turkey harvest

kwackkillncrew

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What the easiest way to harvest turkeys. ours are getting pretty big and planning on harvesting one in august to get the process down before we harvest the rest of them. thought about using an axe and a stump. other option i thought about was putting the rest of the turkeys in the coop and then letting one out and taking it out with the .410 to the head. Seems like it would be much easier to do the .410 so you dont need some one to hold the turkey while you try to use an axe.
 

urbanhillbilly

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What the easiest way to harvest turkeys. ours are getting pretty big and planning on harvesting one in august to get the process down before we harvest the rest of them. thought about using an axe and a stump. other option i thought about was putting the rest of the turkeys in the coop and then letting one out and taking it out with the .410 to the head. Seems like it would be much easier to do the .410 so you dont need some one to hold the turkey while you try to use an axe.

Growing up it was always the old axe and stump… For sure the .410 would be easier and more fun, but then you have to deal with those pellets…
 

kwackkillncrew

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i would be shooting them from about 4" away in the head so there shouldnt be to many pellets in the bird i wouldnt think. #7 shot cant be worse then biting into a #2 shot in a duck.
 

Patsfan54

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I have a good sturdy branch with a rope tied to it and a slip knot on the other end of the rope. Have a bag or pillow case with a small hole (big enough for a turkey head to poke through) cut in one corner nearby. Grab your turkey by the leg and hold it upside down while putting it into the bag or pillow case, holding them upside down causes them to relax and the bag or pillow case will keep them from thrashing about bruising the meat. Put the foot or feet into the slip knot hanging from the branch, pull the head out of the hole and grab the loose skin on the front of the neck. Use a sharp knife to slice through both jugular veins and allow the turkey to bleed out. There will be some thrashing, but the bag or pillow case will help keep that to a minimum. Pulling the head down and holding it in place helps it bleed out quicker also.
 

kwackkillncrew

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couple of our turkeys died the past few days. 3 days apart. The rest of them seem fine. It was right after we got a bunch of rain and their run area turned a little muddy. I am wondering if they were not able to get any grit or if you guys have any ideas. fresh water all the time and they were eating a bunch. Their crops were completely stuffed so thats why i was wondering if it could be a no grit scenario. All the meat looks fine no worms or anything like that. Think they are still safe to eat? we butchered them the day that they died so they werent roasting in the sun or anything like that.
 

JEH97LX

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Were they looking up at the rain and drowned? In all seriousness, personally, I wouldn't eat or serve them to others without having done proper butchering (ie witnessed the death). If they happened to eat something poisonous (heavy metal, chemical, etc) or have some sort of infection, it's possible that could transferred to people (low odds but possible). Better safe than sorry in my book. If it was just an accident (eg broke their neck in a fence) then eating is an option if they were butchered fairly quick after death.

If you're dying to taste the bird, then by all means cook up a portion to well done and taste it, but I wouldn't gobble down 3 lbs of it and feed it to my kids.
 

kwackkillncrew

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thats what i am kind of thinking, they have been in the same enclosure for the last 3 months and now they seem to be croaking. i would think if they got into something they would have died earlier. we got 2 left alive. is it worth killing them and eating them or could what ever the other ones possibly get into just havent killed the remaining ones yet.
 

Patsfan54

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Were they all hens that died and toms that lived? If so it's possible they became egg bound. How was the stuff in their crops, did it looks rotten or moldy?
 

kwackkillncrew

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it was the smaller ones that seemed to die off. The stuff in the crops looked just like their food pellets ground up and yellow. It seemed like the amount of food in their crops was the size of a baseball. I am torn on to eat them or not because that was the whole point haha. It just seems like if there was something poisonous in their area they should have died off much earlier. Did some googling and i cant find to much on older turkeys just dieing off randomly. Seems like if they die its generally when they are quite a bit younger.
 

Patsfan54

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Seems like you should be able to tell if they were a hen or a tom by now, if they were the smaller ones they might have been hens but it depends on if you had heritage breed or broad breasted or a mix...heritage breeds take a lot longer to mature. I'm not a fan of eating stuff that dies for an unknown reason, when my birds get sick and I dispatch them I don't eat them. It sucks but it's part of growing your food. The yellow could be infection unless your pellets are yellow when ground up with whatever else they are eating. They can pack a lot of feed in their crops so depending on their size a baseball sized amount isn't out of the question. Did you supplement with any oyster shells or other calcium, and did you feed them turkey feed?
 
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