Seasons of a Turkey

This was actually going to be posted on the main blog, but I realized I uploaded the pictures to this one, and couldn’t figure out how to access them from the other blog.  I don’t have time to redo them, so they’re going here instead.  Okay, so I’m being lazy.  🙂 Spring: Two 2.5 week old Bourbon Red poults are being raised for the express purpose of becoming holiday dinners.  A brooder is set up in the basement, since they are too young to be outside.

2-Two Bourbon Reds - 2

Two Bourbon Red Poults 2013

At 8 weeks, they have outgrown the brooder and are moved into an extra large dog crate.

3-Growing Up Summer:

They are now big enough to move outside to the newly built turkey hut.

4-Intro to the turkey hut and getting used to outdoors 2013

A new home means the toms have to re-establish dominance.  Here they are starting to puff up to strut their stuff.

5-New Home Means Re-establishing Dominance

Within a few more weeks, their feathers darkened and they became full-grown turkeys.

 7-Back view of Tom

6-Curious Adult Tom

I put the roosts too close together.   I need to move them apart before the next group of turkeys.

8-Both Toms 2013

Fall: November 9th.  They are a few weeks short of actual processing age, and we started very late,  but the processor’s schedule was almost full when I called.  Next year, I need to make sure I call much earlier to schedule them.  We also discovered that putting both into a small enclosure was a mistake.  They fought the whole way there.

9-Off to the processor 2013

We dropped them off in the morning and picked them up in the afternoon.

10-Thanksgiving Ready to Cook 2013

The day before Thanksgiving, I made the brine to soak Thanksgiving in.  The other turkey’s name is Christmas.

11-Brine 2013

A food grade plastic bucket with a gamma lid set inside a cooler filled with ice.

12-Thanksgiving Brining

Butter and herbs under and on top of the skin.  No, the mitt isn’t dirty; it’s burnt from not watching which burning was being lit.  Oops.

13-Going into the Oven

No one wanted to wait until after I took a picture.  Half the turkey was gone within minutes.

14-Half-eaten Yumminess

Part of homesteading/self-sufficiency/being green is using up everything instead of throwing it away.  The turkey bones were put in my stock pot, water and a few herbs were added. After being cooked for almost three days I had turkey stock.

15-Turkey Stock from the Bones

DH messed me up for canning it, so it went into the freezer instead.  Larger jars for soup and smaller jars for gravies or whatever.

16-Stock in the Freezer

Lesson learned:  Regular mouth canning jars are not made for freezing.  However, wide mouth jars are and even have a freezer line on them.  Below are two cracked jars that are defrosting, so I can trash them.  I was afraid to mess with them while they were frozen, then realized it would have been easier to remove the lids then.   Laying on the right side is part of the large canning jar.  Live and learn.

17- Oops.  Only Use Wide Mouth Jars

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