Salmon Faverolle Questions - Feed, Growth Rate, Dressing Age, etc.


In the Brooder
Aug 30, 2015
I am starting a flock of Salmon Faverolles because I read they are a wonderful dual purpose breed. I am hoping they will be as good on the table as they look. I know they are a heritage breed so they are not ready to dress in 8-12 weeks. My flock do not eat that much feed like I thought from having had birds before. But they are growing much slower. I thought hey did not like the grower crumbles because their "mama" a duck (long silly story) did not like them. But I got pellets and they still do not eat that much. They really like cracked grains so I am mixing it with their food. They love to free range now. They are 16 weeks and the roosters range between 4-5 pounds.
So my questions:
1) How long should roosters take till they are ready to dress?
2) What feed is best for them?
3) Does allowing them to free range make tough chickens?
4) Any other input someone may have is greatly appreciated.
Hi, welcome to BYC! :frow

Raising your own chickens is great goal... very worthwhile in my experience. :thumbsup

1) When YOU are ready, so are they. Faverolles grew WAY to slow for me to keep them as dual purpose. For me they would have to be a breed I was in love with to keep them as my top choice for DP. They took a really long time to grow out, and matured later... while eating a good amount of feed. Not before 24-30 weeks, IMO for good size boys. Mine all go to a stag pen once identified as cockerel, and I can only process one or two at a time and they are ready to mate before I am ready to process.. So I do it when it's convenient for me.. and according to attitude... anyone with a problem will be dispatched first regardless of size or age. After raising many breeds, I decided to go with the black copper Marans, as the growth rate was was MUCH greater, and the dark eggs are of interest... in addition to having been said famous in french cuisine for meat flavor. It's interesting all the different breeds have different amount of breast verses thigh meat and different pockets of fat or not, with variable ease of plucking as well. But it was attitude along with growth rate, eggs (x large to Jumbo 3x/wk once mature), and ability to forage that factored in. Selling chicks or grow out of a breed many people want is a bonus! At 16 weeks, most my boys are still or even JUST beginning to bulk up. The one who looks the tastiest is the one you wanna keep for breeding. I keep two in case something happens, but never select actual breeders until they are more mature... usually over a year, it's amazing what things can still change from feather color on some to attitude of course. Getting familiar with the standard of perfection while they grow out... try to keep ones that don't have comb sprigs, or split wing, with the correct number of toes and eye color... type thing. I promise you won't regret selecting for quality... and makes deciding who to cull a bit easier. Some culls go to freezer camp, but others got to new homes. Selecting in your ladies is also important. Sorry, more advice than was asked. :smack

2) unmedicated starter (22%) or flock raiser with 20% protein... cracked grains is lacking in vitamins and minerals, possibly even protein that a formulated ration will have. You are indeed what you eat... you will get out what you put in. I like to free range, but it SLOWS growth slightly as they spend more energy messing around verses being confined and bored. They have much longer legs than store bought chickens. They won't really be fryers anyways and if cooked with a slower and lower method will come out quite tasty. You might get away with feeding 18%, but I wouldn't. I just go with the 20%, though sometimes I cheat and add in gamebird or turkey starter or grower and mix to get my protein around 24%. 22% protein was shown to give the best hatch rates which to me says more nutrients in the eggs my family is consuming. BUT there is a point of no return where you are just making expensive, extra smelly droppings. Oyster shell is always provided free choice on the side for layers. What is available to you consistently, that meets the need of your flock (most basic difference regardless of label is protein and calcium content), with a fresh mill date, at a price you can afford... is what's best! The Faverolles were at the beginning of our processing adventure... and we started skinning before trying to pluck. But I didn't have nearly as much understanding then as I do now, so I cannot recall the particular carcass qualities of the breed. They are pretty birds. :pop

3) I feel like free ranging does make for leaner muscles.. which could contribute to texture or flavor. Nothing a little brine, marinade, or proper cooking won't handle. They will never be the same as the store bought, unless you do raise broilers. They are more flavorful though a tad more chewy... but I wouldn't go as far as saying tough and consider that human error... which might include not resting long enough. We even use ground chicken sometimes. We use old hens or cocks and make some shredded enchiladas, tamales, tacos, bbq sandwiches, chicken pot pie, you get the idea. Free range is MY preferred lifestyle, it makes less cleaning for me, and the open bottom pens are pain to fuss with daily for me. I have considered confining for 1-2 weeks before processing, but just don't have the time to keep track of that many experiments right now. In theory, they will adjust their caloric intake to meet their energy demand, and while they are sitting instead of walking their muscles will start to get "fatter" and essentially loose some muscle... doesn't seem like a worthwhile trade off to me... but I DO wonder what impact it has on both flavor and texture... I mean I'm gonna add butter anyways! :p

