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Meatie virgin - Barred Rock roos for freezer?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by BlazeJester, Mar 6, 2012.

  1. BlazeJester

    BlazeJester Songster

    Aug 2, 2011
    Midway, GA
    Hi folks,

    I got a straight run of barred rocks from TSC and am thinking about keeping the males to put in the freezer. I understand this takes around 6 months for dual-purpose breeds - what is the best way to get them up to weight more quickly?

    Should I keep them penned without the option to free range? Is there a special feed I should use, like game bird mix or a certain protein content?


  2. partsRheavy

    partsRheavy Songster

    Jul 28, 2011
    It's not really a matter of feed _per se_.

    The thing is that the traditional breeds such as Barred Rocks (unlike CornishX) take a length of time _beyond sexual maturity_ to put on the amount of meat needed for the table.

    Sexual maturity in the traditional-breed cockerel implies that the meat toughens at approx. 12-15 wks which is earlier than they have enough meat to eat.

    If you leave them alone you can marinate the meat and still have an acceptable result.

    You have a couple of choices -

    a) Leave them alone and raise them up until 20-24 wks in a bachelor pen and learn how to marinate 'em in Burgundy or similar wine and prepare something like _coq au vin_. That's how the French deal with _rooster_ meat.

    b) Caponize the little munchkins at approx. 7-10 weeks as soon as their little combs start showing and as soon as you know they're cockerels. Then, assuming success with the operation, you can raise them for quite a few more weeks on free range and pen-fatten for just a couple weeks and you can roast them or use a traditional capon recipe. If you lose some while learning to caponize, try preparing _coq au vin_ or at least harvest the feathers....
  3. 123ChickieLou

    123ChickieLou Chirping

    Nov 14, 2011
    So, are you saying that if they're not caponized the meat will be nearly inedible? If left past 12-15 weeks? Does this mean that cockerals older than that are useless for meat?
    I'm still learning and don't have a lot of experience as you can probably tell.
  4. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Crowing

    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    They will be fine for meat and taste really good. They will just need a slow low cooking method. There are tons of crock pot recipes for chicken that are delicious.

    For tender fried chicken, you would need to raise some of the specialty broilers. Cornish Cross is the fastest growing, but there are others available, too. They are butchered really young, so they are tender.

    Or you could fry your barred rocks and just expect to chew a lot more.

    There isn't any way to get them to grow faster than they are genetically programed to grow. To optimize their growth and get the most out of their growth potential, put them on high protein feed.
    1 person likes this.
  5. Clay Mudd

    Clay Mudd Songster

    Mar 28, 2011
    South MS swamps
    Not a bit of it! Last month, I made excellent chicken and dumplings from a 30-week-old RIR Rooster, and killed a year old Jersey Giant, and coq au vin from the breasts, and gumbo from the hind quarters. Neither was tough at all. As Oregon Blues said, "slow low cooking " is the key with older birds. As a bonus, they're more flavorful than spring chickens, and the meat goes farther in the the stewed dishes.

    Speaking of that --- don't forget to peel the feet and include them in the stockpot.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2012
    1 person likes this.

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