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Dual Purpose Birds

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by enggass, Dec 11, 2010.

  1. enggass

    enggass Songster

    Mar 8, 2010
    Mid-Coast Maine
    What's the earliest I can process a dual-purpose bird that has been raised with other layers?(feed wise)
    I will have some cockerels that if I cannot re-home I plan on processing.

  2. Judy

    Judy Crowing Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Generally people do this around 8-12 weeks for the tenderest meat, although if you grow them out longer you will certainly get more meat out of them.
  3. enggass

    enggass Songster

    Mar 8, 2010
    Mid-Coast Maine
    Really? That young? I suppose by then at least I will know who the Roos are:) I thought it was more like 16-17 weeks, but then again, that's why I'm asking...
  4. Bossroo

    Bossroo Songster

    Jun 15, 2008
    The CornishX can be processed at 5 weeks for 1 1/2-2 lb game hens, at 6-8 weeks for 4-6 lb friers, and 10-12 weeks for 8-14 lb roasters. one has to limit their feed ( start at 24% protein then drop down to 21-20% after 3 weeks) for 12 hours with feed and 12 hours without feed after 2-3 weks of age or one runs the risk of heart or leg failure as they will grow too fast. These birds have the hands down best feed conversion rate of all chickendom. The Freedom Rangers are usually processed at 11-14 weeks to reach 4-6 lb. friers. The so called Dual Purpose or Heritage birds are usually processed in the 16-24 week range to reach 4-6 lbs. The ones purchased from commercial hatcheries take longer and weigh less for age than ones baught from breeders that breed for meat rather than for egg production. Your DP birds will take the longer time as you are feeding them lower protein layer feed meant for egg layers. I would seperate them and feed them 20% protein or they will be quite small for their age. Good luck !
  5. PunkinPeep

    PunkinPeep Songster

    Mar 31, 2009
    SouthEast Texas
    I raise my dual purpose meaties with my layers, and i like to butcher the boys at 19 weeks. The meat is still tender - great for frying or anything you want to do with it, but they also have more size to them. I have butchered them at 12 weeks, and they were very good, but they weren't as flavorful, and of course they were awfully small (2-3 pounds each). Mine get most of their food from free ranging until about the last week, so i'm really not doing anything special to beef them up. But the 19 week males were about 4-6 pounds and very flavorful and tender. Past about 20 weeks, i would only crock pot the meat, and it's totally delicious that way too.

    I'm enjoying this meat so much that i've put myself on an incubation schedule to make sure i always have home-raised chicken meat in the freezer. It's just not comparable to the grocery store chicken. So much better!
  6. price403

    price403 In the Brooder

    Aug 17, 2010
    Ivydale, WV
    18 to 20 weeks seems to work best for me. Otherwise the birds have big bodies but not much breast meat. I feed all my chickens flock raiser 20% protein until they're 14 weeks old. Then laying hens and breeding roosters go on layer feed 16% protein. I keep the chickens I'm going to butcher on flock raiser until about a week before butchering. I like to corn feed mine for the last 5 to 7 days. I think they taste better and it saves me a little bit of money on feed. I've eaten a barred rock rooster that was 24 weeks old (fried)and it wasn't tough at all. I personally don't let them get that old normally because the crowing becomes a little annoying after a few weeks of hearing it every day...
  7. Cowgirl71

    Cowgirl71 Songster

    Feb 5, 2010
    Missouri Ozarks
    18-20 weeks is generally the best window. Before then they'll be small, and after that they'll be getting tough.

  8. enggass

    enggass Songster

    Mar 8, 2010
    Mid-Coast Maine
    Funny you mention the crowing... That is one thing that will determine when I cull/process. About when do Roos become regular crowers? I'm sure it varies by bird and breed, but about when?
    I have some birds now, but next spring I will be hatching my own, so I will have some roos to contend with.
  9. phasianidae

    phasianidae Songster

    Nov 9, 2010
    i've got some crossbred roosters (about 25 weeks) that i really have to butcher soon...but its 0 degrees outside now and big drifts so i dont really feel like processing them.
  10. ParadiseFoundFarm

    ParadiseFoundFarm Goddess of Good Things

    Jul 6, 2010
    Joliet, IL
    Mine are also 25 weeks. I am unaware of this age thing when choosing birds to butcher. Like you, it's too cold out. What happens to the meat when they are older? Are there recipies (other than soup) that can make good eating of these "older" birds? I wasn't planning on butchering for another month or more since my extra roosters are "heat roosters" for me.
    Some advice please?
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2010

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