raising a straight run for meat in fall

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by korn19bread, Mar 1, 2016.

  1. korn19bread

    korn19bread Out Of The Brooder

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    i have my first plan to raise 10-15 chicks i bought as a straight run specifically to slaughter them in the fall. im sure i wont have just femails with that many straight run chicks. my question is, if i have roos in there, what do i do with them untill they are of size to put in my freezer? or will the not fight before then? also, if they do not fight will my current roo kill them? thanks in advance
     
  2. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    If you aren't going to butcher them before they reach sexual maturity, you'll have to separate them from any pullets you end up with, or there is a possibility of not only the males fighting, but also the females being continually chased and harassed by young, hormonal males.
     
  3. korn19bread

    korn19bread Out Of The Brooder

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    how exactly do you know if theyre about to reach that point to take them out of the flock or butcher? theyre only a week old now, so i have plenty of time im sure
     
  4. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    You have time, but it would be good to have your plan in place when the time comes. I hatched and bought straight run chicks one spring. I had 50 of them, and about half were cockerels. As they reached breeding age, they continually chased and harassed the pullets. When that starts happening, it's time to separate them. Those poor pullets didn't even get to eat or drink in peace because they were being chased by multiple cockerels.
     
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  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    What breed birds are we talking about here?

    I harvest my hatched cockerels at about 13-16 weeks...about the time they start harassing the females and fighting.
    They're still young enough to grill for that crispy skin on the grill and the grilled bones make great stock.
    No, not as much meat.

    Remember to always rest the butchered carcass(es) in the fridge for 48-72 hours before freezing or cooking,
    no matter the age or cooking technique.
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I hatch and raise my dual purpose chicks, cockerels and pullets, with the flock. Occasionally I’ll lock the cockerels into a special grow-out pen but normally they all stay with the main flock, mature rooster and hens, until I butcher them. I try to butcher around 5 months of age. They are too old to fry or grill but they have a lot of meat on them. You need to adjust your cooking methods to the age of the birds.

    Usually why I lock the cockerels up is that I want hatching eggs fertilized by a certain rooster, not because the cockerels are bothering the hens or pullets too much. So I lock the cockerels up when they start getting sexually active. But I’ve only done that three times that I can remember. The rest of the time I let them roam with the entire flock.

    Yes, those cockerels fight among themselves. So what? That’s what they do. In all the years I’ve been doing this I’ve had one cockerel kill another cockerel. Only one. I had eighteen cockerels (no pullets) I was raising with the main flock to determine which I wanted to be my next flock master. One took an intense dislike to another and killed him. Since I’d never had one kill another I didn’t worry too much about it. I should have. But after he killed the one, the remaining 17 cockerels got along OK until I eliminated them down to one.

    I’ve never had a mature rooster kill a cockerel. Often when the cockerels bother the mature hens the hens run to the mature rooster and he takes care of Junior, but that is almost always running and chasing, not fighting to the death. I practically always eat the cockerels before they mature enough to stand up to the mature rooster. One the occasions I’m keeping one cockerel to take over as flock master the two might fight some as the young one matures but it’s never resulted in death or serious injury to either. I normally take out the mature rooster before it gets that serious. There is some management involved.

    Yes the cockerels can bother the pullets. I’ve never had a pullet injured from this, even when I’ve had a lot more cockerels than pullets. Some people say they see their cockerels gang up on a pullet and keep mating her until she is injured. I’ve never seen that though I believe the people that say they have. When you deal with living animals anything can happen. What I normally see when the cockerels get too active is that the pullets avoid them, often going onto the coop and perching on the roosts where the cockerels can’t really get to them. I don’t see them damaging their psyche to the point I need to pipe in reruns of Dr. Phil or Oprah to help them recover. They manage to eat and drink when the cockerels aren’t around. I do have multiple feeding and eating stations so the pullets don’t have to face the cockerels to eat and drink. Once the cockerels are in the freezer those pullets act like chickens. Some people don’t like to see that but I figure pullets have been raised with a flock that has several cockerels in it for thousands of years. They have developed ways to manage that. I just consider that chickens being chickens.

    In my opinion one huge key in all this is that they need lots of room to get through this adolescent phase. If you have them shoehorned into an area where the cockerels can’t run from each other or the mature rooster of the pullets can’t run from the cockerels or avoid them, I could see this ending in tragedy pretty often. One very basic way chickens have learned to live together in a flock is that if there is conflict, the weaker runs away from the stronger or just avoids them to start with. If they don’t have enough room to run away and get away or to avoid to start with, they can’t act like chickens.
     
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  7. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    Ridgerunner gives very good advice and I respect it. I still prefer to separate when the cockerels get to that point. Personal preference on my part. I just don't like the chaos. My chickens free range so the pullets did have space to run, and as far as I know, no injuries occurred.
     
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I did not mean to imply that there is anything wrong with separating the cockerels. You might want to do that for no other reason than to feed them a higher protein feed to help them gain weight faster if you are providing everything they eat. Since mine forage for at least part of their food I like them to be able to help feed themselves. Cuts my feed bills.

    A whole lot of what we do is personal preference. That’s often based on our experiences. We have different experiences and different risk tolerances. As much as I’d like to I can’t totally free range, too many people dump dogs out here in the country for me to free range so I use electric netting. I envy Bobbi-j’s ability to do that.

    I’m the last person on here that wants to say you have to do it my way. You don’t, there are so many options out there that there is no one right way where every other way is wrong. If I offended I apologize.
     
  9. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    None taken, RR. Honestly, I respect and value your comments. I have learned much from you. If I came across as defensive, that wasn't my intent. It's hard to "read tone". I also wasn't trying to be argumentative - just point out that separation is my personal preference. Thanks, RR for all you do here. :)
     
  10. korn19bread

    korn19bread Out Of The Brooder

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    thanks for the advice, ill keep it all in mind, my rooster now is very aggressive and will chase the kids and kick me when im not paying attention to him. i have orphington chicks, i love the one hen orphie i have. so i got more. my roo is a white bresse, and now currently have a bunch of eggs (bresse and bresse mix) in the incubator with my turkey eggs so hopefully they will all turn out too.
     

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