5 month old barred rock weighs in a little over two pounds. What's up?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by JMKearns, Mar 25, 2012.

  1. JMKearns

    JMKearns New Egg

    Nov 20, 2011
    My husband and I harvested two Plymouth rock hens and they both were very small once we plucked the feathers. They were very healthy, ate everyday, wandered around the yard, etc. is this weight normal? Is is possible they were under fed and we didn't know it?

    We appreciate any feedback. Thanks.
  2. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Sounds quite light. I've not processed any similar birds, but a full grown rock is around five pounds, processed, I think. Five months is basically mature, maybe a little filling out to do but not that much. What were you feeding them? And may I ask why you chose to process a hen that should have started laying quite soon, if not already?
  3. JMKearns

    JMKearns New Egg

    Nov 20, 2011
    We originally ordered 4 barred rocks, planning to keep only two for laying. We are already getting eggs from one and she is still going. We just ordered 6 rhode island red chicks and plan to keep one for eggs. That will bring us up to 3 layers and the rest for meat. Where we live we can have only 8 hens but can't really manage that many eggs. Mostly we wanted to raise chickens for meat and eggs.

    We fed them chick starter if or most of the first 3 months. Then laying mix, along with lots of fruit, veggies and oatmeal from the kitchen. They froam freely when we are home so they have had their share of worms, bugs and other yummy treats. We are just coming out of winter so perhaps that played a role. It is our first time. We thought of getting feed specifically for meat birds, but we have layers too.

    Anyway, I was wondering if anyone else had a similar experience.

  4. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

    Aug 20, 2010
    The dual purpose birds you get from a hatchery are generally not dual purpose anymore. All are bred with focus on egg laying only. Thus, people often end up with a dual purpose breed that isn't, anymore. I experienced this with my Orpingtons as well. Getting birds from a breeder is really the only way to ensure that you'll end up with a decent sized bird. I've heard some hatcheries have one breed or another that ends up decent sized but I couldn't tell you which.

    You'll get the person coming here and saying their hatchery birds are easily 5 lbs, etc. live weight but each time I've asked, that person never has weighed the birds in question. I too butchered one that I thought seemed good sized (hatchery bird) and it dressed out to around 2 1/2 lbs. I now weigh them before I make any claims about how big they are. My breeder Orps all weighed more than 6 lbs at 6 months and that is more than any of my hatchery ones are at two years. (All weights in this paragraph are live weight unless stated otherwise. Of course they'll be lighter after being dressed out)
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2012

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