Slow growers

KikiDeAnime

Spooky
Dec 29, 2017
3,229
5,961
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Battle Ground, WA
Getting 4-5 slow growing breeds next week to put underneath one of our broody hens. I won't be revealing what breed/breeds I'm getting until butcher week.
I'm just looking for tips for fattening slow growing breeds. That's all.
Anything that isn't what I'm looking for, will be ignored.
.
Edit: Our new large chest freezer is packed with meat to last us up to close to a year so these new birds won't be getting butchered for a bit.
 
Last edited:

Torinik

Songster
Mar 5, 2020
57
127
107
Make sure they have enough protein in their feed, I would say as the main tip. Over 20% and below 25% to utilize their potential to the max. And enough calories, of course, but beware slow growers have a tendency to gather a lot of visceral fat. You will see this on butcher day when you eviscerate and you will know then whether you fed them too much. Some people can feel it on the behind (above the end of the keel bone) of the chicken. I've never been able to accurately do that, it may be different for you, especially if you have someone who can show you how.

Limiting space for them to run about is another one I can think of, but again, beware of fat skinny birds with little meat and lots of fat.

Then again, there's people that like chicken fat for all sorts of dishes.
I've scooped out a big handful of fat from my slow growers before eviscerating. For me that was a sign I was overfeeding. Someone else might actually want a chicken with a tasty chunk of fat. Pick your choice.

Good luck.
 

KikiDeAnime

Spooky
Dec 29, 2017
3,229
5,961
437
Battle Ground, WA
Make sure they have enough protein in their feed, I would say as the main tip. Over 20% and below 25% to utilize their potential to the max. And enough calories, of course, but beware slow growers have a tendency to gather a lot of visceral fat. You will see this on butcher day when you eviscerate and you will know then whether you fed them too much. Some people can feel it on the behind (above the end of the keel bone) of the chicken. I've never been able to accurately do that, it may be different for you, especially if you have someone who can show you how.

Limiting space for them to run about is another one I can think of, but again, beware of fat skinny birds with little meat and lots of fat.

Then again, there's people that like chicken fat for all sorts of dishes.
I've scooped out a big handful of fat from my slow growers before eviscerating. For me that was a sign I was overfeeding. Someone else might actually want a chicken with a tasty chunk of fat. Pick your choice.

Good luck.
For the first 2 months, they will be free ranged with our guard dog but then I will be keeping them locked up in their yard.
And I've butchered before.

If I keep them alive longer, what's a good age for butchering?
 

iwltfum

Crowing
Sep 10, 2018
770
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Maine
If I keep them alive longer, what's a good age for butchering?
Any age you want to butcher them at. If you want a certain weight out of them, then weigh one and subtract 30% of the weight. That will give you the rough dressed weight. As they get older beyond 4-6months or so they will start getting more chewy stringy and will require longer and lower heat cooking methods
 

KikiDeAnime

Spooky
Dec 29, 2017
3,229
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Battle Ground, WA
Any age you want to butcher them at. If you want a certain weight out of them, then weigh one and subtract 30% of the weight. That will give you the rough dressed weight. As they get older beyond 4-6months or so they will start getting more chewy stringy and will require longer and lower heat cooking methods
Sorry, should have worded it better. I don't want chewy stringy.
So 4 months old would be a good age? At least for females?
Males will be getting butchered sooner.
 

Molpet

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
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Best results older birds cooked differently
Screenshot_20201124-175957.png
 

Torinik

Songster
Mar 5, 2020
57
127
107
If I keep them alive longer, what's a good age for butchering?

Also, you will notice a sort of cut off point with each of the breeds or even strains. The older they get, the more you're feeding them and your relative yield goes way down as time passes. At some point it's not worth it anymore to pour more feed in a chicken, unless you have other reasons to do so besides putting them on the table. And then, of course, the older they get, the tougher to chew they will be and you will have to cook them appropriately.

