Earliest butchering age? RIR??

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by rytay4, Feb 12, 2015.

  1. rytay4

    rytay4 Hatching

    Dec 25, 2014
    I have 3 RIR Roos that I cannot keep. I also have one RIR hen that I can ( due to city law ). All 12 weeks. When is the earliest age I can butcher the Roos, and if I buy new chicks and they are ready to go outside, will the RIR hen bother them? I heard RIRs are know for picking on more docile chicken breeds, but wasn't sure only one would make a difference.
  2. jaredthefox

    jaredthefox Chirping

    Jan 4, 2015
    Marshall Texas
    When introducing new full grown hens to an existing flock do it at night time. It also helps a lot to have the new ones in a cage in the pen with the other chickens. That way they can see but not touch each other. I butcher my roosters when they start getting annoying. You can butcher them anytime you want. They start crowing before they really start gaining much meat.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    You can eat any chicken at any age but yes, at 12 weeks there will not be much meat on them. At 12 weeks you can still fry or grill them but they will mostly be bones. The older they get the more you have to pay attention to how you cook them. The older they are the more you need to cook them slower and with more moisture. As they hit puberty, hormonal changes will flavor the meat some too. If you are used to the supermarket chicken the taste will be a bit different.

    I wait until at least 4 months and prefer even later, but I can and do have roosters. There is no telling when yours might start crowing. It could be today, it may still be another month or more. I can’t tell you when you need to butcher them, just be ready as soon as you hear the first crow.

    Integration can be a bit tricky and having just one hen puts an additional twist on it. The more room you have the easier integration is. I get the feeling you may not have a lot of room. Some broody hens and some people integrate chicks at 4 weeks of age or maybe even less. I normally integrate brooder raised chicks at 8 weeks, but that’s more to do with my physical set-up than anything else. For someone without much room, you may need to wait until they are practically full grown. We all have unique set-ups and we all do it different ways.

    The twist with just one hen is that chickens are social animals. They want to be with other chickens. An older more mature chicken will outrank a less mature chicken and will sometimes peck that younger chicken to keep it in its place. In a normal flock with enough room this is not a problem. The younger just run away and then avoid the older until they are mature enough to force their way into the pecking order. Problem solved.

    But if you don’t have much room the younger cannot avoid the older. There just isn’t enough room, so these pecking encounters can become dangerous. That doesn’t mean they absolutely will but they certainly can. With just one hen, she will probably want to be with the younger chicks so they may have trouble avoiding her. Even if she wants to be with them, she may still peck them because of the pecking order/maturity issues. They don’t always think what we consider logically.

    I don’t hold with the idea that every RIR in the world is a mean vicious brute or that every Buff Orpington is the gentlest mildest sweetest chicken in the world. Each chicken is an individual. If you have any issues with that hen it will be because of her individual personality, not because she is a RIR.

    I don’t know the best way to go for you. Once they are outside, I suggest housing them across a fence where they can see the hen and she can see them for at least a week and maybe longer. When you do decide to let them get together do it when you are around and can observe. Put out separate feeding and watering places so they can eat and drink without challenging the hen.
    Another possibility would be to get point of lay pullets and integrate those when they are the same age.

    This could go so smoothly you think we are crazy for worrying or it could get really ugly. I wish you luck.

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