Barred Rocks For Meat.Need Info.

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Changes, Oct 2, 2012.

  1. Changes

    Changes New Egg

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    Hi everyone,I'm new to meat chickens.We got barred rocks for a dual putpose bird,but just now gettign up my city slicker nerve to let my hubby kill them.We just ordred them ,so it will be awhile before time to prepare.

    But I need all the tricks in your books to have the best meat from these BR's.Age to kill,how to cook and rest them for tenderness and taste.Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

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    CHanges--first, welcome to BYC!

    I'm sure you will get some answers in reponse to your question. I'm too new at meaties to be of much help, other than search out your answers in old and current threads. Lots to read. Lots to learn. Good luck--hope it goes well for you. Many breeds to consider.
     
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  3. Changes

    Changes New Egg

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    Thanks for reply and welcome.
     
  4. mmktdox

    mmktdox Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'm no expert but I'll weigh in! First of all . . . [​IMG]!!!

    I've had barred rocks for two years now. The first batch I got straight run from the hatchery. Was hoping for 1/2 and 1/2 male/female ratio but ended up with more roosters. We fed them 18% protein chicken start right up until butchering. Once they were four weeks or so they also got kitchen leftovers and treats. I don't think there is any way to feed them so that they end up like a heavy meat bird, you can only grow them to the size that their genes will allow. We butchered at 18 weeks. It's my understanding that around that time they start to crow (mine were just starting) and the pullets were starting to lay as well.

    If you're expecting a round plump supermarket chicken you'll be disappointed in it's shape. But don't let that fool you. They were very good to eat, we roasted them and they were super. I would recommend letting the meat sit for three days in the fridge after butchering to let the meat tenderize, then they can be frozen or cooked. I have heard of using a salt brine to tenderize the meat but I'm not fond of too much salt and it's bad for you anyway right?

    I had a hen go broody late this past summer and got some fertilized eggs from a friend. Stella hatched seven babies on Aug 26th. Three little roos and four pullets. So we'll have three more roosters in the freezer but they won't be ready to butcher until late December early January.

    I have taken most of my birds in for processing (we also raise meat birds) but just two weeks ago we processed 15 red broilers ourselves. My son did the deed, we used a killing cone and a super sharp hunting knife. I personally will not do it again, only because I found it very stinky and tedious and I can get them done for $4 a bird about 1/2 hr from home. If for some reason in the future I had to process my own again I could do it, it's just a personal choice.

    Good luck with your BR's. [​IMG]
     
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  5. El Exorcisto

    El Exorcisto Out Of The Brooder

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    Unfortunately, some of the best "tricks" to making the best chicken aren't exactly PETA friendly.

    The first big point is that you should caponize your cockerels. They'll be fatter and more tender, without all the annoying crowing. They also won't fight, which will be quite stressful for everyone as they approach kill age.

    The Bresse chickens of France are free ranged for 4 months for hens, 8 months for cockerels. Then they are caged individually with very little room to move and are fed on a diet of corn and milk for two weeks before processing, leading to fat marbling of the meat which is apparently difficult to achieve otherwise.

    I don't know if it is still done, but I have read of La Fleche in France being gavaged similar to geese in the production of fois gras. It apparently has a similar, albeit amplified affect compared to the Bresse methods.

    Limiting movement makes for better feed conversion and meat that is more tender. You need to temper this approach with your wants for your chickens to be happy and healthy. 20%+ protein is also essential for quick growth and healthy birds, at least in my experience.
     
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  6. wsmoak

    wsmoak Chillin' With My Peeps

    See how you like them this time around, but you may want to do a batch of purpose-bred meat birds in the spring.

    I have Barred Rocks, beautiful, large heritage birds from Lonesome Pine. The barring is exquisitely sharp, not blurry like most of the hatchery stock.

    When I culled the extra roosters recently, I *could* have processed them, they'd certainly do for a pot of soup, or (carefully) roasted (the breast is long and thin and you have to be careful not to overcook it).

    But after having raised red broilers (Freedom Rangers) the time-and-mess to meat ratio on these guys was just not good enough to be worth my time.

    Processing chickens is not much fun. I want a *lot* of meat for my trouble!

    -Wendy
     
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  7. Changes

    Changes New Egg

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  8. wyoDreamer

    wyoDreamer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Caponize is to remove the testes - or neuter the roos.
    It is done to allow the rooster to grow to an older age without the testosterone hormone issues of crowing, fighting and getting tough.
     
  9. El Exorcisto

    El Exorcisto Out Of The Brooder

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    Caponizing does essentially the same as neutering your dog or castrating a bull. It makes for a more docile animal that doesn't engage in the usual male behaviors of the species (fighting, breeding, etc...) In caponizing a cockerel you also cause fat to deposit within the meat which makes for tender, juicy meat no matter the age of the bird. There are also reports of capons going broody.
     
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  10. El Exorcisto

    El Exorcisto Out Of The Brooder

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    Somewhere in this forum there is a detailed step by step of the process and a source for the surgical tools to do it. I don't feel like searching right now, but it shouldn't take too much digging to find.
     
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