How do you know when it is time to start butchering?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Mtnmomma3, Apr 26, 2015.

  1. Mtnmomma3

    Mtnmomma3 Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 10, 2013
    A few of my six-week-olds are quite large. I don't have a scale, so I don't know their weight. Is that an important tool for figuring out when to process them? Could a six week old bird be ready? First timers here!
  2. Indypurrs

    Indypurrs New Egg

    Feb 7, 2015
    I go by breasts feel and weight feel.
  3. 30french hens

    30french hens New Egg

    Apr 26, 2015
    6 weeks would give you table ready meat similar to" cornish game hens" like you buy in the grocery store. To me thats a lot of work, time and feed etc. for a little reward. At 3 months or even a little less would give you more meat for the effort. I always butcher at 3 months, meat is tender and I will get about 6 pounds roaster ready chicken, yum!
  4. dfr1973

    dfr1973 Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

    Nov 20, 2011
    rural central FL
    My neighbor asked me the other week, "So how do you know when it's time to butcher them?" I replied, "When they look tasty!" I should mention I am no longer doing the Cornish Rocks, but working on my own line of meaties using Wyandottes and Ideal's Red Broilers, along with whatever else looks tasty.
    1 person likes this.
  5. AmericanMom

    AmericanMom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 10, 2013
    I think it depends on your personal preference. Last year we let four of the meaties go to 12 weeks, not because we had planed it but because things got crazy around here.. When we did butcher they weighed in at 6.5-7.5 pounds packaged!! That's a lot of meat, more than either of us wanted.. This year we checked them at six weeks, decided to let them go one more week. Butchered all 18 yesterday and they are ranging from 3-3.5 pounds butchered weight.. Much happier, typically its just my husband and I for dinner so a smaller more manageable meal is what we are looking for, its enough for dinner one night and left overs the next.
    Yes, its about the size we would buy in the store and when we factored in the price we paid for the birds (.75 each) plus the feed 200 pounds at 15.50 for 50 pounds they came in at roughly $4. each, BUT they were raised on our farm , I know how they were kept and what they ate so getting "more bang for our buck" wasn't so much an issue
  6. 123RedBeard

    123RedBeard Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 20, 2014
    What breed are they?

    How hungry are you? ;)
  7. Mtnmomma3

    Mtnmomma3 Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 10, 2013
    I went ahead and butchered the three largest six week olds and they will make a tasty meal for our family of five, probably no leftovers.
  8. sheritashair1

    sheritashair1 Out Of The Brooder

    May 2, 2015
    I also have a question about this. We are new to this and found out that 2 of our 6 birds are Cornish rocks. But we are trying to figure out there age? I believe my hubby brought them home end of March or beginning of April. I heard they don't live long and I don't want them to die before we have to process them. They are a nice size. I bc an share pics. Do u have an idea what age they may be?
  9. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    If you got them early April, from a feed store, I'd plan to butcher mid-late June. Better to process a touch early and have a few ounces less meat than risk dead birds.
    1 person likes this.
  10. hellbender

    hellbender Overrun With Chickens

    Sep 2, 2013
    Grinder's Switch
    How 'bout...when you run our of chicken feed???[​IMG]

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