?'s about raising meat birds


10 Years
May 2, 2009
I have a few questions on raising meat birds. First, how do you get tender meat? I have friends that raise meat birds and have ate some of theirs', but the meat was very tough. I also had my first 6 roos of various breeds butchered a couple of yrs ago and they were tough also. I don't know how old they were, they had their full feathers, but they weren't to old. I have a friend that ordered his first cornish x chicks and recev'd them this week. THe hatcherie also sent 5 pearl leghorn roos as packing peanuts that I kept. We want to put them in the freezer, but we have no idea how to raise and feed them so they taste good and are tender. So my next question is what feed do they eat? We have laying hens, do they eat the same food? I know you butcher around 6-8wks old. Do we keep them penned up or free range with the rest of the hens? I know this is alot all at once, and it has probably been answered lots of times, but if someone could answer these questions for me, I would be so appreciative. Thanks!
I'll tackle the toughness question. I have cooked very mature roosters and had the meat be very tender. The secret to cooking older birds is to cook them slowly for a long time at low temperatures and make sure there is moisture in with them. You can google Coq au Vin for a traditional way to cook an old rooster. I generally put some carrots, celery, onions, oregano, basil, salt and pepper with the chicken cut into pieces in a baking pan with some red wine and/or chicken broth, make sure the pan is covered, and cook at 325 for two or more hours, depending on how old the chicken is. Sometimes it takes three hours for very old birds.

Or do this in a crock pot on low for 8 to 10 hours. The meat will pretty much fall off the bone. I usually overcook it this way so much that the meat does fall off the bone.

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