Is there a certain age to cull?

MissMarple

Songster
Aug 3, 2019
301
1,061
207
Arkansas
Cornishes? I have 2 accidental buys; one of them is my avatar. They were labeled something else but as they quickly outgrew everyone, I realized I had 2 Cornish hens/roos. I've now had to separate them from everyone else (the rest of the older flock, 10, our slightly younger and smaller flock of 12 are in a different brooder as they still need added heat) so that they can eat correctly and won't be picked on/pecked at and their brooder can be more easily cleaned often. I've been preparing myself over these last few weeks for their imminent deaths and reading everyone's opinions on the best ways to cull them. I've pretty well settled on a method while the Chicken Man (my husband) has other ideas. But my question is; is there a certain age that is best or is it really better based on their size? The more I've read about them, the more concerned I get about their well-being up until their time to go and I don't want to wait too long. I don't want them to end up dying from some heart issue or something causing them to suffer. I'm fine with culling any of them no matter how sweet they are or how much I love them but I just wasn't prepared to need to do it this early on. They're 5 weeks old right now and, of course, huge. My intent wasn't to raise meat birds right off the bat but here we are. Thanks in advance for any answers and opinions!
 

Kabootar

Crowing
Aug 15, 2017
522
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Bihar India
Yes there is a specific age for processing Cornish cross chickens. The recommended age is 8-10 weeks. But since I raise these birds in John Suscovich style chicken tractor. They are moved regularly. Their access to grain is limited and they get plenty of grass and grubs so I process them at twelve weeks. They turn out to be heavier, healthier and tastier.
 

MissMarple

Songster
Aug 3, 2019
301
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207
Arkansas
Yes there is a specific age for processing Cornish cross chickens. The recommended age is 8-10 weeks. But since I raise these birds in John Suscovich style chicken tractor. They are moved regularly. Their access to grain is limited and they get plenty of grass and grubs so I process them at twelve weeks. They turn out to be heavier, healthier and tastier.

You can process them now if you want. Unless you need a giant bird for some reason it might be a good idea to process early. 5 weeks for a CX is a decent sized table bird. Just don't go over 10 weeks because that's when mortality rates sky rocket.

Thank you both!! So, for sure not older than 10 weeks. They've been in the brooder all this time but we take them outside to forage and stretch their legs (for as long as they will actually walk around) multiple times a week but I wonder if throwing together a tractor might be a good idea. Will post a picture of them from a couple days ago as soon as I can wrangle my phone away from my daughter.
 

MissMarple

Songster
Aug 3, 2019
301
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Arkansas
IMG_0090.jpg
IMG_0091.jpg


My big girls. Pictures just can't get across their size. And as the sun was going down, they were sticking close together! They're just so sweet.
 

Mosey2003

Crowing
5 Years
Apr 13, 2016
3,098
5,041
411
North-Central IL
You can do it any time you like. Definitely by 10 weeks if you're worried about health issues. I just did some that I estimate were 10 weeks and they dressed just under 6lbs. My problem was I bought them as "aged" from the store, and the kid didn't know for sure how old they were, so I just kinda eyeballed it by size and weight. If you want to know what carcass size they'll be, you can weigh them (alive) and take the number in ounces time 0.75 and that will be a pretty fair estimate for dressed weight.
 

Kabootar

Crowing
Aug 15, 2017
522
1,658
290
Bihar India
Speaking of Cornish crosses, a Lady on the caponizing thread got an "accidental" Cornish cross 400 (2).jpeg . She decided to take that "accident" as "Devine" intervention on behalf of that chick so decided to let her live her life. That chick grew up into one of the largest hens she had ever seen (around 12 pounds) and she laid the largest chicken eggs that I have ever seen.

The lady also said that the hen went broody and raised a couple of batches of chicks and survived two hawk attacks too (probably she was too heavy for the hawk IMO:lau) before she died prematurely at the around 3 years old. I bet she was one lucky Cornish cross and saw more adventures than she was intended to see. In the pic you can clearly see her D shaped chest.
400.jpeg

Edited: I still can't get around the pic uploading mechanism, I hope you will pardon me.
 

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MissMarple

Songster
Aug 3, 2019
301
1,061
207
Arkansas
You can do it any time you like. Definitely by 10 weeks if you're worried about health issues. I just did some that I estimate were 10 weeks and they dressed just under 6lbs. My problem was I bought them as "aged" from the store, and the kid didn't know for sure how old they were, so I just kinda eyeballed it by size and weight. If you want to know what carcass size they'll be, you can weigh them (alive) and take the number in ounces time 0.75 and that will be a pretty fair estimate for dressed weight.

Awesome!!!! Thank you SO much for the info!!! I'm out of my depth with these things and I wasn't ready for all this. I did my research on egg layers and dual purpose birds before I got them because that's what I wanted. I didn't want meat birds starting out. If this was our second or third time around with a flock, sure, but not right out of the gate, ya know? Now to figure out best options for method of culling.
 

MissMarple

Songster
Aug 3, 2019
301
1,061
207
Arkansas
Speaking of Cornish crosses, a Lady on the caponizing thread got an "accidental" Cornish cross View attachment 1885491 . She decided to take that "accident" as "Devine" intervention on behalf of that chick so decided to let her live her life. That chick grew up into one of the largest hens she had ever seen (around 12 pounds) and she laid the largest chicken eggs that I have ever seen.

The lady also said that the hen went broody and raised a couple of batches of chicks and survived two hawk attacks too (probably she was too heavy for the hawk IMO:lau) before she died prematurely at the around 3 years old. I bet she was one lucky Cornish cross and saw more adventures than she was intended to see. In the pic you can clearly see her D shaped chest.
View attachment 1885489

Edited: I still can't get around the pic uploading mechanism, I hope you will pardon me.

Holy cow!!!!! Wow, those are some HUGE eggs!! Was the cross part of this one an ostrich?! Lol. Sweet baby! She looks beautiful! I'd like to, eventually, have a couple CX to let live our their lives but I want to get more experience under my belt with chickens in the first place. I just wasn't ready for this yet. Lol. Was messing with them this morning and, bless their big ole hearts, they want to perch on the side of the brooder so bad... and all they can do is wobble when they get there. So here sits this oversized dinosaur chicken, swaying forward and backward with it's big tree trunk legs and toes curled around the edge of the brooder just looking at me like, "What, mom?" They're such sweethearts!
 

anniep

Songster
9 Years
Jan 24, 2011
105
108
192
Idaho
Bless your heart, I would find myself keeping them for sure. I learned when I got meat goats that I am no good at processing my animals. Not one goat was ever butchered lol. I'm sure I would do the same with these two. It would be a heck of a lot easier if they weren't so sweet huh!!
 

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