Thursday, August 11, 2016

Turkeys - done

The turkeys went to greener pastures two nights ago along with the lone duck.  At 8 weeks old for the duck it was an ok time to do it.

They sat bagged in the refrigerator and then next day I took care of them in my kitchen.  That isn't as bad as it seems.  It's about 100 degrees outside with 100 humidity and no way in heck was I going to stand outside and do it.  I've done the kitchen routine enough that it's pretty easy with minimal mess. 

Here are some things I've found that are helpful:
  • Even if it's early, pour a glass of wine and set it out of the danger zone.  Don't worry about not "drinking before noon".  You're not going to be done before noon.  The wine is so you have something to stare at hopefully when you've got your hand in a turkey trying to find the teeny-tiny lungs and not heave.
  • Cover every work surface with freezer paper for easy clean up.
  • Put the trash can on the floor beside the sink. Place bag with bird into sink. Work inside the bag as much as possible.
  • I skinned the duck and plucked the turkeys.  Either way, you're going to need to at least pluck enough to see what you're doing. Gently pluck a small tuft of feathers and slowly ease them into the garbage bag.  Repeat.  If you move slowly and watch your movements the feathers won't fly all over.  Promise.  It's meditative when you get into it.
  • When you baby-gate off the kitchen, please evict any cats that are hanging around.  I didn't notice this until it was too late and had "help".
  • When you're done, get out your secret stash of Clorox wipes and bleach every single surface including the floor.  Because since you've had a baby, you've apparently turned into your mother. 
I was really happy with the way things turned out.

The duck, at 8 weeks, weighed 3 lbs.  It was a runner duck/pekin cross and mostly free-ranged.  Runner ducks are not meat ducks, so I wasn't expecting a huge duck.  Because it's so small I think I just might confit the whole thing.  Anyone have advice on that?

The turkeys, at around 10 weeks, weighed 7 & 8 lbs.  The were the industrial kind, broad breasted whites but I did not do anything fancy with their feed to encourage growth. They free-ranged like champs, ate every bug and green they could find and ran around a lot.  When I got up and personal with their crops, they were filled with about 25% feed and 75% clover and grasses.  I got them plucked mostly but will finish up before I package them.

Can't find my kitchen twine.

I am very proud that these turkeys had a better life than probably 99.9% of broad-breasted whites raised in this country every year.  They spent the time they had out in the sun, the rain and in the shade of trees.  They got to chase bugs, scratch and the dirt and be turkeys.

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