My poor chickens out in the rain. Will it hurt them?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by GhostRider65, Aug 2, 2011.

  1. GhostRider65

    GhostRider65 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 21 chickens in my 10x12 coop, they have a large run its set up like this
    [​IMG]
    My problem is too many roosters..they are almost 19 weeks, my girls aren't laying yet but should be soon, but my ratio of roos is way over what it should be, 10 hens 11 roo's
    I'm waiting for them to get alittle meat on them to butcher, but I'm thinking that isn't gonna happen anytime soon, because they chase each other all day long, and don't let half my other hens and roo's eat. so I have been locking out the worst 6 roosters in the pen so the rest can get to the 4 feeders and eat or drink, today it's storming and raining like crazy, but as usual they were keeping everyone out of the food so I threw them out in the rain and propped up a 4x4 sheet of plywood for them to take cover under, but I feel like a horrible chicky mom leaving them out in the rain. Will the nasty weather hurt them, its plenty warm here, but it's pouring and they look like drowned rats, no one is going under the plywood, they are too busy chasing each other...........oops forgot to mention the 10x10 pen has all my babies in it they are 9 weeks, but that is tarped and they have 2 dogloos in there to get out of the weather
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2011
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    I think they'll be OK. I would start butchering now. If you wait till they're real meaty you'll be pulling your hair out.
    As soon as roos become a nuisance here they hit the fridge.
     
  3. GhostRider65

    GhostRider65 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    But do they have any meat on them, I said this morning to my hubby maybe I can just make them into stock, because to me they feel like skin and bones tho they look huge I think its all fluff......????
     
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    It probably is all fluff but there is still meat there.
    What breed are they?
    I was butchering ancona and leghorn roos at 10 - 12 weeks just because they became annoying, they never would have become meaty anyway.

    Unless you have cornish/rocks or freedom rangers, even big breeds take a long time for them to get "meaty".
     
  5. GhostRider65

    GhostRider65 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Well in this pen I have 3 White rocks, 4 Buff orpingtons, a white Wyandotte, and 2 Gold laced Wyandottes, that need to be butchered, I plan to keep my 2 EE roos but that could change if they get mean, or I like one of my babies which are SS, delawares, or BR roos better. My Ee's are also the smallest roos my WR are huge and the biggest meanies, They were thrown in order by accident, I didn't order them, and I'm still mad about it, because they are so mean.
     
  6. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    I got a white rock roo by accident too, he was the alpha male and quite meaty.
    I actually culled the cochin roo first because he was picked on by all the others.

    If it were me, I would keep separated and switch all the roos to a high protein feed, at least 20%. I usually go with 24% game bird grower. If you can't get anything that high, mix in some powdered whole milk for the fat, protein and flavor it adds.
    I'd butcher the rocks now since they're big enough.
    The wyandottes will probably be next and then the orps.
    I'd put the babies on a high protein feed now and they'll be bigger at the same age.
    ANything I plan on eating is on 24% till butcher or 15 weeks whichever is sooner and then drop to 15%. You probably have been feeding 18% all this time so I'd boost their fat and protein now.
    If possible keep the roos in the dark longer in the morning so they don't get too tough.

    When you butcher, let the meat rest in the fridge at least 3 days before cooking or freezing, this makes it more tender.
    That said, how you cook will still be important since they've been using their muscles (unlike grocery store chicken) it will be necessary to chew the meat.
    I always cook low and slow. High heat for 15 minutes to lock in juices, then drop temp to 180 for 3-5 hours - as long as it takes for the meat to start separating from the bone.
     
  7. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    We prefer to eat between 14 and 18 weeks as they still cook up tender on the grill. No they won't be as meaty as a store bought chicken, but you get a decent amount of meat. T me it's not worth it to feed them for another 3-6 months for a couple more pounds of meat.

    You might find this interesting:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=285788
     
  8. GhostRider65

    GhostRider65 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dawn TY for the link that clarifies many things for me, great article.


    ChickenCanoe,
    They have been on starter/gamebird high protein mixed until last week. I added layer to the mix because my girls are redding up and soon will start laying, I also give them a good scoop of meat bird maker every day dressed over the top, so they should have some meat, all are at their adult size they just seemed so skinny to me. LOL used to store bought chicken.
    They look so dejected out there in the rain, all soaked, makes them look even smaller, but I think I will butcher this weekend, after reading that article, seems they should be ok and the amount of food they eat to the little extra meat doesn't seem worth the headache or expense. I want my hens to able to come out and enjoy the fresh air and feed and not be so terrified to leave the roost let alone the coop. TY guys very much for your help. Hugz Kim
     
  9. Neil Grassbaugh

    Neil Grassbaugh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Something else to think about here-

    Often when males of this age get real wet they do not recognize each other and mayhem breaks out. The dominace order is confused and they fight like crazy in the confusion.

    As to what to do with them as meat chickens - cut your losses. Put them in the pot ASAP.
     
  10. BlazeJester

    BlazeJester Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Every time I start to ask "is this ok for them" I consider that chickens are getting on just fine in the *wilds* of Atlanta, Jamaica, India, China, etc... hence my bare-bones approach to chicken keeping.

    My first 7 girls lived in a backyard through several 100-degree summers, snows and rains... they always preferred to sleep on the dogwood tree in the middle of the yard regardless of the weather (or whether the tree had any leaves!).

    I'd be far more concerned about the plethora of roos you seem to have bothering your girls.
     

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