Thursday, December 29, 2011

Feeding poultry

Some of the things to keep in mind while watching this video is that crumbles and lay pellets are the main feed for adult laying poultry.   Also an additional supplement that you may want to add to their diet is Oyster shell. Oyster shell is added to the diet if your hens are laying eggs with shells that are too thin. In contrast; If the egg shells are too thick you may want to cut back on how much calcium or oyster shell is in their diet.
It should also be noted; chicken scratch or cracked grains should not be used as their sole diet. It does not provide enough protein for them to lay eggs and may result in vitamin deficiencies.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Feeding table scraps to your poultry

Some ideas on feeding table scraps to your poultry.
Last year's hay price only averaged $70 a ton. This year's hay prices have exceeded $300 per ton and as a result feed costs have skyrocketed. With rising feed costs, I am on a constant lookout for alternative food sources for my livestock. I am planting my own alfalfa and other grasses that poultry graze on, as well as corn and other grain crops.
Table scraps that once went to the compost pile now go to the chickens.Crushed eggshells, stale bread, and trimmings from fruits and vegetables are a good supplement. Note; feeding eggshells to your poultry can take the place of oyster shell, but your poultry should not recognize it as an egg. If they recognize it as an egg they will begin to cannibalize their own eggs. The main thing you should never feed to your livestock is spoiled food. Bread with mold or other fungi could be fatal to the poultry. A good rule of thumb is; if it's good enough for you to eat, it's good enough for them, otherwise compost it.
My father related to me; During the Great Depression they would catch carp and other fish to feed to the chickens and turkeys. This was to supplement protein in their diet, but it had one drawback in that blood spots would show up in the eggs. As a result they would only do this for poultry being raised for meat production.

(revision 1-9- 2014)
There are a couple of foods that have come to my attention that should not be fed to chickens or livestock. Chocolate and onions which are poisonous to dogs are also toxic to other livestock. Potato sprouts are poisonous to people and animals and peels that may contain sprouts should not be fed to livestock. Anything that has to do with the nightshade family should be avoided altogether. Also keep in mind that things like asparagus, radishes, and other pungent plants although they may not be poisonous may taint the flavor of eggs being produced. Weeds such as cockle burrs and  loco weed should also not be fed to livestock as they are poisonous. Generally most poultry will not eat poisonous foods if other food sources are available. If this were not the case you would see a lot of dead wild birds. If your poultry is given the proper habitat and the proper foods the health of your birds should not be an issue.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cooking a 35 pound turkey

The following videos will explain how to cook a 35 to 40 pound turkey.
This is using a traditional method of covering in foil. A faster cooking time may be obtained by using a cooking bag. The length of time for cooking a turkey is not as important as temperature.(Note: When taking the cooking temperature with a meat thermometer it is best not to penetrate all the way to the bone. The bone will read a higher temperature and thus give you a false reading.) A thigh temperature of 180° to 185° and a breast temperature of at least 165° is best in a 350° to 375° preheated oven. (NOTE: the stuffing or aromatics should never be eaten, as internal temperatures do not reach high enough to kill bacteria.)
This is a four-part video.
Cooking a turkey part one
cooking a turkey part two
cooking a turkey part three
cooking a turkey part four

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Homesteading Nevada desert: butchering a turkey

Caution! The following videos and instructions are graphic descriptions of how to butcher a Turkey and not recommended for children.

