Finishing free range dual roos?


10 Years
Feb 15, 2009
Boondocks, Colorado
I have free range partridge rock roos, and they are about four month old. I weighed them today, and they only weigh 3 1/2 lbs! When I butchered their daddy he was a year old, and weighed 5 lbs dressed.

Should I pen them and feed them meatbird feed the last few weeks? I feed them that free choice, but they never eat it. DH is afraid that they will get fatty and not develop any more mucsle if we do that. I am afraid they will get tough if we let them keep running free.

Also, should I start confining my 2-month old roos now, so that they grow faster then these did?
Hello? Anyone??
HI, I have the same question .
I have 10 Red Roo's that I need to do. I want to know if I should switch mine to the broiler food for a few weeks. If not they gotta go next week. Hope someone anwsers us
I am hoping you get a response to this as I will most likely be doing the same thing in about a month or so. My guys are also free range and were supposed to be pullets - I am keeping one or two of the best to stay with the girls. Mine are not plymouth rocks, but they are big laying breed roos, so pretty similar situation. Good luck - I'll be watching this too!

edited for spelling
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The problem many of us run into with dual purpose birds is that they are designed more for the egg purpose and less for the eating purpose. The only way to get them ready to be eating birds is to fatten them. I doubt you will be able to do this free range because they are simply not designed to gain fat. I would suggest penning them and putting them on a combination of high protein grower and rolled or cracked corn. I have tried to make meat birds out of several types of dual purpose birds, including Rocks, Orps, RIR, New Hampshires, and Delawares.
The best results I have had are with the Delawares. They were the meat birds before the Cornish X came along. The rest took 16 weeks to grow out and then only weighed about 5-6 pounds apiece pre-process. Again, my suggestion, pen them, grow them, and then eat. They will be tasty, just not much of them.
Cage them 1-2 week gamebird or high protien food, and then butcher, they'll plump up a little, but they won't be like the chicken at the market.
They're 4 months old, they're already tough. These are crock-pot birds. That's fine, I eat a lot of crock pot birds, they're yummy, but don't expect tenderness from a bird older than about 12 weeks, at the most.

I had some undersized roos that I switched to a higher protein feed, and they grew a huge amount in 2 weeks. I was very surprised at how big they got. Mine didn't get fatty, either, there was only a small amount of fat. I did not cage them, though. I let them free range with the others, and upped the protein for the whole flock. I added distiller's grain to the layer mash I normally feed. Egg production went up, and the young cockerels got big. I butchered two, then I did separate the last 2 into a pen about 8' X 16', (because they were harassing the hens to death) for about a month, until I got around to butchering them. The extra time and the pen didn't seem to make much difference at all. Of the first 2, one was a bit over 6 lbs, the other a bit over 7 lbs. (dressed weight) Same for the 2nd 2. That cross was Brahma and dark Cornish. I'd be surprised if your rocks got near that size, but they could put on a good bit of meat, anyway.

Right now my young DP mixed breeds are getting the higher protein mix from the start, so's everybody else, at the moment. Everybody's doing fine, the chicks are growing well, hens are laying well, but a lot of hens are on maternity leave at the moment. (They're setting on eggs or raising chicks)
Tacos or Coq au vin also works well for older roos (shreaded meat, or long marinading).

I have been known to give the meaties a big steamy bag of spent grains from homebrewing, they love the hot cereal it makes, and I get to see them scarf down happily, instead of tossing out the grain. Raw barley is hard for them to take, but the hour long boils make it into mushy oatmeal consistency.

They also appericiate crushed grapes left over from wine making.

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