How old is too old for a broiler to be eaten?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Freemojo, Feb 2, 2012.

  1. Freemojo

    Freemojo New Egg

    Feb 2, 2012
    East Bay, California
    It is a funny question because I'll eat a bird regardless. I just need to cook them differently.

    The reason I ask is that if I order broilers from Ideal I need to buy a $25 minimum. That is roughly 12 birds. I eat a chicken or two a month, I could potentially have a meat bird for six months before I eat them.

    I think at that time span the cost of feed and care make for an expensive chicken dinner, and my original question, will my broilers be rooster meat at that age?

    My local feed supply shop doesn't supply broilers anymore because too many folks brought them back unable to harvest them. So now it is a special order at $2 more per bird.
  2. booker81

    booker81 Redneck Tech Girl

    Apr 18, 2010
    If purchasing regular broilers (cornish cross), you'd be better suited to processing all of them in the standard timeframe (6-9 weeks). Past that, you're going to be facing higher mortality and health issues for the bird, unless they are restricted on diet. I wouldn't chance that sort of time personally, for a bird purposed for the table.
  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Even if you ordered White Rocks or similar, for a slower growing, more dual purpose cockerels, they'd still all be the same size at the same age as well. You might stretch the butchering out over a three week period allowing for slight differences in individual growth rates, but I'd still want to process all the dual purpose cockerels between 17-19 weeks. If you gear up for whole processing work, I'd rather just get it over with it.
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2012
  4. ghulst

    ghulst Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 31, 2008
    Zeeland Michigan
    I butcher from 7-18 weeks but feed lower protein feed after 6 weeks. After 12 weeks they get mostly whole corn. It sure is nice to dress 10-12 birds for thanksgiving.
  5. mstricer

    mstricer Overrun With Chickens

    Feb 12, 2009

    I butchered some at 20 weeks, boy were they big. The size of a small turkey. I would just restrict their diet. You can feed them 12 on 12 off. I wouldn't give them corn only though. Just feed them start and grow or flock raiser. You shouldn't have any problems with their legs or heart attacks.
  6. suec2farm

    suec2farm New Egg

    Feb 4, 2012
    I just finished raising my first batch of meat chickens, what an experience!! Mine were 8 weeks old at time of butcher and all 52 were between 4-6+lbs. So far I have found that this is the size most people want - but more towards the 4-5 lb range. My customers aren't used to such big chickens, but are adjusting. I will probably butcher my next batch at 7 weeks. Good luck with yours.
    P.S. I have found meat chickens to be a whole other type of chicken, they are VERY different from my layers.
  7. kstaven

    kstaven Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    Jan 26, 2007
    BC, Washington Border
    The only problem with growing out meat birds to higher weights is the growth curve. They loose a lot of feed efficiency after you pass that 5 lb slaughtered weight.
  8. Freemojo

    Freemojo New Egg

    Feb 2, 2012
    East Bay, California
    I didn't really give a lot of thought to harvesting the whole flock at once. Really I could grind some up, de bone some, and leave some as whole birds. Not a bad way to go really, I'm not sure I have the freezer space though, that is a whole different issue.

    What I am giving a thought too now is the supplier of the chickens as well. I like backyard chickens because I feel they are cared for more, feed better, get a little more sun, etc all that jazz. I am interested in local suppliers or alternatives to Ideal. I've found a nifty resource called, I'm sure most of you are quite familiar with it, and I have been talking to open range farmers a bit. I just haven't found anybody growing broiler flocks on the west coast yet. Any suggestions on finding suppliers that have birds with older genetic strings that grow a little slower and are not designed for commercial production?

    Lastly, I need to go to the newbie section and give this whole raising broilers a closer look. Point blank, can you throw broilers in with layers and let them yet eat the same feed? I've seen folks get specific about protein amounts at certain times in the birds life and I have also seen the flock raiser down at the feed shop. My girls get a pretty good portion of veggies, and bugs, but the rest is layena. A broiler would survive in that environment right?

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