How long do you let them go past the 6-8 week mark?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by the simple life, Oct 23, 2009.

  1. the simple life

    the simple life Chillin' With My Peeps

    The guy that is doing the processing for me told me that even though people get bigger birds by going to the 10-12 week mark, (if you can get them to live that long) the problem is that they gain mostly fat after a certain point.
    He recommends not going past that 6-8 week time frame or the birds just have a layer of fat.
    Any thoughts on this?
  2. Burbs

    Burbs Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 29, 2009
    South East Idaho
    I have butchered at 8 weeks and at 12 weeks. At 12 they get huge, and it is not all fat. I had a couple that weighed 8 pounds dresses. I couldn't tell the difference with the meat to fat ratio between them and the ones that I butchered at 8 weeks.
  3. the simple life

    the simple life Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks, good to know.
    I was wondering because it seems there are alot of posts on here where people go past the 8 week mark and I would have though that if it were mostly fat then something would have been said.
  4. jaku

    jaku Chillin' With My Peeps

    After 8 weeks, you've got a grenade with the pin pulled out. A giant bird may be nice, but a 12 pound dead chicken that you've put 3 months of feed and work into is a real bummer.
  5. the simple life

    the simple life Chillin' With My Peeps

    True, that is the other thing, thats why he said if you can get them past that point. So I knew it would be risky and if you push them too far you can lose all you put in to it.
  6. houndit

    houndit There is no H or F in Orpington!

    Jul 13, 2008
    Braymer Missouri
    We try never to let them go more than 8 weeks. One time about 20 did because of equipment breaking down. One weighed 9.76 pounds dressed! That is a lot of meat to deal with and they ate a ton. He was still nice and tender.
  7. fitzy

    fitzy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 25, 2009
    manhattan, ks
    i've been cutting up a few at a time....i use the "big enough to get to the front of the line rule". the first birds that are big enough to push to the front of the cage and step out when i open the door to feed them are the ones big enough to butcher that day! i figure the ones that aren't putting on the lbs quite as quickly will have a better chance at food for a couple more days till i do it again. they're just now at the 8 week mark so i'm gonna have to start cutting up more than a few at a time.
  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    They do continue to gain meat not "just" fat, but *more* fat certainly than they did before.

    Also, importantly, feed conversion efficiency goes down and down and down, so you are paying more (in feed) for each successive lb of weight gain... your meat becomes more expensive per lb.

    Worth it if you really *want* a 7 lb roast, or want older-tasting chicken, but maybe not if the economics are the important thing.

    For me it seems to come down to "is there going to be a nice-weather day this week when I will have time/energy to process them, or will that have to wait another week or so?" [​IMG]


  9. ghulst

    ghulst Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 31, 2008
    Zeeland Michigan
    If you want to get them bigger but lower your feed cost at about week 6 start feeding whole corn and after about the 12th week give them only corn. It has worked for me in the past and you will dress a nice 10+ lb bird.

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