20wk old BO boys - process or wait?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Stefrobrts, Dec 12, 2010.

  1. Stefrobrts

    Stefrobrts Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 15, 2009
    I have two extra roos from the last batch of chicks (BO/cochin X) I raised which are 20 weeks old today. They are big, but their breasts still feel scrawny, the breast bone is prominent. I know they are not going to fill out like the birds we get at the supermarket, but are these boys as good as they are going to get, or should I let them fill out a bit more? They are eating layer pellets with the girls, and free ranging.
  2. Cowgirl71

    Cowgirl71 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 5, 2010
    Missouri Ozarks
    Without being familiar with Cochins, I would guess they're probably as plump as they're gonna get without being tough.
  3. sandspoultry

    sandspoultry Everybody loves a Turkey

    Feb 10, 2008
    Eastern NC
    If you wait another 4 to 6 weeks they will fill out more in the breast area. That is always the last area to fill out on both of our BOs and Cochins.
  4. Stefrobrts

    Stefrobrts Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 15, 2009
    I've waited this long, I don't mind letting them fill out a bit more if they can. Might as well get as much as possible out of them.
  5. Birdbrain99114

    Birdbrain99114 Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 30, 2009
    Colville, Wa.
    We butchered our Buffs and Barred Rocks at 20 weeks and wound up with wonderful liver and gizzard meals. The birds looked large until they were "undressed". Needless to say, we are most unhappy and will never raise roosters again for meat as we had over $4 a pound in them for feed and got birds that will feed two out of the deal. They had access to high quality food 24/7 with numerous bugs and grass hoppers thrown in.

    If we raise meat birds again, we will raise only the cornish crosses; same flavor, far more meat and much cheaper to raise.

    Be prepared for a disappointment if you slaughter now.
  6. Jared77

    Jared77 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 27, 2010
    Howell, MI
    Where did you get your Orps and Rocks from?
  7. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    It's a matter of tender meat vs. more meat. 20 weeks is almost too old to really be tender, as in frying or barbecuing tender. If you plan to slow roast or stew or crock pot, makes more sense to let them get bigger.

    A standard old French recipe, coq au vin, calls for a two year old rooster. It also uses a whole bottle of wine, which of course is a tenderizer.
  8. Stefrobrts

    Stefrobrts Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 15, 2009
    I don't actually fry or BBQ very often, I'm more a fan of roasts, soups, or stir fry. I'm not sure what would be the result of using a tough bird for stir fry - I suppose it could be pretty chewy? But I can let these boys grow out a bit more and use them for soup. Or I could do one now and see how it goes, and do the other one later to compare.
  9. bburn

    bburn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 9, 2010
    Delaware, Arkansas
    I can tell you this.....my RIR and Partridge Rocks we processed at 23-24 weeks. I was worried they would be tough. I processed and put them in the extra fridge for four days then put them in the freezer. I read to let them rest in a fridge for a few days. Then I made chicken and dumplings with one.....he was so tender and of course fell off the bones but the meat was sooo tender I can't imagine anything you would have cooked him in that would have made him turn out tough.

    And....my BO we still have and he really got thick over the next few weeks after the 23-24 week age. He was with the same group and we got him the first week in May. He is in with my mixed flock. I am now thinking that we will send him to freezer camp pretty soon as I don't need those eggs to be fertile. My other two flocks have their own roosters and I want them not to be mixed. I have LF Cochins and Barred Rocks.

    But....I had the same issue with my RIR's. Their breasts were not filled out. But then they are not genitically altered to have huge breasts either. There is the biggest difference I think.

    That is the sum of my experience so far.....
  10. Stefrobrts

    Stefrobrts Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 15, 2009
    Ok, this guy was 22 weeks old, free ranging and eating layer pellet with the girls. Although he was huge, he was all feathers. The cleaned bird is only 2 1/2 lbs. Big meaty legs and thighs, but not much on the breast. He was an orpington/cochin mix.


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