Chickens resemble pheasants when processed

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by chicken-tender, Mar 15, 2017.

  1. chicken-tender

    chicken-tender New Egg

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    May 6, 2016
    I raised 8 chickens last year and since I am too lazy to carry water in the winter, I put them in the freezer. But once they were processed, they looked and cooked like wild pheasants. I have had to pressure cook them to get tender. The leg meat was very dark and stringy like wild pheasant. Very little meat on the breast and quite tough. The birds were all healthy, full feathered and very active.

    They were about 26 weeks old, all hens. As far as breeds go, there were 2 Rhode Island Reds, 2 Americana, 2 Buffingtons and 2 others that looked similar to the Americana in color.
    I kept them in a tractor/pen set up and let them free range about 3 to 5 hours a day.

    My question is why was the meat that way? Did I let them run too much? The folks at the tractor supply store ( not TSC but a local store) explained it as the difference between a dairy cow and a beef cow. Any ideas, comments or other explanations? I want eggs but meat too. Do I need to change breeds?
     
  2. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Overrun With Chickens

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    OK, I never put my chickens in the freezer, but all my breeds like you mentioned----would for sure not be very big at 26 weeks----that's bare at laying age. Yes you would fair better with some meat chickens.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2017
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    did you give them any resting time? I find that effects tenderness quite a bit, as does brining.
     
  4. chicken-tender

    chicken-tender New Egg

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    They weighted about 2.5 to 3 lbs dressed. They may have been older than 26 weeks, more like 28 to 30 weeks when I count back. They had been laying for about 2 to 3 months. I processed them just as instructed in "Frugal's" guide or instructions listed on the web site under Meat birds etc.. But I let them soaked 24 hours in ice water after processing and before cutting up. I am not sure what or how to brine chickens. I don't want just eggs that's why I went more toward the laying hens. Is there a dual purpose breed that would be better? Thanks for the help.
     
  5. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Overrun With Chickens

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    I like the white rock and the black jersey giants, But again I do not process them for the freezer. I sell them then buy some already processed----because as you said about toting water----I am to lazy or to smart to process them when I can sell them live for $15 to $20 then go get 3 or 4 ready to go in the freezer for that price.
     
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    None of your "dual purpose" hatchery pullets are going to be a lot better at that age.

    You might look at the slow broilers, the Dixie Rainbows, Pioneers, Sagittas, new mixes like that. They're meatier and still lay eggs, just not as many as the production bred birds.

    I have to say, I'm with PD-Riverman. I can sell those young pullets for $20 each, and buy chicken that I don't have to process.

    Or, raise Cornish cross, have your meat in 7-8 weeks, and raise a few layers separate.
     
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  7. chicken-tender

    chicken-tender New Egg

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    Thanks. I would rather sell too but then again I know how these were cared for. I'll try one or two of the breeds suggested this year and go from there.
     
  8. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Overrun With Chickens

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    Very true on how they are cared for. If you have never raised Cornish X then you should. Then you can have nice chickens in 8 weeks that you WILL have to Process then----can not wait for weeks longer on them. When you get you some of those chicks----start getting set-up for the slaughter because 8 weeks will be here before you know it. For sure talk with experienced raisers before you get started----most take the food away a few hours at a time to slow their growth down---if not you can get them so big so fast they can not walk in 6 or 7 weeks. Good Luck
     
  9. Fat Daddy

    Fat Daddy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have found that its kinda like growing your own tomatoes or melons. It wont matter if its tough as a boot, dry as a bone, or burnt black. A chicken you took from egg/chick, to butcher, just taste better! Enjoy the process, be proud of the meal.
     

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