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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Turkey Butchering

Last night we finally butchered the two Turkey Hens.Whew,that's done and over with.It was not the butchering I was glad to be done with but the Turkeys themselves.

We had a handful of friends who came to watch and lend a hand making the work go by quickly.

One friend came because she thought as a meat eater she should know a bit more about the butchering process.At the start she said she did not want to help,just watching thank you.That was fine by us,she was learning in her own way.By the middle of the whole thing she was helping a bit with the plucking and was more interested than she thought she would be.

Another friend thought that maybe he would feel squeamish but found it to be not so bad after all.What I think might have been helpful to this friend was Chance and I were simply talking about what we were doing,what was going on with the bird and what would be next in a calm relaxed way.Sometimes knowing what is going on can help a person relax and take things in.

The other two friends jumped right in asking how they could help.

Everyone had lots of good questions from the start to the finishing of the process.Chance and I both felt like we had finally done enough teaching of butchering that our answers came quickly and with confidence.

I did not take many photos of the whole thing figuring that I had posted before about Chicken Butchering and Turkeys are just the same just bigger.But my friend snapped one really awesome photo of the eggs we found inside of the first Turkey we opened up.When we opened up the Turkey the eggs were laying along her spine. The littlest one was farthest from her vent while the second one from the top was just before her vent.As a reminder a birds bum is called the vent.

 I did lay a  fully formed Turkey at egg at the top of the line up to show the eggs in order.So sorry for the splotch of blood there,I hope you don't mind it too much because really that was all of the blood that there was on the cutting board.

Turkey eggs in various stages.

So if you are looking at the photo from the bottom up you will see the growth of a Turkey egg.The ones that look like just yolks were pretty much that,little bags of yolk.After the photo was taken we popped each one to see what they were all about.We really were inquisitive last night.Chance and I had lots of "teachable moments" with our friends.Having such a small group of eager minds gave us time to stop and be in the moment.

The third one from the top had a nub of membrane that really had me wondering about the the "how does this form into an egg in a shell " question.When I have some time this evening I am hoping to do some research on the formation of poultry eggs.Hopefully I get the wording right for Google and will find what I am looking for.I find that sometimes I just don't have the scientific terms to get me where I want to be.

The second from the top was the most impressive.When we picked it up it had the feeling of an egg made of Jello,it was even wobbly yet firm.It was also smooth and not sticky at all,I thought it might be sticky. The hardened outer shell of the egg had not developed at this point.I was wondering if this would have been now today's egg.We popped it open and inside it was just like when you crack open an egg.It had both yolk and white.The outer membrane-would-have-been-shell was very much like a balloon in feel.

There was also a cluster of tiny eggs to be that did not make it into the photo that would have been at the very bottom of the line up.

Last night was a very good evening.Chance and I have found that people usually get wrapped up in the biology of the birds we are butchering.There is always amazement that our own organs and the birds are all lined up just the same,top to bottom.And even when we explain some of the twitching and sighs that come as a birds body is totally finishing its life people accept it as simply part of  the life cycle.( There movements in the now dead birds body after death that are just the nerves releasing that last bit of energy.The birds will also sometimes pass gas or make sounds that are just air leaving the body.Nothing scary,just a body working towards being done.)

Chance and I were reminded last night that although what we do around home has become ordinary to us,other people still find wonder in it.It was good to stop and enjoy everyone and to share our knowledge.

The other news from yesterday is very frustrating,Chance has been working a side job remodeling an apartment.He had been leaving all of his tools he was using locked in the apartment.Yesterday afternoon when he went to work on the apartment,the apartment had been broken into and a majority of his tools were stolen.The thieves not only took Chance's power tools but also some building materials.We are hopeful that the owner of the buildings insurance will cover the replacement of the tools.If not who knows how we will replace $2000 worth of tools that took Chance several years to purchase.Bloody thieves,what comes around goes around.Your day will come!



  1. Very interesting about the turkeys, although I still kind of want to think turkeys grow on trees. Sorry about the stolen tools. How frustrating and disappointing.

  2. Really awesome photo!! You guys gonna do turkeys again you think??

    1. Thanks Lacy,I love that photo too.

      Ummm,turkeys again? That we have not talked about yet but Chance did mention wanting to try ducks next.

      We shall see.

  3. This is so interesting, thanks for sharing!