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At what age should chickens be harvested?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by WisconsinGardenChick, Oct 27, 2009.

  1. WisconsinGardenChick

    WisconsinGardenChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 30, 2009
    I have dual purpose breeds - Barred Rocks and RIRs. I planned to keep them for eggs, but one of the reds is causing trouble/starting fights. We're thinking it may be better to remove her. They are 24 weeks old, and started laying 3 weeks ago. Aren't you supposed to harvest them before they start laying?

    Curious also, in case our city raises the limit on the number we can keep. Then we would raise a few extra for meat.

    Thanks!

    Katherine

    PS Are the mean ones tougher?? [​IMG]
     
  2. jenjscott

    jenjscott Mosquito Beach Poultry

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    slow cooker for about 6 hours does the trick.
     
  3. Brunty_Farms

    Brunty_Farms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ohio
    PS Are the mean ones tougher??

    Always..... [​IMG]
     
  4. WisconsinGardenChick

    WisconsinGardenChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:So, I assume that means they are well past the ideal age for harvest?

    Can you tell me what is the right age?

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2009
  5. jenjscott

    jenjscott Mosquito Beach Poultry

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    Southeast Arkansas
    12 weeks at the earliest, up to about 18 weeks. Keep in mind these will never be as tender or meaty as cornish x. We have gotten so accustomed to seeing these large over-muscled carcasses that the smaller dual purpose breed carcasses just don't look "ready". Slow breeds like Orpingtons and Jersey Giants really have very little breast meat at this stage and are better to let mature and plan on a nice long cook in a smoker, if you can afford the feed. We have also found that a meat grinder does wonders. These guys have a lot of flavor and make the best chicken salad for sandwiches or served on a bed of lettuce. There are also recipes for poultry sausages.

    here is a link to an 18 wk red star cockeral carcass I was disappointed in, but others thought it quite fine, given the breed, etc. You just have to get over the grocery store image of a hybrid meat bird.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?pid=767698#p767698
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2009

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