turkey harvest

one of the women in the MFA program, Cedra Wood, came down to help out on turkey harvesting day, and took some excellent photographs. below are a sample of them. All photo credits in this entry go to Cedra.

the two-day process went as smoothly as we could have asked for, with lots of volunteers coming down to help out, and time for everybody to take adequate breaks from the work, which is strenuous both physically and emotionally, and which gets dangerous when you’re tired–there are lots of sharp knives involved in this, which have more opportunity to slip if people are wearing out. many thanks to all the friends and family who came down to participate and make the day as fun and easy as this kind of work can be!

and, Jenny & Tristan got the (emergency) plucker built in the nick of time, when our equipment-share fell through, so this was our first test of our new whiz-bang poultry plucker. happily, it was a rousing success.

Capturing a bird, the most athletic part of the process

that one!

and extracting it from the net

which is not always easy


killing (one swift slice through both main arteries in the throat)

and pithing (driving the point of the blade into the back of the brain, for instant braindeath). we do this second, rather than before the throat, because the heart has a chance to beat a couple more times and push the blood from the carcass more fully, which leads to better-tasting meat.

pulling feathers — if you want nice feathers, this is the moment to save them.

because the next thing is the scalder, full of 140 degree water. this softens the pinions so that the feathers come out of the skin easily.

from the scalder to the plucker in a cloud of early-morning steam.

and from the plucker to the butchering table.

bonus bird photo:
the beautiful buff orpington chickens in our laying flock.