Finishing-how to get more fat on the carcass?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Tracydr, Jul 6, 2011.

  1. Tracydr

    Tracydr Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'd like to get a little more fat on my chickens in the next two weeks before butchering. They're seven week old, jumbo cross Pullets. Butchered one last week at 6 weeks and 5 days. She had plenty of lean muscle, 2.8 pounds without counting the skin, neck, organs or feet. But, she was really, really lean. As in, not a drop of fat, not even subcutaneous fat.
    What can I feed to increase fat? I'm currently feeding Purina Flock Raiser, plus a few tomatoes, and just a few other scraps of produce.
    Would it help to increase dietary fat, maybe with some BOSS, flax seeds or chia seeds? Or would increasing carbs with corn/oats or wheat help? Or, am I just fighting a losing battle because of the 110 degree heat?
    Trying to learn, since I'd like to get about twenty five in October. Would roosters be fattier?
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2011
  2. becky3086

    becky3086 Crested Crazy

    Oct 14, 2008
    Thomson, GA
    Just let them grow a few more weeks. They really get larger and put on weight those last few weeks. Roosters are larger.
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2011
  3. myhubbycallsmechickeemama

    myhubbycallsmechickeemama Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 9, 2011
    Arco, ID
    We butchered ours about 2 weeks ago and my hens definitely had more fat on them than the roosters. We butchered all at 8 weeks.

    ETA: We fed Nutrena Nature Wise 22% Meatbird feed from start to finish. After about 10 days old we cut back to 12/12.
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2011
  4. Saltysteele

    Saltysteele Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 10, 2011
    usually after an animal has reached it's size potential, it will start putting on fat.

    for instance, my dad raises beef cattle. once they hit a certain size, it is not profitable for him to feed and keep raising them, as they mostly start putting on more fat. the intermuscular marbling is nice, but there is too much waste.

    i'm assuming it's the same with chickens. my freedom rangers were some pretty fatty dudes at 12 weeks
  5. Tracydr

    Tracydr Chillin' With My Peeps

    Good to know. I'll just give them time, assuming no more leg issues.
    Surprised that I had two with bad legs, since they are walking around, albeit limited walking. They could walk as much as they want but they choose to lay under the trees and eat. Don't blame them it's hot and they're growing girls!
    They do walk about twenty feet to the garden to wade in the puddle I make for them twice a day and also to sleep in the corn at night, so maybe 100-200 feet a day.
  6. Tracydr

    Tracydr Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Have you had any leg problems with your Freedom Rangers? Any other issues?what did they weigh at butchering? Pullets or cockerels?
    I'm considering other alternatives for my fall chicks.
  7. Saltysteele

    Saltysteele Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 10, 2011
    i didn't get weights on all of them. i had put a couple that were on the smaller side in the rotisserie, and one was 5 pounds 6 ounces, and the other was 5 pounds 10 ounces. they were 12 weeks old.

    no issues with legs, and really, no issues whatsoever. that gal i bought them from had them in tight quarters when i bought them (she was stuck with them; someone in the group buy backed out, leaving her with a lot of chicks and not room enough planned). they developed a touch of cocci, but that quickly cleared with medicated feed (recommended by michigan state university's ag department). we kept them on the medicated feed for a week after bringing them home, due to the stress of moving and the new environment, and just for good measure. after a week, they went on our normal chicken feed, at about 16-17% protein.

    not had any issues of any sort while we had them. they were up walking and running around the day we processed them, and could even jump up to a perch a foot off the ground. a couple of the roosters were trying to breed the hens. that gal i bought them from had a couple roosters running around her place free range from last year's order, and they were big guys, not having any issues, either. standing tall, no problems walking.

    i highly recommend them. they may not put meat on as fast as CX's, but they are just a healthier bird that is much more pleasant that the CX's.

    12 weeks is still pretty quick, if you ask me, to go from chick to finish weight.
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2011
  8. homesteadapps

    homesteadapps Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 8, 2010
    Giving them 20% protein food and light 23 hours a day 7 days a week with 1 hour off per night maximizes their growth. (8lb in 7 to 8 weeks)

    The trend lately seems to be less. We've done it both ways and the 23/7 birds have not really had any more problems then the others; of 50 we lost 1 to flip over.

    We provide pasture for them during the day and close them in at night with light provided to keep them eating.

    Limiting the activity the last few days may help.

    Some folks add corn to give the fat a nicer yellow color the last week or so.

    Even doing it this way there seems to be less fat than supermarket birds, but that's OK with us. We cook them like rabbit. Add a little extra fat (olive oil) while cooking.
  9. Tracydr

    Tracydr Chillin' With My Peeps

    What exactly is "flip"? What physically is happening to the bird when they flip?
  10. bigredfeather

    bigredfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 1, 2008
    Yorkshire, Ohio
    Quote:Congestive heart failure is the condition, and as I'm sure you know, results in the body cavity filling with fluid.

    To answer your question about putting on fat, the best thing to do is to gradually lower the protein level in their feed, not throw a bunch of carbs at them at the end. Doing this at the end will put on fat, but most of it will be around the gizzard area. Lowering the protein early on will result in putting fat within the muscle as well. Big industry lowers the protein at several different stages. If you have ever grilled a store bought chicken over charcoal, you'll notice once the meat heats up, the fat starts to come out causing fire on the charcoal. I just grilled several of ours, and had no flare-ups at all. Difference, I use a 23% protein all the way thru, so my birds are lacking the intermuscle fat.

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