4) Oh good I think that covers the extras I added into the previous answers. But I will add a little more, hope ya don't mind... personal experience, preference, location and all... White Rock rocked in the DP department, though I recently discovered how beautiful the partridge color is in that breed. I am currently testing Speckled Sussex and really dig the birds themselves. Basically to me you can eat any bird and raising breeds you love makes it much truly fun. I'm glad I raised several breeds and got a chance to see for myself... things are never the same as they are on paper. For example, Orpington just weren't that friendly or special and grew way to slow in my experience. Raising heritage breeds will never save dollars... but it does so much more for me than that, I know. New life from the hatching is so cool! I have recently considered trying Faverolles again, they are cute and SOUND really good. :love :oops:

If you're gonna offer cracked grains.. I advise doing so as a personal treat form you, later in the day... after they had their fill of feed, not to exceed 10% of their total daily ration... in order to keep things balanced. Then they associate goodies with you. ;)

Have you seen these to comparisons of different breeds...

Hey, we can't all have the same preference or there wouldn't be any variety left. Have fun are your chicken adventure, hope you love it here! :wee
Thanks for the info. My 20 Faverolle chickens share a 30x30 pen with my 4 Welsh Harlequin ducks and 5 d'Uccles. I open a gate into a grass area that doubles its size. I found a place that will process my chickens for $3 a bird. If I did not have that this adventure would be impossible. They did a lovely job on my ducks.

My faverolles do not eat that much feed especially compared to what my growing ducks did. I was concluding they were not ready to eat now. This gives me an idea of what to expect. I think I will mark my 2 big roosters to tentively keep for breeding stock. I hope we like eating them because they are really sweet birds.

We started with Japenese Silkies for our son when he was 3 27 years ago. They turned out to control our bug population. We sold them to New York City market. So when we moved here and had a bug problem we bought what were were told were Silkies at TSC. Turned out to be Mille Fleur D"Uccles. They took care of the ants this until this year but it has rained constantly so I can't blame them They are cute to have running around.

Incidentally we discovered our ducks control the resident snake population. Evidently this place was known for snakes. No longer.

Thanks again
They are 16 weeks and the roosters range between 4-5 pounds.
So my questions:
1) How long should roosters take till they are ready to dress?
2) What feed is best for them?
3) Does allowing them to free range make tough chickens?
4) Any other input someone may have is greatly appreciated.
How do you want to cook them? I usually do the first bunch at this age when they are suitable for any type of cooking (but they have more flavor!). Next bunch is done 8 mo-1 year, but of course then they're only good for slow cooking.

For feed I use either Blue Seal gamebird crumbles (24% protein) or Purina's flock raiser. I let the younger cockerels range but haven't noticed tough meat as a result. The older cockerels are penned so they don't harass the females to no end.
Wow, that's a fantastic price! :eek:

Where are you located?

TSC is notorious for mislabeling their birds. They have even sold turkey poults as chicks. D'uccles are cuties!

Ducks are little piggies... :love[/QUOTE

I live in south central PA. Reiff's Poultry Dressing is in Mifflinburg, PA. They are state certified and a very clean place. You have to schedule so they do it while you wait. I have a little over an hours drive but it took them 20 minutes to process for 7 ducks so it still was a fraction of the time it would have taken me and I have major back problems so I cannot physically process them myself. So it took me less than 3 hours to get 7 ducklings processed and only cost me $35 plus the ice, $1.50, I forgot to take along. Total $36.50 and 3 hours. For me that is cheap because I needed to rest when I got back but I wasn't laid up for a week or more due to severe back pain.

I found this searchable database by state of poultry processors.

We asked TSC if they had Silkies and they said they didn't think so. But when we said they have feathers on their feet they thought the D'Uccles might be what we were looking for. We ended up with 3 mean roosters harched later that would attack anything and anybody. They were stupid enough to constantly try to chase our puppy, a Staffweiler, but she ignored them because she knew she was not to mess with poultry. Then one day we found a dead rooster and a week later another. One day I heard one screeching and looked out the window and our Staffweiler, barely a year old and very placid, was trying to play with the last mean rooster but she was a little rough! I reprimanded her and spanked her with the dead rooster because I didn't want he "playing" with my other poultry. The 3 dead roosters got what they deserved but I still had the underdog rooster and either he wasn't prone to being nasty or he learned from the others! Our puppy never messed with any of our chickens or ducks. She was an amazing sweet dog but sadly she was hit on the road later in July when she was 1 1/2 years old. It was so hard on our 9 year old Cairn because his "daddy" died of old age at 16 years, the previous August. Sorry got off topic.

Anyway all our D'Uccles are nice though they are not tame because I do not have time. But they are cute and eat ants & bugs so they do the job we wanted the Silkies for. They hatch out a have dozen chicks a year. I have never seen chicks that can bounce and jump like pinballs and run like the wind as my the Mille Fleur D'Uccle chicks do!!

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