Best age to cull cockerels?

Egghead_Jr

Crowing
10 Years
Oct 16, 2010
7,494
3,567
436
NEK, VT
It depends how you want to cook them. The older a bird gets the lesser heat can be used to cook. Most people raise em to 24 weeks for roasting. A roaster can not be fried or broiled/grilled. A broiler can be roasted. A young bird can be cooked anyway you want.

Up to 14-15 weeks Broil or grill.

Up to 18-20 weeks fried.

Up to 9 months, better at 6 months is a roaster.

Older than that is a stew bird or crockpot or some low moist cooking method.

And there you have it. The old names for birds that actually meant something- if you bought a fryer it was older than a broiler but younger than a roaster. The name of bird was the highest heat method of cooking you should use. Today's "roasters" at the supermarket are ConrishX that were butchered 8-10 weeks. So they are still broilers but the meat industry is marketing them as a bird large enough to roast and feed a family. Typical bastardising of the english language over time so words no longer have real meaning.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,679
21,328
907
Southeast Louisiana
Hi, I'm planning on raising Rhode Island Reds for meat, only the cockerels though. What age is it best to cull RIR males?

Depends on a few things. How do you plan to cook them, as Egghead said age is important.

How many people are you planning to feed? Or are you planning on selling the meat. There are only two of us so size isn't that critical. I can get two meals out of a small pullet, let alone a nice sized cockerel. The second meal for us is soup but it is still a meal. If you have a bunch of kids to feed size might be very important.

How are you raising them? If you are buying all they eat then you might want to butcher them relatively young. If they forage for a lot of their diet you can better afford for them to get older.

I target 23 weeks and bake them. In other posts Eggjhead said he targets 14 weeks and grills. There is no one right age. It depends on different things.
 

Gray Farms

Conserve Heritage Breed Livestock
5 Years
Apr 11, 2016
14,352
19,110
647
NW Missouri
It depends a lot on the breed as well. My Favorelle cockerels are much larger and more tender at 16 weeks than my Orloffs for instance. With RIRs is will also depend on if they are hatchery stock or heritage stock, which are much slower growing.
 

Compost King

Free Ranging
Apr 19, 2018
3,304
11,502
707
Salisbury, North Carolina
if you are breeding and getting a bunch of cockerels at the same time then once a week from the time you discover they are cockerels until you get to the last bird process a bird. Then determine what age you prefer. I personally like to process at 5 pounds regardless of age but that only fits with what I am breeding. If I start eating birds with slower growth or smaller birds I would do what I just described and figure out a week suits me best. I personally do not like to have them grow out to their full potential because as they get bigger it takes more feed to put on the next pound.

Above I said to start as soon as you can tell they are cockerels, but if you can tell as you bring them out of the brooder then wait a bit longer but process the first one at a smaller size than you would normally expect. you may find you prefer a smaller younger bird especially when you consider how much less feed it took to get them there. You may be someone who likes the flavor of an older bird. Some people like an aged bird.

Everything posted above makes a lot of sense too. there really is no wrong time to process a bird unless you have strict preferences.
 

Hybridchucks

Queen Of The Coop
5 Years
Jul 13, 2016
4,342
16,057
842
Burdsville
My Coop
My Coop
It depends how you want to cook them. The older a bird gets the lesser heat can be used to cook. Most people raise em to 24 weeks for roasting. A roaster can not be fried or broiled/grilled. A broiler can be roasted. A young bird can be cooked anyway you want.

Up to 14-15 weeks Broil or grill.

Up to 18-20 weeks fried.

Up to 9 months, better at 6 months is a roaster.

Older than that is a stew bird or crockpot or some low moist cooking method.

And there you have it. The old names for birds that actually meant something- if you bought a fryer it was older than a broiler but younger than a roaster. The name of bird was the highest heat method of cooking you should use. Today's "roasters" at the supermarket are ConrishX that were butchered 8-10 weeks. So they are still broilers but the meat industry is marketing them as a bird large enough to roast and feed a family. Typical bastardising of the english language over time so words no longer have real meaning.
This was super helpful, thank you!
 

Hybridchucks

Queen Of The Coop
5 Years
Jul 13, 2016
4,342
16,057
842
Burdsville
My Coop
My Coop
Depends on a few things. How do you plan to cook them, as Egghead said age is important.

How many people are you planning to feed? Or are you planning on selling the meat. There are only two of us so size isn't that critical. I can get two meals out of a small pullet, let alone a nice sized cockerel. The second meal for us is soup but it is still a meal. If you have a bunch of kids to feed size might be very important.

How are you raising them? If you are buying all they eat then you might want to butcher them relatively young. If they forage for a lot of their diet you can better afford for them to get older.

I target 23 weeks and bake them. In other posts Eggjhead said he targets 14 weeks and grills. There is no one right age. It depends on different things.
There are five of us, one child so basically 4 people. Lol.
Planning for both foraging and fattening up.
What type of feed is best for fattening up?
Honestly, the sooner to cull the better as I'm selling the pullets and want to make a good cycle of it.
 

Hybridchucks

Queen Of The Coop
5 Years
Jul 13, 2016
4,342
16,057
842
Burdsville
My Coop
My Coop
It depends a lot on the breed as well. My Favorelle cockerels are much larger and more tender at 16 weeks than my Orloffs for instance. With RIRs is will also depend on if they are hatchery stock or heritage stock, which are much slower growing.
I see. Do you know of any other breeds that are great layers and the males are pretty fast growing? Any specifically recommended?
 

Hybridchucks

Queen Of The Coop
5 Years
Jul 13, 2016
4,342
16,057
842
Burdsville
My Coop
My Coop
if you are breeding and getting a bunch of cockerels at the same time then once a week from the time you discover they are cockerels until you get to the last bird process a bird. Then determine what age you prefer. I personally like to process at 5 pounds regardless of age but that only fits with what I am breeding. If I start eating birds with slower growth or smaller birds I would do what I just described and figure out a week suits me best. I personally do not like to have them grow out to their full potential because as they get bigger it takes more feed to put on the next pound.

Above I said to start as soon as you can tell they are cockerels, but if you can tell as you bring them out of the brooder then wait a bit longer but process the first one at a smaller size than you would normally expect. you may find you prefer a smaller younger bird especially when you consider how much less feed it took to get them there. You may be someone who likes the flavor of an older bird. Some people like an aged bird.

Everything posted above makes a lot of sense too. there really is no wrong time to process a bird unless you have strict preferences.
Thank you!
 

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