Question on the timing of when to harvest meat birds...

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by chanceosunshine, Oct 18, 2019.

  1. chanceosunshine

    chanceosunshine Chirping

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    Our color yield freedom rangers are 9.5 weeks old. They are suppose to mature 8-10 weeks and be 5-6 lbs. Our boys are about 7+lbs right now. As I've said in another thread, we are going to harvest them tomorrow. There are 25 birds, thirteen being roos. The hens are only about 4-5 lbs. Would it make sense to wait on the hens and allow them to gain a little or will it not be worth the wait?

    Thank you!
     
  2. RUNuts

    RUNuts Wondering aimlessly.

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    Short answer is it is your personal preference.

    Do you want all the same size birds or would a few small ones be good?
    Do you want to wait on the small ones or get 'er done with one butcher?
    Any concerns with the weather? Helpers?

    I find doing 4 a day is a chore by myself. With help, I've done 7. Keep it easy and relaxing. No reason to beat yourself into the ground.
     
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  3. NatJ

    NatJ Songster

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    I don't know whether they'd gain enough to be worth the wait, but I agree with RUNuts that you should consider what's convenient for you.

    Assuming you're butchering them yourself, would you rather butcher them all tomorrow and be done?

    Or would you rather do a smaller number tomorrow and others later?

    If you just can't decide--I suggest you start butchering the biggest ones, and see how much day is left when the roosters are done. Sometimes the answer becomes obvious at that point :)
     
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  4. 123RedBeard

    123RedBeard Crowing

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    I'd give the pullets another week or two ... once butchered, you'll end up with about 60%-70% of the live weight ...

    Is this your first time slaughtering/butchering?
     
  5. chanceosunshine

    chanceosunshine Chirping

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    This is what I was thinking after reading RUNuts reply, maybe I should just take your comment as confirmation on that thought.

    It's going to be my husband, a son and myself. I'm going to be laid up in November so this is partially why there's a bit of a push. But to be honest I don't like the thoughts of small birds, although I'm not sure why I'm being greedy about it.
     
  6. chanceosunshine

    chanceosunshine Chirping

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    Yes, it's our first time. I've done many many deer and a few wild turkeys, so I have a wee bit of "butchering" experience but I'm sure this is a whole new game. If it goes well, I'm sure my husband and I can knock out the girls ourselves in a week or two easily enough.

    I prefer the thoughts of getting it all done at once, but you can't have it all...
     
  7. Morrigan

    Morrigan Free Ranging

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    I hope it goes well for you today. I'll be interested in what you decided to do and the dressed weights you got.

    My preference is to do smaller batches, starting with the largest birds, and giving the smaller ones a chance to fill out. Personally, I like my broilers to be at least 4lbs dressed and don't mind waiting. I know others like having smaller sized chickens so as to generate fewer leftovers.
     
  8. 123RedBeard

    123RedBeard Crowing

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    They "come apart" about the same as pheasnts or quail, just more room inside ... make sure you get the lungs out, they are kind of pink spongy stuck to the backbone ...
     
  9. chanceosunshine

    chanceosunshine Chirping

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    06A859E7-BDA3-47BC-995A-4E71ED9607F5.jpeg C8ADAD0A-AA20-4664-9B32-9B644DFBD111.jpeg Thank you all! The deed is done. We only harvested the Roos and will do the pullets down the road.

    Lungs!!! That’s what those were! Good to know! I really wasn’t sure.

    It went well enough. The burner went out on the scalder once and they didn’t realize it, so we had a couple birds that weren’t plucked well. And one actually got too hot and the breast meat was affected but we’ll know better next time.

    They were about 5 3/4 to 6 lbs each dressed.

    I do appreciate all the help and good words. I felt supported from far away. I was struggling a bit and the advice and encouragement helped a lot!
     
  10. Morrigan

    Morrigan Free Ranging

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    They look great!

    :thumbsup
     

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