For instance, when I started my little white broiler/brown layer hybrid experiment, I decided a 2kg (4.5 pounds) yield at 20 weeks would be ok. The bigger ones easily yielded that, the smaller ones was another story. I butchered some that only yielded around 600 grams (less than 1.5 pounds) at 20 weeks. Keep feeding them beyond 20 weeks is a waste to me. For the money I spend on feed beyond that to get them to gain a few grams I might as well get some caviar and eat that instead of chicken.
This year I had a surprise, though. I got fast growers that also put on meat very easily and the surplus of those that I decided not to use for breeding got butchered at 12 weeks. My family was very happy and thankful for the tender meat and said the next batches should be like this one.
I like my chicken meat with a bit more taste, a little redder and with a bit of a bite, so if this surprise repeats itself I will have to do with the roosters I used for breeding and the spent layers when the time is there. Or I can choose to let some slower growers run a little longer, without spending a fortune on feed, to satisfy my taste buds as well as my family's.

I don't think this is the case for you (your freezer is full you said in your opening post) but if the point is to put relatively healthy meat on the table economically, nothing beats buying CX chicks and raising them to the 6, 8 or even 10 weeks when they're ready to be processed. I've done so myself for years. The main reason for my custom broiler experiment is that at times, and for a variety of reasons, it's very hard to get your hands on CX chicks over here. The reason I used a brown laying hybrid is because the broiler pullet dropped dead at 4 months before she lay a single egg and we were again in a situation where the sale and transport of poultry was prohibited. In short, if it's still easy enough where you are and the economy of healthy chicken on the table is what you have in mind, get CX chicks.
 

KikiDeAnime

Spooky
Dec 29, 2017
3,229
5,961
437
Battle Ground, WA
Also, you will notice a sort of cut off point with each of the breeds or even strains. The older they get, the more you're feeding them and your relative yield goes way down as time passes. At some point it's not worth it anymore to pour more feed in a chicken, unless you have other reasons to do so besides putting them on the table. And then, of course, the older they get, the tougher to chew they will be and you will have to cook them appropriately.

For instance, when I started my little white broiler/brown layer hybrid experiment, I decided a 2kg (4.5 pounds) yield at 20 weeks would be ok. The bigger ones easily yielded that, the smaller ones was another story. I butchered some that only yielded around 600 grams (less than 1.5 pounds) at 20 weeks. Keep feeding them beyond 20 weeks is a waste to me. For the money I spend on feed beyond that to get them to gain a few grams I might as well get some caviar and eat that instead of chicken.
This year I had a surprise, though. I got fast growers that also put on meat very easily and the surplus of those that I decided not to use for breeding got butchered at 12 weeks. My family was very happy and thankful for the tender meat and said the next batches should be like this one.
I like my chicken meat with a bit more taste, a little redder and with a bit of a bite, so if this surprise repeats itself I will have to do with the roosters I used for breeding and the spent layers when the time is there. Or I can choose to let some slower growers run a little longer, without spending a fortune on feed, to satisfy my taste buds as well as my family's.

I don't think this is the case for you (your freezer is full you said in your opening post) but if the point is to put relatively healthy meat on the table economically, nothing beats buying CX chicks and raising them to the 6, 8 or even 10 weeks when they're ready to be processed. I've done so myself for years. The main reason for my custom broiler experiment is that at times, and for a variety of reasons, it's very hard to get your hands on CX chicks over here. The reason I used a brown laying hybrid is because the broiler pullet dropped dead at 4 months before she lay a single egg and we were again in a situation where the sale and transport of poultry was prohibited. In short, if it's still easy enough where you are and the economy of healthy chicken on the table is what you have in mind, get CX chicks.
We're never ever doing CX again. Hated it.
I'll stick with slow growing breeds.
 

Torinik

Songster
Mar 5, 2020
57
127
107
Cool. If you can grow some or all of their food and have them forage, you can put cheap, healthy and tasty meat on the table. Good luck.
 

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