Black Austalorps and butchering

davony's chicks

10 Years
May 30, 2009
Ok. I have never butchered any of my birds until now.

I took to Black Australorp mixes to the Amish yesterday for buthering. I picked up my birds along with 2 of their birds. Of course their birds were huge! i think they were probably cornishX but don't know for sure what breed.

Anyway, mine were scrawny... Hardly any meat on them at all. These birds were about 6 months old. I did not weigh them so I dont know how much they actually did weigh. I was very dissapointed at how scrawny they were.

Is this normal? How old should BAs be when you dress them?
We butcher our BA at 16-20 weeks. 14 to 16 is our ultimate goal and we've been selecting for production to meet that goal. IME, first generation dual purpose birds from hatchery or hatchery-like stock aren't ready to butcher prior to 18+ weeks though. Our first gen. were processed at 20. And even then, many will process out small. If you want DP meat birds you either have to buy a large lot and keep only the best of the best to produce for the future (and expect some scrawny birds in the process) or source your beginning flock from a breeder who is breeding for meat qualities -- or at the least to meet the old style breed standards -- to begin with. Our dressed weights average in the 4 lb range. But like I said, if these were hatchery birds it wouldn't be unheard of or uncommon to have more like 3lbs dressed weight at 20 weeks if the couple you got happened to be on the smaller side -- a lot of them are.
Most of the dual purpose birds are great in that they can provide eggs and meat. It's usually a good idea to let them lay eggs for a couple years before relegating them to the stew pot because they take FOREVER to get to full size. Yours were much to young for butcher. Dual purpose birds grow their carriages quickly and then spend the next 6-12 months putting on meat to fill that carriage. Yours had just finished growing their skeletons, and had just started putting on weight. No wonder they were scrawny.

I switched over from dual-purpose birds to CornishXs this year and will never look back. You get the most bang for your buck with the CornishXs. Dual purpose birds are just not a worthy investment unless you are using them in the pot when they are worn out from years of laying. Just my opinion, so take it as you will.

Good luck.
After reading CMV's response, I realized I may have erroneously assumed that these were cockerels. If they were hens disregard the ages and weights given in my response as hens are a completely different "ball game". We don't process hens, their carcasses are just not worth the time.

You get the most bang for your buck with the CornishXs.

This is very much dependent on your set up.

Dual purpose birds are just not a worthy investment unless you are using them in the pot when they are worn out from years of laying.

And this on your final goal.​
By 6 months you should defiantly know whether it was a hen or rooster. Hatchery birds are a lot smaller then what you would get from a breeder. I have hatchery BO and JG, after going to Ohio National Poultry Show last year, I thought mine looked like dwarfs. The difference is huge. I'm with CMV, I too believe you get more bang for your buck with CX's. It doesn't take much room to do 10 or so. Also you only feed them for 8 weeks and the meat is yummy and young.
Thank you all for your responses.

These were cockerels. Maybe they were normal size for cockerels of that age, I don't really know since I am only going into my second year.

Olive hill, Think I will try your reccomendation. My original chicks came from the hatchery and these were their young. I have some pretty large girls and some pretty small girls. I will only start to breed the larger girls.

My main goal when I started this was to have eggs. Then I thought it would be fun to have some chicks running around so got a rooster. Then I thought I could eat some of what I raise......

I decided I didn't want to do CXs because of how they live their lives. Now I understand that I wouldn't be raising them the same way they are done commercially so I guess I could try some.

I hatched quite a few birds this year but sold the majority of them instead of keeping some back. I ended up with these two cockerels that I decided I would go ahead and eat.

I guess they will still taste good no matter how much meat they have on their bones.

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