One year a friend of mine & I decided to raise some chickens and turkeys. We figured that we could have some really good chicken, and a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. The local feed store had a deal in which they would give you free chickens based on how much money you had spent. Of course, included in that money would have to be chicken food. We went in, bought chicken food, and I got rabbit food (which I raised at the time) and ended up between the two of us getting about 30 chicks. Another man at the counter had just bought a bunch of fencing materials, but didn't want his chicks, so he gave them to us, another 25 chicks. So we left, proud owners of 55 chicks and 6 turkey chicks.
As time passed, the chickens grew. (For those of you who might be squemish, now would be a good time to skip on to the next post!! ) It came to be time to butcher the chickens. No longer were they cute fuzzy things! There were so many, we decided there was no way the two of us could get the job done in one day, so we only did the biggest ones, about 10 or 12 of them. As it turned out, each time we went to get started it was the same routine, pick the biggest chickens to butcher. I put 25 whole fryers in my freezer, the smallest of which weighed 6 pounds, the biggest...12 pounds. Who needs a turkey when your chicken is 12 pounds?
What happened to the turkeys, you ask? Well, several of them died, we ended up with only two, and then my friend had to move from the house she was in (she raised all of the birds at her place). During the process of moving, apparently someone saw two unattended turkeys and decided it was time to get their Thanksgiving bird. So the smaller of the two went missing. That left the final turkey, which I picked up and took home with me. The plan being to get together once my friend got settled in her new house to butcher the turkey. Time passed, the turkey continued to grow. He got so big that when he stood on the garden hose you couldn't move it! When at last we were able to coordinate a time to get together, we decided there was no way to fit him in the oven. We opted to take him instead to the deli where I worked to have him smoked in their commercial size smoker. They had to cut him in half to make him fit! He weighed 47.5 pounds! That's a lot of turkey! We served him up for Christmas dinner, as well as for Rene's Day after Christmas party. I'll tell you what, there's nothing better than home-grown!
Turkeys on Whidbey Island.