How old do "pure breed" roos need to be to process?

Jennie5193

Songster
10 Years
Mar 2, 2009
172
1
119
South East TN
Hi! I'm very sorry if this is a dumb question that everyone just knows the answer to!

When is a good time to process Cuckoo Marans, Buff Orpington roos?

I have an over-abundance of roos that I need to process at some point in the future. I have looked around and can't really get a straight answer. I don't want tough birds, but I want to be able to get a meal out of them.

I contacted a hatchery in my area and the man that answered the phone was quick to tell me that they needed to be 7-9mths old. I've also read that they should only be 12 weeks. I've seen some people say that "when they crow, they go" which I suppose will be around 4-5 months.

If anyone has suggestions, I would love to hear!
 
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shortcake1806

Sassy McSassington
12 Years
Sep 11, 2007
1,387
5
171
Honestly it depends on the breed. For example a Delaware roo might be ready at 6 months but a Jersey Giant wouldn't be any where near ready in that time frame.

I think the hatchery guy was giving you a "safe" estimate as most roos would be ready in that time frame.
 

Jennie5193

Songster
10 Years
Mar 2, 2009
172
1
119
South East TN
Thanks!

Even though 7-9 would be safe, since they're "developed" would they be tough or anything because of their hormones?

HA... um... what does "safe" mean?
 

shortcake1806

Sassy McSassington
12 Years
Sep 11, 2007
1,387
5
171
Basically he's just saying that most roos would be ready by that point. Not that there's anything wrong with butchering before that if they're ready.
 

Omniskies

Songster
11 Years
Mar 7, 2008
1,064
22
191
Missouri
8-12 weeks and on up from there


We've weighed out how much it costs to feed a rooster to 4-6 months, house it in that time, take care of it, and so forth and decided it was much easier to eat them the same way you'd eat quail.

Usually by 8-10 weeks you can tell which ones will be the roosters. We separate those out and give them broiler feed while leaving the pullets on grower.

You get anywhere from 1-2lbs of meat from a dual-purpose breed at that age. Not a lot - but still half as much as you'd get if you kept the bird for three times longer. The meat is extremely tender and one young roo can normally be grilled as a single serving.

Not only that, but a small bird is _much_ faster to process than a larger one. There are fewer feathers to pluck out. The biggest problem is that the skin tears easily - which isn't all that big a deal.

This sort of "eat 'em fast" method is why we're slowly trying to get into all autosex/young sex colors/breeds. The sooner we can get those little guys separated out on broiler feed the happier we are.
 

Rufflemyfeathers

Songster
11 Years
Nov 20, 2008
528
5
141
Astatula Florida
We just butchered 8 RIR Roos yesterday at 15 weeks old and glad I did as was getting pretty intense in the pen now the 8 hens and 2 roos left much more relaxed..I would say though that when I go to butcher my RIW Roos going to do them at 20 weeks so they have little more meat on them..
 

patandchickens

Flock Mistress
12 Years
Apr 20, 2007
12,520
255
341
Ontario, Canada
It depends a lot on what you want to do with them in the kitchen, since there is a size-tenderness tradeoff.

To me, the simplest thing seems to be processing when they reach 4 months or so and don't have much in the way of pinfeathers coming in... beyond that point, weight gain slows considerably and the meat supposedly starts getting gradually tougher, and before that point they're a lot smaller and less meaty and you are fiddling with a zillion little half-buried quill tips
(If you skin, that's obviously not so much an issue, of course).

If you want to keep one for the hens then it also depends how long you want to leave the decision... the earlier you decide the likelier to have guessed wrong about temperament, conformation, adult size, or whatever. OTOH the longer you wait, the more feed you have to put into them.

Good luck, have fun,

Pat
 
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Jennie5193

Songster
10 Years
Mar 2, 2009
172
1
119
South East TN
WOW! Thank you guys so much. I really appreciate all of the help.

It makes great sense to go ahead and put them on broiler feed now, until they're about 4 months.

I was also thinking about the cost factor to keeping them for so long (7-9mths) and it just didn't seem like that was cost effective at all.

The pin-feathers bit is something I wouldn't even have realized until we were in the middle of it! Thanks!
 

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