Best age to process Roos

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by KrazyPluckr, Nov 28, 2014.

  1. KrazyPluckr

    KrazyPluckr Out Of The Brooder

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    Our Buff Orps brooded 13 chicks this season. Early summer was cool and we had 9 Roos hatch out. They're 5 months old and we processed 4 the other day. We made soup from one of them and it was just a little to "cocky" tasting for me. When's a good age to process Roos for optimal taste and texture? :D

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  2. Toddrick

    Toddrick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I thought before six months was the ideal time for dual purpose birds. What was wrong with the taste? It wasn't too tough or chewy was it? I'm interested in finding out myself because I've got a couple that I might eat, if I keep them long enough.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2014
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    We all have our individual tastes as far as flavor goes and our individual appreciation of texture. What is ideal for me is not going to be ideal for you. Some of us really like the taste of our home-grown chickens but some are so used to the flavor of the chickens you buy at the store that anything else tastes odd. You can eat any chicken of any sex and of any age. The flavor is going to vary and the texture will vary, depending on sex, age, and how you cook it.

    The older a chicken is the stronger the flavor will be. The chicken you buy at the store is from the meaties that were butchered somewhere around 6 to 8 weeks old. Dual propose chickens butchered at that age will not have much meat on them at all. To me it is not worth the effort to butcher them but if you have to have that store bought flavor and texture, you should butcher them as young as you can stand to, no more than 12 weeks old.

    What they eat makes a difference. If you want store bought flavor, feed them nothing but the commercial chicken feed. Don’t feed any treats. Of course the flavor will vary depending on what treats you feed them. Normally the blander the treats the less effect it will have on flavor. Don’t let them chase bugs or graze on grass or weeds either. Keeping them confined to the point of stopping them from getting exercise will help keep the meat more tender also.

    Once puberty kicks in the flavor will change too. When this happens can vary quite a bit depending on the individual. Some cockerels may start by 3 months, some may not have much of an effect until 5 or even 6 months. For most cockerels it will normally be 4 to 5 months when it becomes noticeable to me. Pullets are normally later, often not starting until 5 to 6 months and the effect is a lot milder. Once it starts the stronger the effect will be as they age.

    How hot you cook them has a big effect on texture too. When I bake an older bird I put it in a covered pot to trap the moisture in and set the over temperature for 250 degrees. If I stew one I don’t bring it to a full rolling boil, I barely simmer it for a long time.

    I’ve never used a pressure cooker for chicken but some people are really happy with the results from that. That would be the exception to cooking it slow. There are always exceptions to anything.

    Aging and marinating them has an effect too. Normally that will help with the texture but may enhanced the flavor.

    I normally butcher my dual purpose cockerels around five months old. They have a good flavor and have finished their growth spurt. They will keep growing but at a much slower pace. I’ve cooked three year old roosters and had good results, but you are more looking at a stew as opposed to baked. It’s all in how you cook them and what your individual tastes are.
     
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