SLW as meaties?


8 Years
Aug 17, 2011
West Texas
Hey guys. I bought some chicks from Ideal Poultry. They semt me my chicks and 12 others as packing peanuts. Over in the what breed am I forum, they think the 12 are SLW's. We are trying to figure out when to butcher them. THey are about 6 weeks old now and have been fed Purina Medicated start and grow. Do I need to switch thier feed? And when do you think would be best to serve them up to the freezer?


8 Years
Feb 23, 2011
You should switch them to a non-medicated feed a couple weeks before processing them. Dual purpose breeds (SLW, Orpintions, Sussex, etc) can be processed at 12-18 weeks. Someone else probably knows more than me, but that is what I know


Crazy for Colors
10 Years
Oct 19, 2009
Forks, WA
Honestly I think they'll be terrible as meat birds. Wyandottes from show stock would make great meat birds, after-all Wyandottes are a dual purpose breed, but hatchery based ones are tiny and skinny in comparison.

I've butchered 10 different hens and all of them were okay, edible, but not worth it compared to other choices out there.

Remember, hatcheries breed for pet laying hens. They go for production and profit, meaning the product is mainly just a good egg layer.


8 Years
since they were packing peanuts and im sure are all roosters, you really have nothing to loose on processing them. They are actually a good meat bird as far as taste goes. Of course they would not be worth ordering specifically as a meat bird...but you got them free anyway. You should take them off the medicated feed ASAP. They really dont need it after 3 weeks old and some debate rather they need it at all. Put them on non medicated chick starter or high protein flock raiser crumbles and keep them on it until 16 weeks. Any left over protein or sources of protein you have can go to them as well (raw hamburger, meal worms, alfalfa cubes soaked in water, left over cheap dry dog food soaked in warm water mixed with flock raiser crumbles and cracked corn. give them a little cracked corn scratch the final couple weeks to try and fatten them a bit. They will make great little fryers. Go past 16 weeks and they will get tough quick. Follow standard processing and let them rest in fridge for 72 hours before wrapping and freezing. If you enjoy them.....get some next time and get a book on caponizing them. Be careful though the process and resulting taste can be very addicting

P.S. As far as work goes for the meat...I must disagree. This is how we learn and get faster. I can go from live bird to clean and bagged in under 10 minutes. That is plucking (not skinning). Yes ive done quite a few, but I started with packing peanuts too. You cant put a price on the experience of it. Go for it and have fun in the fact that is "your" chicken in "your" freezer.
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Redneck Tech Girl
9 Years
Apr 18, 2010
I'm one who will process banties if given - two in a pot make a nice stock and some shredded meat.

As for hatchery SLW, you may as well plan to start processing at about 14 weeks to 18 weeks - if you have a lot of males in there, that's when they really hit the annoying stage and it makes it easier to process them. You won't end up with a nice meaty carcass that is home in a store, but I wouldn't completely discount one for dinner.

Take them off the medicated feed, give them regular raiser and let them range as much as possible. As someone said, you can expect a bony, 3lb dressed carcass, but it's better than a kick in the pants when dealing with packing peanuts

ETA: Here's one of the younger roos I've processed, a hatchery SLW. Not big and meaty, but it was enough for dinner, and it was tasty:

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