Knight Hawk Ranch

Songster
12 Years
Oct 19, 2007
438
15
139
Labelle, Florida
In December of 07 we received a batch of RIR, straight run. They are about 4 months old now and currently on free range during the day and up at night. Should I start penning up the ones we plan to butcher for weight gain or leave loose until the big day.

This will be the first batch we have raised specifically for the table.

I do plan to keep several hens and a couple fo the roosters for eggs and babies.

Thanks,
 

silkiechicken

Staff PhD
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
13 Years
Jan 25, 2007
21,494
975
393
Everett WA/Corvallis OR
Even if you coop them up now, they won't gain much weight and you'll probably just stress them out if they are used to running around. They won't be anything like commercial meat birds so they will be "skinny" but have much more flavor. DO age for at least a day if not two and if you have slow cook recipes, those will be best.
 

greyfields

Crowing
12 Years
Mar 15, 2007
4,889
31
261
Washington State
"Dual Purpose" means 'meatier than a Leghorn'. It will take around 15-18 weeks to get a cockrel to a good butchering size. And that's only if you separate and switch them to a broiler ration as soon as you can tell them apart.
 

snowydiamonds

Songster
11 Years
Feb 9, 2008
1,382
14
176
On top of the world in Alaska
Greyfields, I just ordered 8 cockerels (RIR's) yesterday which will be here in a week or week n half, as chicks and will do the starter feed but when I decide which roo to put w/the hens, can he eat the layer ration? Or, does he need broiler ration separately? How does that work??? (I'll be eating the other roos after they show me which will be nicest to me and the hens and if they are ALL nice gentlemen instead of cavemen, at least two other people will be interested in a roo a piece)

I thought I'd try raising and taming while I wait for the (Pilgrim) geese to hatch their eggs so once the geese are properly into their bigger barn for summer, I can then order the 150 meat chicks (cornishx's). Cheryl
 

greyfields

Crowing
12 Years
Mar 15, 2007
4,889
31
261
Washington State
Quote:The cockrel you decide lives can eat layer ration. Make sure he gets at least 4 weeks of starter and ideally closer to 8 weeks. Don't let the babies get hold of the layer ration, though, since it's excessive in calcium for their size/age.

As for the other cockrels, you should use broiler starter/finisher from day #1 to day # last. Meat birds take just the one kind of feed for their duration.
 

patandchickens

Flock Mistress
12 Years
Apr 20, 2007
12,520
265
341
Ontario, Canada
Can I piggyback a related question on the heels of what snowydiamonds asked...

At what age would you make your selection of which cockerel to keep and which ones are destined for soup? (Thinking of the dozen speckled sussex chicks I have coming in a couple weeks...) I want to select mainly for temperament but also to some degree (if there's a choice between otherwise-equal birds) for fast early growth. When will adult temperament be reasonably clear?

Thanks,

Pat
 

silkiechicken

Staff PhD
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
13 Years
Jan 25, 2007
21,494
975
393
Everett WA/Corvallis OR
That's a tough question as there are so many variables. If you get a real mean top roo beating up on your younger ones, the "best" in the "nice to the girls" way might go un noticed. I'd like to think their personalities can be pretty well predicted at about 16 weeks or so, five or take a month, however, I've had a few prospects become mean suckers once getting hold of a female flock. I swear some how they became possessed by something at 6-8 months old and every shoe turned into a competition. I've also adopted a rooster who nearly blinded his own father and beat on his old flock when under a year old and now that he's 3-4 years old, has calmed down and is a very good gentleman.

I'd say you'd be able to see the fast growers at about 2-3 months old, and good personalities at 5-6.
 

wynedot55

Songster
12 Years
Mar 28, 2007
1,295
8
181
i would decide that when the roos are 5 to 6 months old.just before i butcher them.
 

greyfields

Crowing
12 Years
Mar 15, 2007
4,889
31
261
Washington State
Quote:By the time they are 15+ weeks they are very much cockrels and no longer babies. They're also adolescent so will be VERY enthusiastic about breeding the hens. If they are exposed to the hens, they will spend 24/7 fighting eachother and chasing the women. So don't have a knee-jerk reaction and think "they're all sex crazed monsters kill them all".

I always look for the best behaved males, period. The ones who are able to get in and get out of a hen without ripping at her comb or pulling feathers. Some are naturals and just "glide in" with little fuss.

The second thing is more important, let your hens choose for you. If you watch the flock, hens are naturally going to gravitate towards the rooster they like best. I have a Barred Rock which often has 10-20 hens following him around, waiting on his every word. Another one of my BSL's also has quite the following. Becuase of this they are confident, protect the girls and aren't overly agressive about breeding them.

Good luck!
 
Last edited:

Lazy J Farms Feed & Hay

Songster
12 Years
Nov 26, 2007
1,510
144
231
East of There, West of There
What are your objectives for your flock? If it is simply to have your own generic RIRs then follow Greyfields advice and let the hens choose. If you want to improve your flock in any way then the rooster that best meets your objective is one to keep.

Jim
 

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