shopping or prepping for your holiday meal? We were doing the latter here at Wrightway farm. We had 8 turkeys to butcher and although I would’ve rather been sleeping on that gloomy day with the forecast for rain, I sucked it up and went out to help. I will say from the start that Andy and I successfully butchered eight turkeys. It took us a while to figure out our system…which was helped by the delivery of the turkey restraining cone at 10:30 via the FedEx truck. Andy fixed it to a board and put the wheelbarrow underneath to catch the blood. We borrowed the neighbor’s turkey fryer base (which, by the way, we are looking for a great deal on our own turkey fryer) and used the metal trash can for scalding. Then we set up the processing table with the big cutting board. With the first bird, I tried to do the scalding part, but quickly learned that the birds were just too heavy for me. Also key to a good scald is just the right amount of dish soap to break the surface tension and allow the feathers to loosen.
Like I was saying, we started on the first bird…and then the rain came. So, thinking quickly, we moved the processing station up to the front porch where we put it on a slope so that I could wash it down easily. And after quickly reading the chapter on processing in Andy’s Christmas present, I got to work. I became the processer, and Andy did the killing, scalding and plucking. After four birds were done, two of our customers arrived to pick up their birds. One of our customers, Karen, is a photographer and took some pictures which I hope to show you here. I am quickly learning that the best part of being on a farm is sharing what we have learned and visiting with new and old friends.
After they left we went to work on the remaining four birds and finished up about 6pm. Later that night I think I had a little bit of post traumatic stress as I kept thinking about what I had done. But again, like the chickens, I saw how we had raised the birds and I saw how we killed the birds, and how little stress was truly involved in their lives.
On Christmas day we had a feast with one of our birds and some fabulous gravy (made by boiling the neck with veggies and using that as the base). We will probably raise turkeys again next year, but for Thanksgiving, as this December weather was not fun for processing.
We hope you and yours had a very Merry Christmas and we will you all the best for a great 2012!