# REASONS FOR NOT HARVESTING UNTIL LATER IN GROWTH PERIOD

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by capebird, Dec 14, 2016.

1. ### capebirdChillin' With My Peeps

Apr 13, 2011
Cape Cod
Hi.... This past May I had purchased 25 Red Ranger chicks. I harvested them in late August except for one, which I kept and integrated her into the coop with my egg layers (which she integrated just fine). It's now December and she is so much larger.
Which got me to thinking, even though the recommendation is to harvest this breed at 12 weeks... why not wait so instead of harvesting them at 12 weeks why not wait until 20 weeks or 24 weeks when they'd be so much larger (more meat). I have my thoughts, but would like to hear what others do and/or think about what age to harvest. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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Jun 18, 2010
Southern Oregon
My thought is you'd lose the feed conversion rate. Meaning, as they grow, it's going to take more feed simply to maintain their weight, let alone add that extra pound or so of meat. It's late and I don't have actual numbers, but for giggles I'll make some up. Say it takes 10lbs of feed to raise the bird to 12 weeks, and the bird is 5lbs dressed. Take the bird an additional 10 weeks, it may take another 10lbs of feed (or more) and you're only going to gain another maybe 2lbs of meat.

Plus, most folks like a bird right in the 5lb range. Much larger and a lot of folks feel meat goes to waste.

1 person likes this.

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Jan 30, 2015
Africa - near the equator
Agreed

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Oct 16, 2010
NEK, VT
Feed intake by weight is linear at 15ish weeks on. Before that, 10 to 15 weeks, it's quite a curve and younger than that it's nearly a straight line up. If you know your mathmatics think of an inverse exponetial curve. The trick to feed conversion is to cull the bird when it's growth rate is peaking and you'll find if graphed with feed will be in that 8-15 weeks depending on bird type- CornishX to dual purpose.

The other reason for not wanting to grow them out is they will get a bit tougher with age and muscle tone albeit more flavorful.

5. ### phalenbeckChillin' With My Peeps

Aug 14, 2008
Canton, N.C.
I harvested my last 2 red meat birds at 1 year. One had been laying, and the other hen not much to none. Both were tasty, and not tough. I kept them that long because I was too lazy to process. I usually process when they become a nusance, and these 2 fit in well with the layers, were healthy-----all that.