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What time of year should you butcher?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

I haven't been able to find this information anywhere.  I am going to be raising Buff Orpingtons next year for meat birds. I will incubate my own from my current Buff flock, who are just now starting to lay.  I want to have enough in the freezer for the whole year, about 50, but only have room (on land and in freezer) to raise like 30 at a time, so I want to butcher twice during the year.  Does it matter what time I butcher, or can I do it in say April AND October?  Will birds who are raised over the winter to butcher weight and age not be as meaty due to the cold weather, or does it not matter since I am free ranging AND feeding free choice high protein?

And raising chicks in the winter is not a concern of mine, I use a heating pad in the brooder, so no fire hazard and warm and toasty!

 

 

Please help!

10 BO, 12 EE, 1 Australorp, 4 cats, 2 dogs, 2 kiddos and a DH.
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10 BO, 12 EE, 1 Australorp, 4 cats, 2 dogs, 2 kiddos and a DH.
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post #2 of 6
I butcher any time of the year I need to. However, I avoid the dead heat of summer and the dead cold of winter for obvious reasons, and I prefer mid spring and mid fall. Mostly because otherwise the meat bees are constantly pestering me. I can't even count how many times I've been stung by the stupid things while processing birds this year. The flies are irritating too.

200 something birds. 8 species. ♥ Norman ♥ Norma ♥ Misha ♥ and ♥ Taylor ♥ are my babies.
Visit Norman the Rooster's Thread Here!
Breeding Sex Linked Silkies, Gamefowl, and EEs/OEs. Amateur genetics buff. Caponization practitioner/advocate.
Working at The Poultry Palace in Placerville, CA. Come see us for started pullets, chicks, Bar Ale feed, & more!

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200 something birds. 8 species. ♥ Norman ♥ Norma ♥ Misha ♥ and ♥ Taylor ♥ are my babies.
Visit Norman the Rooster's Thread Here!
Breeding Sex Linked Silkies, Gamefowl, and EEs/OEs. Amateur genetics buff. Caponization practitioner/advocate.
Working at The Poultry Palace in Placerville, CA. Come see us for started pullets, chicks, Bar Ale feed, & more!

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post #3 of 6

I think planning April and October is a fine idea. 

 

I also butcher pretty much on demand, not according to a schedule. I hatch most of the year, so I just butcher whenever they come of age, get too much of a pain, or I need the space, etc. High summer isn't ideal for the flies and bees, as Misha said. Winter can be too cold, depending on where you are. Right now I'm waiting for a break in the rain, I've got 6-8 boys living on borrowed time.....

Rachel BB

Stem cell transplant from unrelated donor in Feb 2015. Thank you to all my friends here on BYC for all your support during my treatment and ongoing recovery!

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Rachel BB

Stem cell transplant from unrelated donor in Feb 2015. Thank you to all my friends here on BYC for all your support during my treatment and ongoing recovery!

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post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 

Cool! Thanks for the replies, ya'll! So...this will be the first year I butcher so many at once...do you think 20-24 weeks is a good age for Buff Orpingtons? I watched them grow this year and that seems to be about the time they stopped getting any bigger and the rooster got to full size...

10 BO, 12 EE, 1 Australorp, 4 cats, 2 dogs, 2 kiddos and a DH.
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10 BO, 12 EE, 1 Australorp, 4 cats, 2 dogs, 2 kiddos and a DH.
Reply
post #5 of 6

Sounds about right. I've not had pure Orps, but that's about when I do my regular DP breed cockerels, give or take. 

Rachel BB

Stem cell transplant from unrelated donor in Feb 2015. Thank you to all my friends here on BYC for all your support during my treatment and ongoing recovery!

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Rachel BB

Stem cell transplant from unrelated donor in Feb 2015. Thank you to all my friends here on BYC for all your support during my treatment and ongoing recovery!

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post #6 of 6
I agree with donrae, before it freezes certainly
Rubber Ducky
I'm very involved in 4h with my chickens doing both market and show chickens.
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Rubber Ducky
I'm very involved in 4h with my chickens doing both market and show chickens.
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