Earliest time to butcher a Wyandotte??

LizzzyJo

Crowing
Dec 14, 2018
1,288
3,220
287
Northwest Ohio
I have a troublesome 8 week old Wyandotte cockerel. He was bullied a bit by the hens and now he is getting mean. It’s time for him to serve his purpose. But, what is the earliest week to butcher where I would get any amount of usable meat? Like I’m thinking a little Cornish hen sized amount of meat even. I don’t want to waste his sacrifice for too little meat. How long do I have to wait?
 

EggSighted4Life

Crossing the Road
Apr 9, 2016
14,208
19,425
822
California's Redwood Coast
How long do I have to wait?
I'd be surprised if you got much by 12 weeks and that would the VERY earliest I suggest. I usually don't consider harvesting heritage birds before 16 weeks for a reasonable size carcass.

I processed plenty of Silkies for the freezer.. and folks do quail all the time.. so it's all relative.. even not enough meat to feed the family may still be plenty to make a stock or chicken noodle soup. Worse comes to worse, if I don't feel like harvesting but need to maintain my sanity.. I will humanely dispatch.. and compost, set out for the feral barn cat, or vultures, give to someone to feed their dogs/animals, etc.. I no longer feel guilty for letting them return to feed the Earth if I'm unable to utilize them for whatever reason.


With all things chicken.. you do you! You only have to wait until YOU are ready.. This is YOUR adventure, YOU are the one dealing with flock antics etc.

At 8 weeks.. if he's being a bastard he most likely got the wrong signal somewhere. But some do start biting etc very young. I would either review MY body language AND reset the stage for a new interaction and kill him with kindness (meaning don't kick at or chase )while teaching him to respect your personal space. since like begets like fairly often. Testy or hormonal idiocy is not quite the same thing as "mean". He's a stupid preteen right now trying to learn his place. Starting young he could be steered in the right direction.. at least until a "better" time comes.. Wyandottes.. YU-hummy! :drool

Many of us use grow out or stag pens.. to let the boys be boys on their way to camp Kenmore. I have also used a dog kennel for still in flock isolation. And I love using open bottom pens during the daytime when needed.

Best wishes, whenever you decide to harvest and however you decide to purpose him! :fl

The suggestion to skin.. might be needed if pin feathers are coming in as they go through several mini molts on the way to maturity.. plucking is easy enough, but pins be a nightmare to get out!
 

LizzzyJo

Crowing
Dec 14, 2018
1,288
3,220
287
Northwest Ohio
I'd be surprised if you got much by 12 weeks and that would the VERY earliest I suggest. I usually don't consider harvesting heritage birds before 16 weeks for a reasonable size carcass.

I processed plenty of Silkies for the freezer.. and folks do quail all the time.. so it's all relative.. even not enough meat to feed the family may still be plenty to make a stock or chicken noodle soup. Worse comes to worse, if I don't feel like harvesting but need to maintain my sanity.. I will humanely dispatch.. and compost, set out for the feral barn cat, or vultures, give to someone to feed their dogs/animals, etc.. I no longer feel guilty for letting them return to feed the Earth if I'm unable to utilize them for whatever reason.


With all things chicken.. you do you! You only have to wait until YOU are ready.. This is YOUR adventure, YOU are the one dealing with flock antics etc.

At 8 weeks.. if he's being a bastard he most likely got the wrong signal somewhere. But some do start biting etc very young. I would either review MY body language AND reset the stage for a new interaction and kill him with kindness (meaning don't kick at or chase )while teaching him to respect your personal space. since like begets like fairly often. Testy or hormonal idiocy is not quite the same thing as "mean". He's a stupid preteen right now trying to learn his place. Starting young he could be steered in the right direction.. at least until a "better" time comes.. Wyandottes.. YU-hummy! :drool

Many of us use grow out or stag pens.. to let the boys be boys on their way to camp Kenmore. I have also used a dog kennel for still in flock isolation. And I love using open bottom pens during the daytime when needed.

Best wishes, whenever you decide to harvest and however you decide to purpose him! :fl

The suggestion to skin.. might be needed if pin feathers are coming in as they go through several mini molts on the way to maturity.. plucking is easy enough, but pins be a nightmare to get out!
This is all great info thank you!!! I’ve never tried to dispatch before 20 but he’s just annoying me. His pecking and chasing is funny now, but it will get dangerous soon. He is happy when free ranging so I will just avoid him and do a bit of behavioral work when needed until 16 weeks. Thanks!!
 

Parront

Free Ranging
Jul 27, 2017
4,666
19,336
737
Prescott, AZ
8 weeks is old enough for a game hen size dinner. If you can wait a couple of weeks you can have a small broiler good for 2 people. I have not raised Wyandottes, but Orpingtons (which I used to raise) might take a little longer -- what I have now is Barred Holland, a dual-purpose breed on the Livestock Conservancy endangered list, might be a little smaller than a Wyandotte. I just did the first cockerel at 10 weeks, a few too many pin feathers yet. He dressed out to just under 2 pounds, I include the back, feet and neck/giblets in that because I use those parts for chicken stock. Here are a couple of photos of what your annoying little rooster would be in a couple more weeks or so.
IMG_5081.JPG

Cut up ready for the grill. I will freeze the bag with the feet and backs on the left until the others join him -- a few too many pin feathers just yet.
IMG_5082.JPG

Plenty of breast meat for one person. Cut in half length-wise for people to have equal halves. I cook breast and legs separately. I think it is worth the trouble!
 

LizzzyJo

Crowing
Dec 14, 2018
1,288
3,220
287
Northwest Ohio
8 weeks is old enough for a game hen size dinner. If you can wait a couple of weeks you can have a small broiler good for 2 people. I have not raised Wyandottes, but Orpingtons (which I used to raise) might take a little longer -- what I have now is Barred Holland, a dual-purpose breed on the Livestock Conservancy endangered list, might be a little smaller than a Wyandotte. I just did the first cockerel at 10 weeks, a few too many pin feathers yet. He dressed out to just under 2 pounds, I include the back, feet and neck/giblets in that because I use those parts for chicken stock. Here are a couple of photos of what your annoying little rooster would be in a couple more weeks or so. View attachment 2321513
Cut up ready for the grill. I will freeze the bag with the feet and backs on the left until the others join him -- a few too many pin feathers just yet. View attachment 2321515
Plenty of breast meat for one person. Cut in half length-wise for people to have equal halves. I cook breast and legs separately. I think it is worth the trouble!
Thank you so much for your reply and pictures. He is now 10 weeks and 2.4lbs live weight. Based on the bloody bite on my hand - today is his day. I always prefer to cull when actively angry at a roo lololol (still 100% ethically and kindly, of course). I am going to skin to avoid issues with the feathers. I will let you know how it goes.
 

Parront

Free Ranging
Jul 27, 2017
4,666
19,336
737
Prescott, AZ
Thank you so much for your reply and pictures. He is now 10 weeks and 2.4lbs live weight. Based on the bloody bite on my hand - today is his day. I always prefer to cull when actively angry at a roo lololol (still 100% ethically and kindly, of course). I am going to skin to avoid issues with the feathers. I will let you know how it goes.
My husband does not like skin, so I might try skinning my next ones. 10 weeks is pretty tasty on the BBQ, to me. Older birds are tougher. Let him rest in the frig a couple of days at least. They taste better if they have bitten you!:drool
 

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