these are very interesting different opinions.
in my case, i have never killed for food let alone skinned and plucked a chicken. i have been a vegetarian for most of my life and a vegan for some - so this is a big step for me. i am, however, not overly squeamish. on 1 hand, i have dissected animals yet also worked in animal welfare for many years. making life & death decisions have been a sad yet inevitable part of it.
my focus has always been on the quality of life an animal is able to lead - so organic is pretty much all i ever purchase. and yes, i am aware of the abundance of greenwashing going on. to me, supporting organic farming is more of a political decision than one made for health reasons.
in any event, we will most likely take the plunge and 'dispatch' at least 1 of our 2 roosters - maybe both.
with all that being said, i wonder how tasty a 6 month old buckeye respectively easter egger is going to be. i read various comments on these older roosters and for some they are 'only' fit for dog food - which i don't mind as our dogs would certainly enjoy such a christmas dinner.
to cut a long story short: the quality of meat will also influence me plucking vs. skinning... can anybody tell me more on said quality?
Six months is not old at all!
That's the typical MINIMUM age for a "roaster" or "roasting bird."
Generally they can still be great for roasting up to a year, or nearly (slow-roasted, that is--by which I mean 325 degrees, and 1/2 hour per pound, with a little water or stock the pan, basted occasionally, and covered most of the time--it also helps if the bird is properly rested in your fridge for at least a few days before cooking which improves the texture of the meat by making it more tender and less stringy). You should check out this article when you have a chance--it's a bit long, but really good info to glean from when you're trying to prepare real chicken that is not from 6 week old cornish X rock broilers (what you get at the supermarket): http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/285788/rediscovering-traditional-meats-from-historic-chicken-breeds#post_3473262.
We've slow roasted cockerels six, seven, eight, nine months old and they were perfectly tender, yet firm and juicy when prepared right--they also yield more meat and get more flavor the bigger they get. Even 6 YEAR old chickens are delicious--when cooked properly (in water or stock, for several hours, on very low heat). In general the older the animal the more the flavor develops, but knowing how to cook animals of different ages is key to enjoying it.
[edited for clarity]
Edited by triplepurpose - 11/30/14 at 3:28pm