Hanging, plucking, drawing...

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Hanging, plucking, drawing...

Postby Cab » Mon Dec 16, 2013 9:40 am

A friends boyfriend was raising turkeys in his garden, lovely looking creatures and she kept showing me footage of them on her phone. So, naturally, I have procured one for Christmas :)

Just picked him up (five miles cycling in to a head wind, five miles cycling back with a tail wind and a turkey). Killed by neck dislocation this morning, I decided to bleed him rather than not. Now I have to go to work so by the time I get home presumably rigor will have set in, so I'll probably be best plucking him on Wednesday. But I wonder, would I be better hanging this bird a few days? He's a big black cock bird, if that makes a difference.

Now I've plucked and drawn ducks, chickens, pheasants, pigeons... in fact a turkey might be the last bird I've not done. Is there anything in particular I need to know or am I basically treating it like a ginormous chicken?

Cheers in advance :)

Cab.
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Re: Hanging, plucking, drawing...

Postby miks » Mon Dec 16, 2013 11:26 am

Pretty much like a chicken - you need to be careful along the strip of fat on the breast and there are the usual difficult bits on the thigh and wing where it is all too easy to tear the skin. I always pluck ours warm, straight after killing. I have never done one cold, and imagine it will be hard work. Let us know how you get on.

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Re: Hanging, plucking, drawing...

Postby Cab » Mon Dec 16, 2013 1:00 pm

Cheers Miks. Will keep you posted.
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Re: Hanging, plucking, drawing...

Postby Cab » Tue Dec 17, 2013 2:37 pm

I've talked to my local poultry gurus. One says hang a couple of days, another says at least 5 days. Turns out that there doesn't seem to be a consensus on this either online or in real life.

I suspect that means that within really rather broad parameters, it'll be okay if I hang a few days or if I don't :)
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Re: Hanging, plucking, drawing...

Postby miks » Tue Dec 17, 2013 4:00 pm

Length of time hanging depends on a few things so it can vary. Age of the bird and temperature come to mind. If the temp is over about 8 degrees, best not hang too long. Having said that, the bird will keep longer if intact, so if you dont have a fridge to keep it in after drawing, it's probably better to hang it for longer.
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Re: Hanging, plucking, drawing...

Postby Cab » Fri Dec 20, 2013 10:17 am

I took the average of the advice I was given - the old guy who runs the farm shop on Lensfield Road and who's kept all sorts of poultry all his life thought a week, another ex-turkey keeper I know said don't hang it at all! So I plucked him on Wednesday, seemed like a happy average.

No one told me about the feather zits. Where he was growing in new feathers, pulling them out was a mess, unpleasant business. I had black fingers by the end of it :)

Cleaned him out, put the giblets aside, and then hung him up in the back hall again. Gave him until this morning to dry out.

Then I've crowned him - he's a bit big for Christmas dinner just as he is, and he's snugly nestling in the freezer.

Skin does tend to tear a bit if you're not concentrating, that advice was spot on miks, thanks! :)

Of all the birds I've plucked, I think I enjoy plucking turkeys the least. Especially the wings. My word they were held in tight!
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Re: Hanging, plucking, drawing...

Postby 3441sussex » Fri Dec 20, 2013 3:24 pm

I rear around half a dozen turkeys a year. I have always found them easy to pluck when they have just been killed and are still warm. I pluck all the large feathers first, followed by the wing and leg feathers and then the rest of the bird. The feathers practically fall out when the bird has just been killed. I then hang the bird for at least 3 to 6 days in a barn (depending on the weather), draw it and either put it in the fridge or deep freezer. I have never plucked a cold bird (I have also kept chicken and ducks) and imagine it would be difficult.
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Re: Hanging, plucking, drawing...

Postby Cab » Mon Dec 23, 2013 12:34 pm

Plucking fresh wasn't an option as I still had to go to work that day. But if I ever do a turkey again I'll endeavour to make the time there and then - bleeding hard work otherwise!
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Re: Hanging, plucking, drawing...

Postby Cab » Wed Dec 25, 2013 10:44 pm

He was delicious :)
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