Eating Roosters

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Shaun Hagan, May 6, 2008.

  1. Shaun Hagan

    Shaun Hagan In the Brooder

    Apr 16, 2008
    Northern NH
    Hey All,
    I am getting some barred Rock Chicks coming in soon. They are supposed to be all pullets, but if we end up with some roos, I was planning on raising them to eat. How long do you think it would take to get them to a stage where they would be worth the trouble of cleaning and eating?
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    12-16 weeks would get to a reasonable tender size, however, probably be only 3 lbs or so dressed.
  3. Omniskies

    Omniskies Songster

    Mar 7, 2008
    Experiment [​IMG] That's what I'm doing.

    I've been pouring through research to find the best way to eat or get rid of unwanted roosters without letting them go to waste or just dumping them in the compost heap.

    You have a few crazy options available to you:

    Poussin (also known as Spring Chicken, Coquelet, and Cornish Game Hen): These are butchered at 3-4 weeks old and are served like quail. I butchered some of my Ameraucana roosters at around a month old and slow cooked them. At this age one rooster is a meal for one person. If you have a stuffing mix you like to wedge in there it helps. I cut up red potatoes and roasted them inside the bird. The leftover juice became chicken broth for pot pies and soups.

    The downsides to this are that it's definitely a one-person meal and that the skin tears easily. The benefits include not having to keep roosters around and that the chickens are -extremely- easy to clean and take up less room when freezing them.

    Standard Butchering: Roosters are butchered at...12-16 weeks? I think that's the standard for purebred meat breeds.

    Capons: Castrating the roosters at 4-8 weeks old and waiting 4-10 months to butcher. The downside is that you are stuck with the capons for a long time. But since they're castrated you can keep them in with your hens if you're short on space. There's a kit you can buy to caponize. After reading up on the methods and getting the chance to see caponizing in person, I plan on trying a few. I've already snagged a store bought capon to see if I can really tell the difference between it and regular chickens (they're definitely larger).

    If you come up with any other methods, or some good recipes then let me know. Good luck [​IMG]
  4. greyfields

    greyfields Crowing

    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    Although I always have extra roos, I don't find myself comfortable with caponization. In this day and age, there is simply no need to put the animal through the trauma. They'll never get as big as a custom bred broiler, even caponized.

    The last Barred Rocks I did were around 15 weeks old and yielded 3-4.5 lbs. I love coq au vin as mucha s anyone, but you do get tired at some point of eating roosters. They're not very satisfying to me. The keel sticks way out and they look all wrong.

    The best thing to do with your extra cockrels is sell them at auction, then go buy yourself either a) some broilers to raise or b) a nice free range, organic chicken from a grocery store.

  5. Shaun Hagan

    Shaun Hagan In the Brooder

    Apr 16, 2008
    Northern NH
    I'm not really into the caponizing thing, and there don't seem to be a lot of chicken owners up here (northern NH) to pawn off a rooster on, so the Poussin option might work out well for me. The thin skin might be a benefit as I might just clean them like a ruffed grousse by removing the skin entirely.
    Probably ought to up these guys on grower feed from the start if I want to do this.

    Any other thoughts as to options/recipes?
  6. Shaun Hagan

    Shaun Hagan In the Brooder

    Apr 16, 2008
    Northern NH
    Slaughtering at at 12-16 weeks would work well too because they would be in the freezer before the winter set in.
  7. HillCountryMomma

    HillCountryMomma Songster

    Mar 16, 2008

    The kids and I just finished off the last bit of chicken-n-dumplings I made last night that consisted of 3 chickens: 2 reds of some type (layer type, not sure what they were!) that were about 3 months old and the white meat off of our very mean 1 year old RIR rooster.

    The 1 year old roo was TOUGH. The breast was edible, the dark meat (in my opinion, even after boiling for hours, was not). The 3 month old roosters were great! Just as juicy and tender as you could ever want a chicken to be, but there wasn't much meat on them. Dressed out one was 2 lbs 4 oz, the other was 2 lbs 14 oz. I didn't raise those two, a friend did and gave them to me for helping butcher. They were free range on 10 acres, not sure if they were given grain/feed.

    I've got 45 Freedom Ranger broilers that are 2 weeks old tomorrow. I'm really looking forward to them getting big enough to eat now!

  8. 10 acres is a lot of roaming for roosters to do, and any heritage breed will roam it all. That is probably why your birds were light. If your raising heritage for meat you should confine them a bit, but not so much that they fight either. Glad you liked them, if your happy and they seemed happy then carry on. If you want them bigger I would suggest trying a smaller area. Feed is of course also important, if they were just foraging then they did great on their own.
  9. Barnyard Dawg

    Barnyard Dawg Songster

    Feb 7, 2007
    Northern California
    WE butcher ours at around 6 months of age or when they start crowing alot.
  10. Shaun Hagan

    Shaun Hagan In the Brooder

    Apr 16, 2008
    Northern NH
    Cool, so I'll definately process them by late fall, don't want them to get tough on us. I appreciate all the ideas. I may see about grabbing a few extra roos, just to experiment [​IMG]

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