How long does it take?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Captain Cluck, Oct 20, 2010.

  1. Captain Cluck

    Captain Cluck Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How long does it take for a Cochin or Cochin x to get to a good butchering weight/size?

    I have too many cockerels and want to put them in the freezer by the time they start crowing if not before. (crowing = grumpy neighbors)

    They are a little over 14 weeks old and free range my yard. I am penning them up when we finish the pen this weekend.

    What and how much should I feed them to get them to gain fast? I don't mind if they are the size of cornish "game hens" when we process, just as long as they have meat on them (they feel rather skinny right now)

    I feed a mix of grower/finisher, rabbit pellets, table scraps, scratch or wild bird mix and they often get into the layer pellets when I feed the laying hens.

    What should I change or add?
    Thanks for any advice.

    Edited to add: These are standard large fowl Cochins, Cochin x RIR, & Cochin x Ameracauna.
    The hens are safe from processing. I want eggs!
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2010
  2. Olive Hill

    Olive Hill Overrun With Chickens

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    Generally speaking, you should expect to be able to process most non-meaties between 16-20 weeks. If they're on the smaller or slower growing side 20-24 may be more appropriate.

    That said, in response to this...

    I don't mind if they are the size of cornish "game hens" when we process, just as long as they have meat on them (they feel rather skinny right now)

    Feed plays only a marginal part in the muscle development of birds. Most of that is genetic. If they're not genetically "thick" or "meaty" birds no amount of force feeding will make them any meatier, just fatter. The exception, of course, would be if they were nutritionally stunted. Beyond meeting their basic nutritional and energy needs however, there's not much you can do to force meat development. Not anything significant anyway.​
     
  3. Captain Cluck

    Captain Cluck Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks Olive.

    I will just go ahead and offer them as much as they will eat and then process when they start crowing.
     
  4. KatyTheChickenLady

    KatyTheChickenLady Bird of A Different Feather

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    I agree. I would just fatten them up on corn and designate them for soup sauce and gravy.
     
  5. mstricer

    mstricer Overrun With Chickens

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    Aren't they actually a smaller bird that just looks big due to their feathers?
     
  6. bwmichaud

    bwmichaud Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I found that the birds I fed scratch just had a thicker layer of fat on their belly so now I just feed my DP cockerels a broiler mix @ 20% protein. The funny thing is, I had one of the birds that never had scratch had a thick layer of fat while the rest did not. All of the birds I fed the scratch had the fat though.

    Brian
     

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