Friday, July 4, 2014

Meet the Leftovers

The triumphant trio, the remaining few, the lucky living.  Whatever I call them, these three were slated for freezer camp long ago.

We've raised broad breasted whites like these for the last 2 years. 2014 will actually be year number 3 and every year so far I've said we won't raise them again, but there's something pretty awesome about getting 25lbs. of turkey breast from a single bird.

It may be hard to tell from these pictures, but these are monstrous birds. That's easily 120lbs of turkey "on the hoof".  The hens will dress out between 20 and 30 lbs each and I would be very surprised if the Tom was less than 50 lbs. Fifty. Pounds. Five-oh.

That's "will not fit in your normal-sized oven" level monstrous. (continued)

Tommy is at his most intimidating here, sporting a bit of red and blue today.  This is hardly his most impressive color display though I don't know why he chooses one scheme over the other.  I will have to see if I can entice him to do a full photo shoot presenting the bright red and deep blue "displays" also.

The sad reality of the broad breasted white turkey variety is that they rarely reach this age.  These three are actually just about a year old now.  They hit "dinner" size at 4 months and "monster" by 6.  Everything after that is "wasted" feed at least as far as the industry is concerned.  There are often a lot of young losses as well.  Some operations lose 30% or more of the birds they start with.  For the ones that do reach this age they are "incapable of breeding naturally".  Which apparently means the tom will hurt or kill the hens trying to do his duty.  Nobody told him that though so it doesn't stop him from trying, as painful as it is to watch, and these girls are real troopers so far putting up with him.

Sometimes they hide, but not well.  You can see one hen "hiding" here under some brush.  She's sharing the space with 2 of our hen chickens and probably a dozen eggs.

Both hens lay. A bit less frequently than once per day.  They are giant eggs. Worth at least 2 chicken eggs by volume.  They are DELICIOUS.  I don't share them, the kids and I get them and I provide our (still not horrible) home grown chickens eggs to everyone else.

Thus far the spring (and now summer) chores and additional infrastructure tasks have forestalled graduation to freezer camp. I'm not sure how much longer that will last.  We put it off as fall moved into winter last year and I decided getting frostbite while trying to pluck turkeys was not something I was interested in experimenting with.

Now that summer is in full swing sometimes it gets hot, and once (but only once) I caught one of the girls swimming (pic 4).

Haven't seen that before, or since, perhaps she was embarrassed (she wasn't in her bikini after all) and while she may be fine-boned she's a hefty girl by any reasonable measure.  Poor thing.

Only 6 months to go from this....
.... to this.  Yikes.

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