Breeding Raising and Processing Capons

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by zionjudah, Dec 24, 2012.

  1. zionjudah

    zionjudah Out Of The Brooder

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    I would like to get some help from seasoned "caponizers"
    So far I have caponized about 75 chickens and have 11 of those that are 5 months old.
    Unfortunately two dogs killed 65 of my capons in one night. I feel confident doing the surgery because I've done so many but I'm a bit clueless on which breeds, feed, pen styles etc that would make this all a more profitable endeavor.
    I bought one hundred buff cockrells for really cheap and that's where most of my numbers came from. Unfortunately at a little over two months old they met their untimely demise.

    If we can I would like to keep this about everything except the actual process of the surgery.
    (if that is what you are looking for "chinese capons", "capons", "wisdom_seeker" and other have great threads, pics etc on that process)

    I am currently raising some Joel Salatin style in moveable tractors and treating them like the CRX and others are being raised with my hens in an electric fence. The ones in the pens are buffs and the ones with my hens are Barred Rocks and RIR.
    My intention is the stay away from the CRX and try to find a breed that will process out at a good weight without breaking the bank and making it impractical. Preferably a good forager and tastes great. I'm hoping if the initial cost of the chicks is next to nothing I can off set the feed cost by good foraging ability etc.
    If any of you breed your own please chime in. I'm a newby and could really use the help.

    Some sample questions:
    What breed is best and why? I'm in the Southeast, hot and humid. I know sometimes that matters.
    Have you noticed any difference in the age when caponizing? Most of mine were done 15 days to a little over a month old.
    What kind of feed? Do you finish with different feeds?
    How can you tell a slip? besides crowing, that one is obvious.
    What age to process? When does the curve on the growth rate slow down?
    Is there a difference in the size of the hens and capons of the same age? There seems to be with mine so far.

    Please give opinions, please. An opinion of someone knowledgeable is highly valued.
    Please if it is opinion let me know. If you have found it to be proven let me know too. I don't mind experimenting and trying new things but don't want to set out on something thinking its time proven and found out it was just conjecture.

    Again thanks in advance for all your help. If you have pics PLEASE share them.
     
    1 person likes this.
  2. naillikwj82

    naillikwj82 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    look for PM
     
  3. zionjudah

    zionjudah Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 14, 2012
    Wilkinson County, GA
    I'm trying my best to get some people who have successfully raised capons to give me some advice. I really appreciate those you who have sent pm. It has been real helpful.
    I'm trying to get as many people as possible to weigh in.
    If you have done any caponizing and can give me any advice on breeds, feed, processing times, when weight gain stops or is more economical please don't hesitaye to share.
    The only thing that I haven't really asked any info on was the actual surgical procedure. I think I have that down pretty good.
    Thanks again for the private messages I've gotten so far.
     
  4. LindaB220

    LindaB220 Overrun With Chickens

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    Portland/Vancouver area
    Now this is a shame. Others would have valued the info. Much needed. Anyone?[​IMG]
     
  5. Ruthster55

    Ruthster55 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    In a way, this post answers its own question.

    The first and most important thing that capons need is excellent fencing and good housing. Since you´re good with the surgery, you should probably keep trying the project, but may have to look for some lumber and fencing. Sometimes your can find pallets for free, although it´s a pain in the neck to get all the nails out of them.

    I actually have only a little experience with them, and am not yet confident with the surgery, but a friend raised some capons. They are really docile chickens that are, well, sort of "too nice." They are susceptible to attacks from marauding dogs and even roosters in the flock. In our experience, they were a little more susceptible to attacks than the hens and a lot more susceptible to attacks than roosters.

    Some farms that have a lot of capons (anything more than just a few) recommend raising them in their own separate little yard. They would probably do OK with broilers or just hens.

    Please share your experience with them in tractors. They should be better foragers than Cornish X..

    Since you had a dog attack on the farm, it´s obvious that there was a weak point in your fencing or housing wherever the dog got in. In the South, basically chickens need hardware cloth for protection against dogs and raccoons - chicken wire does not keep predators out! Also be sure to have on hand a trap or two to deal with raccoon problems.

    All too many dogs attack chickens, and dogs are very prevalent in rural areas. Chicken housing needs to be secure against dogs.

    By the way, if you have some slips, I´ve read that it´s recommended to sell or process the slips as soon as they become apparent, so the slips don´t start fights, trying to breed with hens etc.

    As far as feeding, I would go with whatever regime you are using for your other meat birds. The French and Spanish often give them some milk during their last week or two.

    As far as breed selection, the tastiest capon we ever raised was a mutt RIR-barred rock mix. He had lots of yellow fat around his gizzard when we processed him. This fat was absolutely spectacular for things like frying potatoes. My guess is that the best "breed" to select is whatever heavy breed or mix cockerels are cheap (or free) at the moment.

    Capons are undergoing somewhat of a revival in Spain and probably in France, especially as a Christmas dinner. They are not cheap in those countries.
     
  6. Ruthster55

    Ruthster55 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    One more thing about processing time.

    In Europe, the standard for processing capons is at least 77 days (11 weeks) after surgery. However, some breeders raise them a while longer if they want larger birds.
     
  7. LindaB220

    LindaB220 Overrun With Chickens

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    Portland/Vancouver area
    Thanks so much for your input. A kind and thoughtful gesture. [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. Ruthster55

    Ruthster55 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I want to revive this thread for anyone doing their chicken planning for next year. Anyone becoming skilled with the caponizing procedure and thinking about expanding their capon projects during spring and summer?

    Thinking about additional fencing and/or housing for capons as well as the more usual members of the flock? The investment in fencing is justified in part because one caponized, the chickens have had value added to them and are thus worth more than intact cockerels. And, the other reason is that capons are less able to defend themselves against predators than intact roosters.

    -
     
  9. LindaB220

    LindaB220 Overrun With Chickens

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    Portland/Vancouver area
    Hey Ruthster55, yes I'm planning on going to a workshop held by Poco Pollo in Ok in March. Totally new for me so I'm very stoked. Have you done many? Several people at Graphic pics of my day learning to caponize by Kassaundra have been doing quite well. Getting experience. [​IMG]
     
  10. Ruthster55

    Ruthster55 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That is great that you will go to the workshop!!

    I personally haven't done more than about two, however I will be getting some more practice soon with the procedure. Any "fowl-ups" (caponizing accidents) will go in the soup pot. (yes, people will happily eat little-chicken stew here).

    My friend's capons were big, nice chickens with long, very pretty tail feathers. They were very unaggressive. They don't defend themselves and other flock members like a rooster would.

    Unfortunately, a neighbor's dog got a couple of the capons. These were adults that were just about ready for the dinner table, so the loss was pretty noticeable.

    I am now in a location where the people really like eating free-range chicken (and eggs). However, roaming dogs are a problem, too.

    I guess what I am trying to say is that I recommend that anyone willing to take the time and effort to learn the procedure should also consider that the birds will need a little more than the usual predator protection after they are caponized. I would say that capons should pretty much be in a run unless the entire farm is well-fenced against roaming dogs and raccoons.

    I hate to see losses like this thread's original poster's loss of over 60 birds, all to two d*** dogs. That's quite a loss of investment in time, effort, and money to raise the birds, feed them, and then do the procedure - and then get nothing out of it because of the dog attack.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2014

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