Good age for dispatching cockerels?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by KDbeads, Dec 29, 2009.

  1. KDbeads

    KDbeads Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 20, 2009
    East Central VA
    I have 2 mutt cockerels here that are 14 weeks old. Their days are numbered and they are getting huge fast. I was thinking 2 more weeks before dispatching them but wanted to check. They have to go soon!!
  2. Cindiloohoo

    Cindiloohoo Quiet as a Church Mouse

    Dec 19, 2009
    Southwest TN
    Sounds reasonable to me [​IMG]
  3. gkeesling

    gkeesling Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 24, 2008
    Hagerstown, IN
    I put mine in the freezer at 15 weeks.
  4. Buster52

    Buster52 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 28, 2009
    Geronimo Oklahoma
    If you want some meat on them, 20 weeks.

    If you don't care, tomorrow.
  5. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    The time varies, depending on the individual bird and also the person who will eat him. The longer you grow them, the longer you are willing to put up with their care & feeding, the meatier they will be. Some standard & mixed-breed cockerels are ready to go at 16 weeks. I usually process mine at around 20 weeks. Yesterday I did 3 roos and the oldest was at least 24 weeks, he is really nice & BIG. Another one was just 17.5 weeks and although he was a good size, he was covered with pinfeathers, yuk! So check your guys under their feathers, if there are a lot of new feathers emerging you may want to wait another week or two. Or plan to skin them.

    Pick up your cockerels and feel their drumsticks. If that makes your mouth start to water, it must be time to butcher them.
  6. dancingbear

    dancingbear Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 2, 2008
    South Central KY
    Good point on the pin feathers. I butchered some older ones not long after molt once. They still had pin feathers galore, I thought I'd never get them all out.

    Younger bird=more tender
    A few more weeks to grow=lots more meat, cook it in a crock pot long enough, it'll get tender.

    If I kill roos at about 16-18 weeks, they're about 4 lbs, if I let them go until 20-25 weeks, I often have birds over 6 lbs.
    This also depends on the breed(s) you have. I have a lot of birds with some Brahma mixed in there, and they get huge.
  7. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    16 weeks.
  8. Chickie'sMoma

    Chickie'sMoma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 21, 2009
    Rochester, NH
    i think i had my LF faverolles cockerels processed at 20 weeks and they seemed to be good. a little smaller than regular meaties but the guy processing them for me said that it was easy for him to spot the pin feathers and he could see a nice layer of fat under the skin good for roasting them. they've been good tasting so far though!

    i'm sure if i could have put up with the crowing for a little longer they would have had a few more pounds on them since they were growing quickly.
  9. Hozer

    Hozer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 14, 2009
    Homer, Alaska
    For me, if I'm going to pluck them, I would check for pin feathers. They're a real drag if there are a lot of pins. If you dunk them right and there are few pins, the feathers just blow off.

    Layer breed roosters are pretty stringy no matter what age and I would not consider roasting one...which means there is no need to pluck and I will skin them in the future.

    This brings up a question: I bang the back of their heads against a tree (excuse the graphic description) then slit their throats and hang upside down. My neighbor (Alaskan Eskimo) says this may shock them and their skin tightens and they are hard to pluck...he says it is the same when you chop the heads off. He recommends just slitting their throats. My way of thinking is that takes longer and they have more time to adrenaline up...thoughts?
  10. KDbeads

    KDbeads Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 20, 2009
    East Central VA
    Grew up slitting throats so that's how I'm planning to do these guys. It's going to freak hubby out and he'll probably faint but.... [​IMG]

    I'm planning on skinning these 2 since I'm inside city limits and don't want to upset neighbors with flying feathers though I'm sure once I can get hubby desensitized to the gore I'll be scalding with wax added to the pot to help pull everything out faster.

    We have their mother in with the layers, she's not real regular with eggs so I'm thinking she's not layer quality... and she's a mutt as well.

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