Barred Rocks for Meat

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Buckhowdy, Mar 14, 2015.

  1. Buckhowdy

    Buckhowdy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 14, 2014
    So I read an article here on Historic Breeds for meat. The article talked about the different ages traditionally classified as up to 12 weeks for broilers, 20 weeks for fryers, 5 to 9 months for roasters, and over a year for fowl.

    I've been wanting to reduce the flock size, so I thought we would process the unwanted packing peanut roosters we got with our last small order. They were only 11 weeks old. Why not have some young broilers?

    We were looking over the flock for candidates and discovered one of our 5 month old hens eating an egg. It was a quick decision to add the egg eater to the group to be processed. We decided to process two 5 month old hens along with 10 young roosters.

    The 5 month old hens dressed out beautifully. The 11 week old roosters had a lot of pin feathers. We had to skin them (after we plucked them[​IMG]). My wife and I have decided not to process any more 11 week old Barred Rocks. The skin has too many pin feathers, and she likes the skin. Any one have a target age for processing barred rocks? I know that 5 months gives you a nice looking dressed out bird.
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    It sounds like what you saw is a juvenile molt. Chicks go through two molts before they reach adult size. They outgrow their feathers and need to replace them. I don’t know that there is any specific age that Barred Rocks go through this process, I don’t have Barred Rocks, but my chicks of various breeds don’t seem to do this at a specific time. Some seem to go through a juvenile molt earlier than others and that is not breed related.

    I skin mine so I really can’t help you with a target number. My wife does not like the skin and as you know we try to make the wives happy. I don’t fry them either, again because she can’t eat fried foods. My target date is never before 16 weeks, prefer at least 18 weeks, and 24 weeks is still pretty good for cockerels. After that the rate of meat gain slows down quite a bit. Some mature faster than others too. But that’s based on how I cook them and carcass size, not pin feathers, so that’s not much help to you.
     
  3. loudnerd

    loudnerd New Egg

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    Mar 13, 2015
    I started to hatch my barred rock eggs and plan on selling the pullets and raising the cockerels for meat and fly tying materials. I plan on skinning them to keep the feathers but I had the same plan last year but we ended up selling all the Roos to keep their own flocks right before I was going to process them haha. I'm still waiting on my fly tying materials haha. I am raising 75 meat birds so I'm not counting on the meat from them but I was curious what kind of weights to expect at 20+ weeks.
     
  4. Buckhowdy

    Buckhowdy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just pulled a frozen one out and weighed it. I believe it was a 24 week old Barred Rock. It was one with the skin on and gizzard, heart, liver, and feet inside. Including the seal-a-meal vacuum bag it weighed 3 lbs 4.7 oz. I also weighed one of the skinned 12 week old birds at with the same amenities and it weighed in at just over 2 lbs.

    We ate one tonight. It was good, but I'm used to eating commercial birds so it might take a little while to get used to normal chicken.
     
  5. Buckhowdy

    Buckhowdy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 14, 2014
    I just pulled a frozen one out and weighed it. It was one with the skin on and gizzard, heart, liver, and feet inside. Including the seal-a-meal vacuum bag it weighed 3 lbs 4.7 oz. I also weighed one of the skinned 12 week old birds at with the same amenities and it weighed in at just over 2 lbs.

    We ate one tonight. It was good, but I'm used to eating commercial birds so it might take a little while to get used to normal chicken.
    Thanks, I had know idea. The skin was pretty ugly. I tried to suggest we skin them, but I thought she had her heart set on leaving the skin on. Later I saw that she had skinned every one of those birds that we had just plucked. I think I'll try 16 weeks next time. Now I know to skin them if I see pin feathers. In the future I will take a look at one of them before I kill, scald, and chill a dozen birds.
     
  6. loudnerd

    loudnerd New Egg

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    Mar 13, 2015
    I was planning on hatching around the first of April and then let them free range most of the summer and process them for their feathers and meat just before the snow falls here in late October to early November to give them some time to develop their feathers to a good fly tying length. Thanks for the help!!!
     
  7. The Force

    The Force Out Of The Brooder

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    loudnerd, let me know how the feathers go...I am a flytier as well and am always interested in additional material. I've read that you need to be cautious of bugs and should freeze or microwave before adding feathers to the collection.
     
  8. loudnerd

    loudnerd New Egg

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    I have done it with a few of my chickens from last year and it worked great. I skinned the birds and fleshed as much fat as I could off the skin and then tacked it feathers side down to a board and liberally covered it with borax. If the borax looks slimy at all scrape it off and add more until it stays dry and then I put it in a one gallon ziplock freezer bag. Good luck!
     

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