Meat King, Cornish X, etc.. best alternative for home-raising?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by RForbes, Jan 24, 2014.

  1. RForbes

    RForbes Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 24, 2014
    My husband and I are new to the hobby and I'm pretty green. We butchered our first roosters a few weeks ago, they were around 7 months old. They were beautiful, big birds. They dressed at weights from 4.5 to 5.5 pds. So I decided to cook in oven in a roasting pan, just with salt & pepper, onions, and some water covering the bottom. The bird took quite longer than what I was used to (store bought i.e. meat king) so it ended up drying out a bit because of that, plus I neglected to add water so that didn't help lol. The white meat was ok but dry, and I found the dark meat to be awful dark (again, compared to store stuff) and stringy? And it almost tastes more like turkey.. So I tried another one 2 days ago, decided this time to cook in the crockpot. The white meat was a bit better, but hubby preferred the dark meat cooked like the 1st time, in the oven. But bottom line, I'm a bit disappointed. So here are my questions:

    1) Is it the breed? The age? Or the gender? that explains the dark string leg meat..

    2) What could we raise and breed ourselves at home that tastes more like what we're used to but still be a 'healthy' choice?

    What we're afraid of with the meat kings or CornishX is that you can't breed them so you have to buy the chicks every time and who knows what the mother was fed and passed down to the chicks.

    I'm sorry for the long winded story ;)

    Any tip would be much appreciated.
     
  2. Coralietg

    Coralietg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 10, 2010
    Opelousas, LA
    I'm by no means an expert, I'm not even a beginner when it comes to meat birds… That being said, when I was researching into what to do with my extra roosters, I found that the best time for processing roosters was around 16 weeks, so 4 months. After that, the hormones start to effect the meat. People definitely eat and enjoy "older" roosters though. Methods I have found recommended are marinating and BBQing, slow boiling, slow cooking with lots of liquid, making roo soup. It seems like the flavour in general is stronger, but some people like that.

    I've ordered Cornish X's to be delivered in March. It seems like a good starter meat bird.
     
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  3. RForbes

    RForbes Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 24, 2014
    Thanks Coralie, that really helps. We have a new batch of young roos that are approx 3 months old now, we'll take them in sooner this time to see if it will make a difference. I wonder if hens would taste better also.. We want to keep the hens for now so we can expand our flock. I just don't know why the meat is so dark on the legs, it's like a big difference from store-bought chickens :S
     
  4. Coralietg

    Coralietg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 10, 2010
    Opelousas, LA
    I was just reading a blog post by a lady who processed 9 month old roo's. She said the dark meat was gamey, almost like a mild duck. I think it has a lot to do with the age. Maybe the breed too? I know some breeds are better for meat than others.

    4-6 months seems to be the most recommended age for processing roo's. Exception are the Cornish X's, but they are so fast growing anyway. Hens don't have the testosterone that effects the meat, people process hens all the time that are done laying. They're not good for roasting, of course, supposed to make amazing chicken and dumplings though!

    Hopefully others will input with their experience.
     
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  5. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    That's just how real chickens are and there's really no getting around it. If you want to raise your own and breed your own, some people will capon their cockerels so that they can grow out longer but without the male hormones and many swear by the flavor and meat from caponized birds. They say they are more like a very large hen in flavor.

    The older the bird, the darker and stringier the meat is going to be and I've never seen any change in that. The meat in the store is not dark because it is just a baby when it's killed..most are 2 mo. old when they are processed and never walked further then a number of steps from water to feeder. That makes for tender, mushy and mild meat.

    Before they used CX or Rangers in the meat industry, they used Delawares, White Plymouth Rocks, and White Cornish as meat birds. You could try any of those breeds and capon them when young to get a more mild flavored rooster and still breed your own birds. Other heavy breed roosters are Buff Orpingtons, Marans, Barred Rocks, and Buckeyes.
     
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  6. RForbes

    RForbes Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 24, 2014
    Thanks again Coralie, and Tks Beekissed for all the tips. Good information, very helpful.
     
    1 person likes this.

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