Capons

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by McButterpants, Dec 12, 2012.

  1. McButterpants

    McButterpants Out Of The Brooder

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    Dark Cornish - Good flavor. The bird had a breast blister (I gave them perches, and probably shouldn't have especially as they got bigger. The picture quality is poor but there was a decent amount of fat on this bird. This was hte first on e harvested about 3 weeks ahead of the others and was "finished" on a diet of milk soaked corn for 2 weeks prior to processing.

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    This was the red feathered Naked Neck from a friends meat strain - you can see the internal fat deposits bulging around the vent - this bird was kept on milk soaked corn for 6 weeks. There was a noticeable difference when cleaned and cooked from the 1st and the flavor of this one made the whole project worth while from beginning to end! Exceptionally tender and just oozing with flavor.


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    Here is a shot of the Delaware showing the internal fat, this bird had the highest amount of fat of all te birds and also had a great flavor, but the NN was the unanimous choice by all who tasted these birds.
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    Here is the Delaware again sitting next to a La FLeche. All birds were air cooled and this seems to be where the splotchiness in the skin color came from. The La Fleche was much harder to pluck than the others and had the ugliest carcass if you will. I had expected the La Fleche to be the big winner on flavor so was surprised when it finished dead last out of all the birds.
    All the birds were ranged with free choice supplemental commercial feed throughout the summer (all hatched around the end of April) then penned and finished on the milk & corn combo.
    For my totally unscientific/ subjective test we did cook at least 2 of each of hte above birds(so far) as well as a couple of uncaponized Delawares, and some freedom Rangers raised by a friend. All birds were roasted (1 each) and cooked in pots with broth (1 each).
    The NN was everyone's favorite. I didn't keep track of costs as this is a hobby, but my wife is saying htey are the most expensive chickens in the world at this point[​IMG]
    I have to say they have been a labor of love and taste fantastic. The La Fleche and Cornish (to my great surprise) really didn't have much if anything on good quality commerical CX's or the Freedom Rangers with less meat than either and a longer grow out period. The other 2 breeds however were something special! I will be doing them both again this spring/ late winter as well as some more types.
    This has been a great project and I am now totally hooked (as is everyone whose tried one of them so far- I'm getting a lot of interest from friends who want to buy them- although this was strictly a hobby for me - I'll definitely be growing more on the next round)
     
  2. punk-a-doodle

    punk-a-doodle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Does your friend sell birds from their NN meat strain? If so, I'd really be interested in a PM with their contact info. Thanks!

    Ps. Thanks so much for the helpful photos and reviews. Also, would you say the flavor of the NN was the richest/deepest of the birds tasted?
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2012
  3. McButterpants

    McButterpants Out Of The Brooder

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    He does not and does not have anymore - He purchased from S&G Poultry in Alabama. Yes I would say the they had the best flavor richer deeper - just more pronounced in every way really. I should point out that this was a very small sampling so it would be hard to make broad judgments about a breed or breeder based on so limited information. I just wanted to share my experience. I'm hoping to find someone local to split an order with me since they have a 25 minimum and there are some other breeds I want to try, but have limited space. Although the sampling was to small too make any kind of truly informed opinion - I'm not a pro either so I will. I'll be buying more of the NNs (straight from S&G this time unless another source comes along) and probably doing some more of the Delawares, I would like to try a white feathered Cornish, but will probably not do another dark one at least until I can justify a plucking machine. The La Fleche I would not do again. Ironically it was reading about the breed and the taste results of a Mother Earth News survey that got me started on the whole project so for all I know someone else might have had/ be having or going to have a better time with them than me.
     
  4. punk-a-doodle

    punk-a-doodle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ah, thanks! I hear S&G offer tasty NNs.
     
  5. naillikwj82

    naillikwj82 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They are indeed delicious. We rendered the excess abdominal fat from 8 birds for two quarts of premium Schmaltz! Great for velvet textured sauces, or use instead of oils for frying. I am going to try using it also for the making the crust of "Pot Pie" There is still plenty of fat through-out the carcass for perfect roasting.
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    Then after thier turn in the oven..

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  6. punk-a-doodle

    punk-a-doodle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yum! Making me seriously hungry here.
     
  7. WOW... That...looks... Delicious!!!! :drool
     
  8. chickenmama22

    chickenmama22 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote: My husband made a "tub style chicken plucker" and we've processed 20 chickens so far -- 8 cornish meaties, a few small/young capons and slips, and a few extra cockerels. I will tell you that even a plucking machine has difficulty with the type of tight, dark feathers on the Dark Cornish. It does a nice job on most of the chickens, though we are still experimenting with the best techniques. I made a mental note that Dark Cornish don't pluck well in the "Whizbang."

    Thanks for posting the capon photos. I started caponizing this summer and haven't let any capons grow as long as you have. Even at a young age though, the meat is tender, less chewy and definitely has more "marbling" of fat. I have cooked cockerel siblings -- one intact and one caponized --and there is a definite difference in texture and tenderness. I processed them young due to space concerns, so I can't say there was much of a difference in size. I need to try cooking a capon at a higher temp than 350 degrees. I think I'll try 400 and see if the internal fat cooks better. A few of the family members don't like the "undercooked" fat in the dark meat. However, the breast meat stays quite moist.

    Has anyone tried caponizing a cornish cross meatie? I have 3 that I caponized when they weighed just about 1 lb. Not only did I find them more difficult to caponize, but they are the smallest of all my meat birds. One of them looks like a runt now -- probably 1/2 the size of their 7-8lb 8 week old coop-mates. I will be holding those 3 over for awhile to see how they grow.

    I am hatching Black Jersey Giant on White Rock for caponizing purposes. I am looking forward to caponizing pure White Rocks when the juveniles mature and I get eggs. I was impressed by how fast the White Rock cockerel filled out.
     
  9. McButterpants

    McButterpants Out Of The Brooder

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    I used CX's as my "practice birds" when I started caponizing. Space was also limited so I ended up processing them 4 weeks later, too early to see any difference. From the reasearch I did it would seem that the fasting period prior to surgery has a dramatic effect on the fast growing strains. I believe it is the University of Kentuky paper that has the stats on grow out and recommends a shorter fasting period, but also goes into a recovery period of as long as 3 months to catch back up to unfasted/ caponized birds. Myer hatchery in PA offers started capons (CX's) and McMurry talks about caponizing their slower growing CX's. The Myer catalog http://www.myerspoultry.com/2012 catalog.pdf has a picture of a 12lb bird at 9-12 weeks which they say uses their hvy cross. I am going to try some next month and see how they compare. I plan on doing some giants as well as a few other breeds - really just restricted by time and room, but I'm very excited.
     
  10. chickenmama22

    chickenmama22 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the info! I am curious to see how the CX capons turn out, though I'm not happy about a longer growing time. I also think separating the capons from non-capon CX could make a difference. I don't think the capons can compete with the intact CXs.

    I would like to try caponizing naked necks and freedom rangers. I think I have 3 Jersey Giant / White Rock cockerels that are 4-5 weeks old. They look big to me.
     

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