On the 5th day before Christmas the turkeys got killed

Turkey

We don’t eat turkey at Christmas, we eat pizza – because we can! However two friends had asked if they could have a turkey each. We decided to kill two of the males for them. One from the first batch that hatched out (and who was meant to be a Thanksgiving turkey, but that didn’t work out) and another male from the second batch.

turkeys2

We chose to do this on Saturday. I bought a new knife and prepared myself. I don’t like killing animals and I don’t look forward to it, but it is part of what we are doing here. We only got the turkey chicks because we didn’t eat the eggs and let them hatch and we certainly don’t want the males to start fighting in the spring. They had a great life, free-ranging and doing turkey things.

turkeys3

We kill our poultry at home and it was good that we had taken the time when the turkeys were young to get them used to human interaction – see here for the turkey petting party we had for Jude in the summer. They were not bothered by being picked up and were really calm.

me and turkey

James and turkey2

We had set up the cone in a relatively out of the way place – well out of the way from the point of view of our animals, but in full-ish view of people walking up the drift way by the side of our house!

Dead turkey in cone

The turkeys were fine going in the cone and were calm and quiet. James quickly stunned them – twice – to be sure  that they were unconscious and then I cut their throats with my new rubbish knife. I need to get a better knife with a decent blade. The stunning might have killed them or the bleeding, but either way we did it together.

ready for plucking

After each one had bled out, I plucked it and then we did the next one. In total we did three – there was one little girl who wasn’t thriving so we thought we would kill her and eat her ourselves.

Plucking

The weight of the turkeys after plucking was 7kg, 5kg and 3kg – not too bad. I then dressed the turkeys and cleaned them before wrapping them up for delivery to my friends on Monday.

dressed 7kg turkey

Saturday night we had a vegetarian dinner (as we do when we kill things) – squash and refried bean enchilladas with tomatillo salsa. On Sunday I roasted the little turkey and we had it with home made pita bread, beetroot hummus and lemony bean dip. It was delicious. We had the same the next day and then yesterday we had pasta with leftover turkey, cream and parmesan. So the little turkey we were worried wouldn’t have enough meat on actually did 6 generous individual meals. I bet the other ones will feed our friends for ages.

roast turkey

We still have two males left and nine females – we are planning on keeping these in two groups to breed and see how things go. We might eat another one at Easter though.

Daisy Watching turkeys

Daisy Watching turkeys

N.B. I am not at all religious – I am an atheist, but I can see the benefit and the respect behind saying a few words before you kill an animal as some religions do. Just an acknowledgement of the sacrifice of the animal and our place in a world that provides for us. Those of you who know me might be able to guess what words I said.

Click here to our instagram account or follow us on Instagram for more photos of the smallholding, animals and food!

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