Advice about processsing times

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by fkmcclure, Mar 30, 2015.

  1. fkmcclure

    fkmcclure New Egg

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    Mar 30, 2015
    Hello, first time poster, longtime lurker here! I've searched a bit through the forum, but didn't find quite what I was looking for.

    I have 3 each red ranger, broad breasted white, and broad breasted bronze birds. They are our first meatbirds, and they are all destined for a big campout in mid-July. The RRs will be 114 days old, while the turkeys will be 110 days old on the day I want to slaughter.

    My questions for you wise souls are these:
    1 - am I insane to think we'll be able to process 6 turkeys and 3 chickens in one day? We will have many helping hands, and then 3 days to brine them all before cooking.
    2 - are the rangers going to be too tough by day 114? Murray McMurray says 80 days, but a friend insists they take 16 weeks... what have your experiences been?
    3 - will the BBBs be worth eating at 110 days? I know they are slower growing than the BBWs, and don't mind a range of sizes

    Part of the plan is for kids to experience the whole cycle here, and for our friends to taste a variety of birds so they can "place orders" for future batches. So thank you kindly for any advice you have!
     
  2. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My experience with Red Rangers is that they are not worth processing before about 11 (min) or better 12 weeks, so 12 weeks is about 84 days. You're talking about keeping them another month. If I were you, I'd probably butcher at about 12 weeks, and then freeze them, taking them out to brine three or four days before your big campout (or brining them for 3 days before freezing them would probably work too). Honestly, if you've never butchered before, doing those three chickens would be a good trial run at butchering the turkeys. While the process is the same for both chickens and turkeys, turkeys are bigger, stronger, faster and require bigger, stronger equipment.

    I can't offer you advice based on experience on the age of your turkeys, since I've only raised heritage turkeys, which take forever to mature, but from my reading , BBBs are supposed to be butchered around 22 and 24 weeks of age, which would be 154 and 168 days rather than the 110 you are looking at. Perhaps someone else will chime in here and let you know if 110 days would be worth eating.

    Another thought is whether you have the space to store all these birds for brining if you do them all at once. Good luck.
     
  3. fkmcclure

    fkmcclure New Egg

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    Mar 30, 2015
    Thanks Hummingbird! We have slaughtered turkeys before (actually, before we ever did chickens), so I'm OK with that part. We've just never done 9 at once before!

    No issues with brining capacity.
     
  4. havery

    havery Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I can't answer your other two questions, but as for butchering time I think you'll be fine. My husband and I butchered two chickens by ourselves back in the fall with minimal tools (scalding and defeathering by hand) and it still took us only about an hour from two live birds to the cooler. This was our first time butchering as well. So already knowing what you're doing, you should be fine, chickens are pretty easy!
     

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