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Excess Cockerels - When to Kill?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by shandiane78, Jun 18, 2010.

  1. shandiane78

    shandiane78 Songster

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    Jul 23, 2009
    Woodinville, WA
    Hi all, I hatched a small batch of 7 chicks in the beginning of April. It's obvious now that I have five males and two females. I will probably keep one of the boys, because he's gorgeous and sweet, but I'm toying with the idea of putting the rest into our freezer. They all have an Ameraucana dad, and layer or dual purpose mother. Is there an ideal weight they should reach before butcher? Or should I go more by age, to prevent toughness? They are 11 weeks now.

    Thanks for your input!
     

  2. D'Angelo N Va.

    D'Angelo N Va. Songster

    Dec 28, 2009
    I would let them get a little weight on them first to make it worth your while. I killed 2 of mine last week that were about 11months old and they were not tough, but not tender as a young fryer either. so the next time I'm doing it at 16-18 weeks....why feed more if I don't have to.
     
  3. dancingbear

    dancingbear Songster

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    Without knowing more about the genetics of these particular birds, it's hard to suggest a target weight. Some mixes get over 7 lbs (dressed weight) by 25 weeks, some will never get over 2-3 lbs dressed weight, no matter how old they get. So most people do them as soon as they start to be a PITA. When they start pestering your 2 little pullets to death, it's time for freezer camp. 5 roos would be way to many for 2 hens. They'd be bare-backed and bald headed in no time, and start staying on the roosts all day to keep the boys off of them. The girls, and the remaining roo, will not miss them.

    For more tender birds, even though they may be small, many will butcher at 14-16 weeks. Whenever you do them, be sure you age them in the fridge for a few days before you cook or freeze them. Good luck to you!
     
  4. shandiane78

    shandiane78 Songster

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    Thanks for the good advice! I can tell you the genetics of the four. Two are BW Ameraucana x Black Australorp, one is BW Ameraucana x Red Sex Link, one is BW Ameraucana x Blue Sex Link. My Blue Sex Link hen is a very meaty girl. Not sure what her parents were. I had a sister of hers that was a Black Sex Link, and also meaty/heavy. The boy I got from the Blue Sex Link is way bigger and thicker than the other cockerels. The boy from the Red Sex Link is the smallest, and the Australorp crosses in the middle.
     
  5. dancingbear

    dancingbear Songster

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    Often, (not always) a cross will be a little bigger and somewhat faster growing than either parent breed. Since you have all the parents, you can kind of guess from looking at them. Just keep an eye on how fast they grow, and really, anytime you decide they're big enough, would be fine. Or, when they get to be a nuisance, even if they're still on the small side!

    You'd do well to read up on cooking DP's, if this is a new thing to you.
     
  6. shandiane78

    shandiane78 Songster

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    Thanks. This is completely new to me. What does DP stand for?
     
  7. dancingbear

    dancingbear Songster

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    Dual-purpose. The term's used for anything that not either a fast growing meat hybrid, such as Cornish Rock crosses and Freedom Rangers, or a high production layer breed, such as leghorns.

    All the rest (except a few breeds that are considered ornamental, like Polish) are generally called dual purpose. It includes, but isn't limited to, heritage breeds such as pure-bred standard Cornish, Delaware, Dominique, and so on. It means they are decent layers, and extra roos are meaty enough to bother raising to eat, and some people eat the hens when they stop laying, or if they choose to replace them every couple of years or so.

    I have raised meat-types, but usually stick to heritage/dual purpose. I like them better.
     

  8. shandiane78

    shandiane78 Songster

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    Ah, ok thanks. I will look into that.
     

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