How Long to Wait Before Freezer Camp?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Diavolicchio, Jan 15, 2010.

  1. Diavolicchio

    Diavolicchio Buk Buk Buk Buh-GAWWWK

    Most of the chickens I'll be starting with will be ones I'll be receiving as fertilized eggs. Obviously straight run [​IMG] As a result, I'll probably end up with about 60 more cockerels than I'll need for the long term. I'd like to feed them as if I purchased them as Roasters, get them to size-up as quickly as possible, and then send them off to the butcher. I've got three questions about the process I'm hoping someone may be willing to address for me:

    1) What's the ideal organic feed (ideally pellet) on the market for producing the healthiest, meatiest roasters? I realize this is quite subjective, but I'd still very much like to see what the overall consensus is. I'll be allowing these cockerels as much time outdoors during the day to forage in the orchard, yet I still want to make sure they're being provided with the best feed for bulking them up when they come back indoors.

    2) I'd like to grow out these cockerels to get a bit on the large side (8 to 10 lbs each) before having them butchered. Assuming they're standard breeds that tend to get large at maturity to begin with (Blue Orpington, Light Sussex, Buff Chantecler, Buff Brahmas), how many weeks would you estimate it will take for them to get to this size?

    3) Once I've decided which cockerels of each breed I'm going to actually keep, should I plan on completely separating the remaining 60 or so from the hens until they're ready to head off to the butcher? Is there any good reason not to separate them?

    Oh, and one more . . .
    4) Any good recommendations for a huge chest freezer? [​IMG]

    Thanks in advance for your input. It's much appreciated!

    Last edited: Jan 15, 2010
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I'll try number 3. These two links discuss what you can expect with multiple roosters in with the hens. I think they will help you.

    Number of roosters thread

    Managing multiple roosters

    Your specific question is "Is there any good reason not to separate them". (1) The added expense of building a place for them and outfitting it with feeders, waterers, additional storage containers for feed, whatever and (2) the additional time it takes you to feed and water in two places instead of one. Those are the only reasons not to separate I can think of.

    As far as Number 2, I have not raised roosters of your specific breeds, although I have a Speckled Sussex rooster, so take that into consideration with my answer. I suspect you are talking about many, many months, nor weeks, to get roosters to that size and when you do, they will be extremely tough, suitable only for long slow cooking. The grow fairly quickly for a while then add weight very slowly after that. My Speckled Sussex is 35 weeks old. I have not weighed him, but I doubt he is the weight you are talking about. Hopefully others can help you more, but I suspect your most efficient time for butchering from both a feed conversion and suitability for cooking perspective will be around 16 to 18 weeks of age with weights about half of what you are talking about.

    Good luck!!
  3. hemibob67

    hemibob67 Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 9, 2010
    Spencerville, IN
    I'm new here so I cant give advice on birds, but I will say that any Home Depot, Menards, Lowes, etc.. has a good selection of freezers just make sure when you buy one it is Energy Star rated. This will save you a lot of money in the long run on electricity. I had an old Sears chest freezer for about 15 years and it worked great, but I decided to get a new one which was a little smaller (Energy Star) and my electric bill went down $20.00 per month. I couldnt believe this so I asked around to some electricians and appliance stores and they said that is common with old freezers to use that much energy. Good Luck
  4. Diavolicchio

    Diavolicchio Buk Buk Buk Buh-GAWWWK


    Thanks for the advice. I just did a bit of Googling and found what looks to be the ideal large Energy Star chest freezer. It's a Kenmore. Here are the specifics.


    It's a 24.9 cu ft chest freezer that holds up to 827 lbs of frozen food. It has a Quick Freeze option to accelerate the freezing process, an audible alarm when the freezer temp rises above 23F, a security lock, and a number of storage compartments. Best of all, it only uses 512 kWh of electricity per year (42.7 kWh/month) which a darn good.

    I'm guessing 24.9 cu ft should be enough space for a good 120 - 6 to 8 lbs birds, no?

    Last edited: Jan 15, 2010
  5. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    I looked in my APA book to see what weights are listed for the breeds you have listed. These are cockeral weights.....mature roos you can add about a pound or so.

    Brahma 10 pounds
    Chanteclers 7.5
    Sussex 7.5
    Orpington 8.5 ( I've got some that are heavier than that)
    Welsummer 6
    Marans 7.5 (Since there is no APA standard for them I'm eyeballing my roos on this one and comparing them to my wyandottes)
  6. Bossroo

    Bossroo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 15, 2008
    I would run this business plan past my banker before I comenced with the enterprise!
  7. Diavolicchio

    Diavolicchio Buk Buk Buk Buh-GAWWWK

    Quote:Thanks for the info, Katy. It's much appreciated.

  8. Diavolicchio

    Diavolicchio Buk Buk Buk Buh-GAWWWK

    Quote:I wasn't aware it had metastasized into an 'enterprise.' When did that happen?

    I'm just raising a couple chickens and have a healthy appetite. . .

  9. Bossroo

    Bossroo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 15, 2008
    Just adding the 120 varieties of apples plus 113 varieties of pears,plums, peaches,apricots, cherries, blackberies, medlars, and jujubes, plus 7 varieties of chickens equating to at least 60 cockerels to grow out to 8-10 lbs. on forage in the orchards and fed organic feed plus about 60 pullets kept seperate all upon 12 1/2 acres with high intensity of labor and recordkeeping for a cost benefit.
  10. Diavolicchio

    Diavolicchio Buk Buk Buk Buh-GAWWWK


    Which enterprise are you referring to? The chickens--which is all I'm addressing--or the orchard?

    I don't recall ever addressing the specifics of the orchard business plan on here, so what would lead you to believe it had not already been "run past my banker" ?

    Last edited: Jan 15, 2010

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