This is the major time of the year for us to process poultry. Of course one first thinks of turkeys. This year we didn’t purchase any turkey chicks. We instead bought a couple breeding pairs of Bronze turkeys (although one is part Bourbon Red) last year. Each hen hatched and raised several turkeys. While there were some losses, those losses weren’t as expensive as those chicks purchased from a hatchery. On the other hand, the raised turkeys are not as big as the Large White commercial breed we’ve raised in the past. We will select the largest for our Thanksgiving dinner.
Additionally, it is time for the major harvesting of our gamecock flock. Last year we ended the fall with 35 game hens and 20 or so gamecocks. We kept 3 roosters and 8 hens from last year and they did their job laying, hatching, and raising their own biddies. (We even had two hens hatch clutches in the past two weeks.) But once again it is time to thin the flock and fill the freezer with chicken.
We usually spread the harvest out over a few weeks and thus have been doing a few chickens at a time. These chickens rustle all their own food and water from our small holding. They taste great, especially if you don’t let them get too old.
One tip: before putting poultry in the freezer, it should be aged in the fridge for a couple days to ensure tenderness.