How to butcher a turkey, using the brain stick method .
(1) 12 to 14 hours before butchering cut off food and water to the animal that is to be butchered.[This will make it easier to remove internal organs and less of a mess]
(2) items you will need
(A) a high secure place to hang a 50 pound bird from.
(B) a strong rope with noose or wood tee.
(C) a pair of pliers, for pulling tough feathers.
(D) a thin blade knife or ice pick[four brain sticking]
(E) a butcher knife or hunting knife[for cutting apart and dismembering]
(F) pruning shears or meet shears [for cutting joints and neck bone]
(G) 5 to 10 pound weight with sharpened heavy wire hook[for putting through bottom lip in order to keep the neck taunt and straight]
(H) a bucket to dispose of waste parts in.
(I) a clean bowl to place giblets.[Heart, liver, gizzard, Nick]
(j) a propane torch or rolled newspaper [to burn away pin feathers]
(3) early morning or cool weather is the best time.
(4) hang bird from rope making sure to hang high enough so as to keep weight off the ground and keep the turkeys neck stretched taunt.
(5) once bird is hanging stretch out the neck and hook heavyweight(5 to 10 pounds) through bottom lip. Or as my father suggested put the hook through the roof of the mouth out one of the nostrils.
(6) Take the sticking knife or ice pick and put it inside the mouth of a turkey facing up toward the eye. Make a quick upward thrust through the roof of the mouth pass the eyes. The turkey brain should be directly behind the eyes and if done correctly is a quick and painless method of killing the bird and loosening the feathers. The bird tail feathers should rise and the body should momentarily stiffen if done correctly.
(7) Quickly after brain sticking cut the turkeys juggler. And let the bird bleed well for a couple minutes. During this time the bird may have some involuntary responses such as flapping and you should wait until the bird is done flapping before beginning plucking feathers.
(8) As you begin plucking, you should notice that the feathers are fairly easy to pull. The tail feathers and wings feathers will be the most difficult. It may require the use of pliers in order to pull the feathers. The wingtips can simply be cut off as there is no meat in this part of the bird.
(9) At some point you will want to hang the bird by one legged. This is so you can pluck the feathers around the anus and began gutting the bird.
(10) Using a small sharp knife, make an incision around the anus, being careful not to cut too deep. You will also make an incision down toward the breast in order to open up the body cavity. With your hand carefully reach in and pull part of the intestine out so as not to lose the end of the anus.
Do not try to remove all of the intestines and organs at this time.
(11) At the base of the neck make an incision in the skin and cut around the neck, being careful not to cut the trachea or the esophagus. Peel the skin down toward the head. Pull the trachea and esophagus away from the neck and cut by the head. Make an incision at the crotch of the neck to open up the body cavity. Use your fingers to separate and open the body cavity at the neck.
(12) Now comes the hard part. Back at the anus carefully reach in and separate tissue with your fingers and work your hand down toward the neck. Carefully pulling out the intestine and other body organs.[Be extremely careful around the liver which has a green bile sac attached to it. Do not break this bile sac near any meat as it will taint anything that it touches. If you get it on the meet you might as well throw it away. If you get it on your hands be sure and use soap and water and wash it off before proceeding with the butchering.]
(13) if you are successful in removing the internal organs there are three organs you may want to save for eating. They are the heart, the liver, and the gizzard.
[Liver] cut away whatever organs may be attached being careful not to break the green bile sac. Once detached, carefully cut around the green bile sac, being sure to cut well away from it. You may end up wasting some of the liver trying to avoid the bile sac, but better safe than sorry.
{Heart] simply detach and save for cooking.
[Gizzard] Detach from the trachea and other body parts. It will be large muscle in the shape of a disk with holes on either side. Using a sharp knife carefully split the gizzard open. (kind of like shucking a claim) Try not to cut the inner sac that is filled with rocks and pebbles. Once you have split the muscle open peel the sack out from inside the muscle. Try to make sure that this lime green lining is removed. Use a fingernail or dull knife to scrape the lining out, as anything cooked with this lining will be made to taste very bitter.
(14) At this point remove any excess fat or organs that have yet to be removed such as the trachea and esophagus. Rinse out the inner body cavity with water making sure that everything is clean.
(15) Cut the head off from the neck using pruning shears or a very sharp knife. And then cut the neck off the body and save for making gravy or soup.
(16) In the final steps you will cut off the feet at the knee joint above the scaly part of the leg,using a sharp knife or pruning shears. Cut the tendons in between the joints, do not try to cut bone.
(17) At this point you're finished and the bird is ready for cooking.

Caution! The following videos are graphic instruction on how to butcher a Turkey and not recommended for children.

For additional information you can go to these YouTube videos that follow.
Butchering a turkey part one
butchering a turkey part two
butchering a turkey part three
butchering a tricky part four
butchering a turkey part five