How do I know when to butcher?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by mrsteiner, Mar 31, 2011.

  1. mrsteiner

    mrsteiner Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 28, 2011
    Davison, MI
    My first flock of meat chickens are five weeks old now and weigh between 14 oz. and 2 lbs. I got red broilers and Turkens from Ideal and they threw in a bunch of packing peanuts that I think are Cornish Rocks.

    My processor wants me to give him 2-weeks notice to schedule a date for butchering. Anybody have any idea how I can calculate what that date might be? I also have some Cornish Cross that are 2 weeks old and weigh about 1/2 a pound.

    I've read so much on this site about not letting Cornish X go too long past their ideal butcher date that I'm concerned about how I'll know when to schedule the deed. Does anyone have a good rule of thumb to help me calculate? Can I estimate the average weight gain per week and extrapolate an estimation?

    Any ideas?
  2. journey11

    journey11 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 14, 2009
    Here's a live weight chart for Cornish X that will help you some, though mine always run bigger than this, so I'm not sure what they're feeding.

    Week Male Wght Female Wght
    1 .31#; 141g .23#; 104g
    2 .89#; 404g .67#; 304g
    3 1.80#; 816g 1.35#; 612g
    4 3.08#; 1.4kg 2.31#; 1.0kg
    5 4.51#; 2.0kg 3.38#; 1.5kg
    6 5.91#; 2.7kg 4.43#; 2.0kg
    7 6.70#; 3.0kg 5.03#; 2.3kg
    8 7.50#; 3.4kg 5.62#; 2.5kg

    I usually do my males at 7 weeks and my females at 9 weeks. You want to get a nice sized dressed out bird in the 4-5 pound range (dressed weight). This translates to about a 8-9 pound live bird. Occasionally I'll have a couple that I'll hold longer until they reach size (but I don't think you're at liberty to do that...I do my own butchering.) You really don't want to hold onto a Cornish X much longer than that, because they'll continue to eat, but not at the same rate of gain and you lose $$ if you hold them too long. But you don't want 'em too small either. The 7 and 9 weeks have come out right for me. I feed a 24% chick starter, then finish with a 20% for their last 2 weeks of growth, 12 hours on/12 hours off. I rarely have leg problems.

    Your other breeds, I am not familiar with. Hopefully someone else can help you there... Turkens are a standard breed though, so I think you're looking at something like 5 months of age for a fryer?
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2011

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