Last year we processed 48 turkeys.
We had 1,030 pounds of meat.
This was an average of 21.45 per bird.
This year we processed 30 turkeys.
We had 638.14 pounds of meat.
This was an average of 21.27 per bird.
We had nearly an identical return this year even though we monitored how much we fed the birds much more this year. We did 12 skips flat of feed everyday during their last four weeks.
After we sold 18 of the turkeys, there were 12 left for us. Ten were immediately broken down and ground. The other two will be used for our Thanksgiving dinner and the grandparents Thanksgiving dinner (we are celebrating separately this year.) We will eat our 255 pounds of meat for free.
A few notes:
- Don't let your kiddos bring the ice to the filled chill tank without specific instructions that loading the ice in a dirty wagon first isn't okay. We had to empty and refill the chill tank to start the morning.
- Having a freezer break the moment processing began is a lot less than ideal.
- The Lord always brings the right people along to help us.
- Turkeys are processed when they are 18 weeks old.
- Our smallest turkey was 13 pounds and our largest was a quarter of an ounce shy of THIRTY pounds.
- We are so thankful for the way the Lord always provides the help we need to get the job done. Our new friends Annie and Susie joined us. They are co-workers in Knoxville and really love our farm and have been volunteering periodically. Oh my gosh! We absolutely could NOT have accomplished the day without them and still have been standing at the end of it. So blessed to have them there. We also had our WWOOFer Tijmen here to help. Wow did we need him. (More about him in a bit!) We also helped process our friend Kymberly's five geese. She and her daughters came and helped and then we processed their geese.
We have decided we will NOT be doing turkeys again next year. We have decided to cut back and this is one of the areas we are going to cut back. However, I think that we would like to do turkeys again in the future, and we may consider doing a few for ourselves in the upcoming year.
Do I love processing day? I do not. I don't like killing animals. However, I really appreciate seeing our hardwork pay off and what happens when you raise animals the way they are supposed to be raised. There is a great feeling of accomplishment.
This picture is right before we got started in the morning. The turkeys are brought up from a kennel right over grampa's (in hat) head. Susie (yellow shirt) and Annie (white shirt) were absolutely INCREDIBLE. The boys helped the entire day -- although we found the turkey's weight prevented them from helping as much as they do with the chickens.
Our WWOOFer, Tijmen, with a goose feather in his hat after we hit a delirious point at the end of the day. Tijmen's strength was really, really important as getting the turkeys up into the kill cones was really challenging because of their weight. Truly, the Lord brought the PERFECT people along to make for the smoothest possible day!