Monday, November 17, 2008

Pasture rotation and that 35-pound turkey

Although we have been using the electric netting to allow the sheep to graze on different parts of the hay field, I really did not expect much benefit this fall, since we started so late. We had to use the electric netting since most of the hay field is fenced in barbed wire. And I figured it was good practice for next year when strip-grazing the hay field will provide us with more grass for the sheep to eat. However, I was apparently wrong about when grass goes dormant. From this picture you can see that the grass where they were grazing a couple weeks ago is green again; the area they just finished grazing is mostly brown. (Look at the grass to the right of the llamas. The sheep are being moved from the top of the photo to the bottom. The next section of ungrazed grass is not in the photo.) In real life, the difference is even more striking than the photo. It looks like we will not have to start feeding hay to the sheep until sometime in December, which is really exciting!

Last night, we finally cut up that huge 35-pound turkey. The legs weighed about three pounds each, but since they have so many tendons in them, they tend to clog up our meat grinder, so they have been frozen for using in turkey and rice soup at a later date.

We ground up the thigh meat and made burger patties. Each thigh made about six patties that were 4-5 ounces -- 1/4 pounders! Mike cut the meat into pieces that were small enough to put into the meat grinder, which Jonathan was operating. I scooped up the ground meat and made it into patties, which I separated with wax paper for freezing.

Then we ground up the turkey breast and packaged it in freezer bags. We put one pound in each bag and will use it for turkey chili, meatballs, and meatloaf. As we were doing this, it occurred to me that this turkey weighed more than our yearling lambs -- and it only cost $6 for processing, compared to $35 processing for a lamb. Before I get too excited, however, about turkeys being cheaper, I have to remember that the lambs eat nothing but grass and hay from our own hayfield, whereas the turkeys eat a lot of organic grain that we have to buy.

What about the remaining carcas, neck, and organs from the turkey? They were given to Sovalye for dinner last night. We gave the thigh bones to Porter, which made him very happy.


Jody said...

Wow that's one BIG turkey! Do you spin the llama fibre?

Deborah said...

The llamas are new this year, and they had already been shorn when they arrived. Next year, however, I am planning to blend their fiber with some of the Shetland wool. I think it will make a heavenly combination.


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