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Free Range Roosters - Tough..? What am I doing wrong?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by aoxa, Oct 16, 2012.

  1. aoxa

    aoxa Crowing

    We have a freezer full of dual purpose roosters. Their ages are right around 20 weeks old when they were butchered. I free range my flock 24/7 (except for sleeping of course), but the roosters have been really tough. Is this normal?

    Their meat is very tasty, but I hate to say it - I prefer the taste of cornish x's. I'd like to continue what I'm doing, but need some advice. Should I be cooking them a certain way? Should they be butchered earlier?

    There is plenty of size, and lots of meat on them. I have 10 more that are growing out now. Those ones are about 10 weeks old. I'd like to know what is the best age to process, and is the meat better if I confine them to a pen?


  2. TurtlePowerTrav

    TurtlePowerTrav T.K.'s Farm

    Jul 29, 2012
    Oregon City, OR
    My Coop
    I have seen on here that you have to let the meat "rest" in the fridge for 3 days before freezing. Also slow cooking should make it more tender.
  3. aoxa

    aoxa Crowing

    That could very well be the issue. They went directly into the freezer. :/

    Hope someone else can tell me this is what I'm doing wrong, so I know for the next batch!
  4. halo

    halo Got The Blues

    Nov 22, 2007
    My Coop
    If you put them directly in the freezer, try cooking one after you thaw it and let it set first for 2 days. I think it should be better that way.
  5. aoxa

    aoxa Crowing

    I will try that - Thanks :)

    My MIL said that it's normal for free range boys to be tough. I really hope she's wrong!
  6. TurtlePowerTrav

    TurtlePowerTrav T.K.'s Farm

    Jul 29, 2012
    Oregon City, OR
    My Coop
  7. kizanne

    kizanne Songster

    Mar 28, 2011
    Tallahassee, FL
    Your current issue is rigor mortis hasn't passed yet. All chickens need to rest before eating. Also any slow cooking moist cooking will help. 20 week old roosters will be more firm than CX but not tough. Try resting after defrosting and throw one in the crock pot you'll probably get a tasty chicken you enjoy.
    1 person likes this.

  8. aoxa

    aoxa Crowing

    Thank you!

    I need to get rid of my extra roosters somehow, so that is why I chose to do it this way rather than raising CX. I'm so glad it's not the result of free ranging. I would have been upset at having to pen them up.

    Would you suggest letting them rest before or after freezing?
  9. Wax Myrtle

    Wax Myrtle Chirping

    Sep 17, 2012
    Galivants Ferry, SC
    It's better to rest them before you freeze. Good luck with the next batch!

    BTW, have you tried a Houdans yet? I am really very interested in this breed. I know they are in need of a lot of work generally, but it has crossed my mind to work with them with a bent more toward utility.
  10. aoxa

    aoxa Crowing

    I don't have enough to use them this way yet. If I had any that didn't fit the standard, they would be used (boys), but I have a total of 8 houdans.

    I'll be sure to let you know when/how they are. The ones I have are quite large! Comparable to a barred plymouth rock.

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