Monday, 23 December 2013

Count down to Christmas

We have been growing our Turkey's and Geese throughout the year carefully feeding them so they don't get too big, but are a decent size for peoples Christmas dinners. Quite difficult when we have very different breeds. We have a rare breed Bourbon Red Turkeys, then Wirral Black double breasted Turkeys which can grow quite large. Finally the geese which are a Pomeranian cross Emden, which have turned out to be large birds.
The Turkeys have caused a lot of damage this year, which is probably our fault for not cutting their wings to stop them from flying. They have broken several of the panelled fencing around the chicken pens. Their weight has been enough to snap the wood, especially when they launch themselves from the fences.
When they decided to use the polytunnel as a roost I had a slight sense of humour failure, especially when one used the side to scramble up. Plastic and sharp claws do not mix and I now have holes up the side and on top. Not a good mix.
We can honestly say it will be a pleasure to not have the Turkeys around any more.

So as the festive season approaches we make a plan of action and the hard work begins on the 17th December. We keep things as quiet and calm as possible so the birds don't get stressed. The only difference is the routine, feeding is later and birds are left shut in their houses for a little longer until we are ready.
With 11 turkeys to process we start the first day and get 5 plucked and hanging. It's cold, windy and wet so isn't the nicest of days for anyone.
They are much cleaner to pluck out this year, no broken breast feathers like last year. The fingers start to hurt by the end of the day and the muscles are screaming by the morning. Only another six to go. So three the next day and a goose and then the final three and a goose the last day. I leave Diz to pluck the final goose on his own while I work on my Christmas cake.

The geese have been quite friendly this year and were easy to pick up and take away without any commotion.
We always dread plucking the geese because it can take so long, but they were very good this year taking only a few hours instead of the 6!

So once Diz stopped looking like he had a pillow fight and lost he got on with preparing the birds for the oven.
Very impressed (and relieved) with the weights. The geese weighed 4.05kg or 9lb, which is the biggest we have ever had. So overall we are very pleased with our new gander, Bruiser and Spotless our faithful goose.

As for the two breeds of Turkeys, well the largest was 9.7kg or 21lb 4oz. Wow! I had to check with the receiver that she had a big enough oven! That was one of the Black Males, the Black females and Bourbon Red males weighed about 5 - 6kg or 11 - 12lb.
In the photo the single breasted Red male is on the left and the double breasted Black female is on the right. They weigh the same but the female has breasts to be proud of.
Once all the birds are prepared the fun job of matching the weights to the requests of the recipients. A lot of head scratching is involved.
The final part of the Christmas preparations is the cake. I take time to design and decorate our cake each year, taking pleasure in 'playing' in the evening and creating something I am proud of.
So here is 2013's cake. Two tier fruit cake (made in July), with Santa making his stop because we have been good this year.

Here's wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Lots of love, hugs and kisses
Stell, Diz, Jes, Kip and the remaining critters at Cloghermore.

1 comment:

  1. Loved the update hope you both had a lovely Christmas and have a peaceful new year xxx