Sunday, 20 December 2009
Christmas Turkeys and the first of the cockerels
Today was Christmas turkey day. Yesterday, in preparation we removed their feed, although we did allow them to free range outside for the day. Stopping their feed helps to clear their digestive system and crop of grain, making the condition of the bird more suitable for hanging and dressing. This morning they were slaughtered and hung, quickly, calmly and quietly causing as little stress as possible to the birds.
The plucking went well with everyone helping. We dry pluck, whilst the birds are still warm. Only the wing feathers proved difficult.
They came in at very good weights. The two commercial white stags were 26 1/2 and 28 lbs live weight. The bronze hens 15 and 16 lbs. We expect the dressed weight to be approx. 20 % less.
For now they are hanging in the shed, the present cold frosty weather is ideal for them. They will be dressed on Wednesday.
On Friday we dispatched the first of this year's hatch. A Light Sussex cockerel. At 29 weeks he had reached a weight of 8 lb 10 oz. Dressed he came in at just over 6 1/2lb and looked quite presentable. The legs and thighs were very meaty, the breast that of a typical free range traditional bird, rather than the pumped up version often found in supermarkets.