What age is a good age to send to freezer camp?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by R.M. Hens, Aug 30, 2011.

  1. R.M. Hens

    R.M. Hens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 4 maybe 5 RIR roosters that are going to be sent to freezer camp. What age and/or size should they be when they are ready for their "trip"? My whole flock is on flock raiser, should I remove the roosters and feed them something else before culling?

    Thanks [​IMG]
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    Flock Raiser is fine. It should be about 20% which should keep them growing well.

    The processing age is where you can have a lot of differing opinions. Some people on here won't eat a dual purpose rooster past the age of 15 weeks, or so they have posted. I generally won't eat one before that age, but I free range mine so they won't grow quite as fast as young roosters penned up and fed a higher protein feed. I think that may be one reason you usually get conflicting opinions on this forum. We all do things differently.

    I don't fry mine or cook them real fast on a hot grill. I tend to braise, roast, or stew mine. What age you butcher them has a lot to do with how you can cook them.

    Basically, I prefer about 18 weeks for mine. They have reached a good size and do require some slow moist cooking method but they are big enough to have prettyy good meat and they have not yet developed that connective tissue that can make them a little hard to process. The older birds also make better stock.

    One issue you might have and that may drive you to process them earlier. Roosters can become sexually active in their early to mid teens. Their hormones start running wild and they can become a real problem in a flock with females. Since I free range and my older rooster maintains some order in the flock, it is not that big of an issue for me, but for some people it can be a huge issue.

    Good luck!
     
  3. kfacres

    kfacres Chillin' With My Peeps

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    For me, I like to process about the same time as everyone else who's commented. My personal best indicator, is right after/ during when their colorful and tail feathers are coming in.

    It's a catch 22 though, the longer you wait, the more muscle they have... but the quicker you kill - the more tender they are, and the less they eat..

    I have a roo, that's about 17 weeks old, his tail feathers have been swooping for about 3 weeks now, I have three more younger birds, by about a month.. that are just getting their colors in... I have them prior out on the range with the laying hens, but caught them last night to put onto feed for 2 weeks- until the day comes... I feel cornfed chicken is much better, quite the same as cornfed steak.

    My 17 week old I caught crowing this morning for the first time... It's my thought that when they are crowing, they are maturing, and when that's happening, they're getting tough...

    I'm way in on my logic of the tail feathers ordeal...
     
  4. 4-H chicken mom

    4-H chicken mom Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote:My thoughts as well. Good luck. [​IMG]
     
  5. cravenchx

    cravenchx Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, this isn't exactly a reply, but
    more of a question. Do ya'll "process"
    yourself, or have someone else do the
    "job"? I used to help my uncle with hogs,
    not sure I can do my chickens.
     
  6. Tracydr

    Tracydr Chillin' With My Peeps

    My OEGBs started crowing at 5 weeks of age. Surely that doesn't mean they were already getting tough? They act like fully mature roosters now at 12 weeks old.
    Not that I'm going to eat the little squirts!
     
  7. LilyD

    LilyD Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I agree my 6 week brahmas are already acting like little men and I have had an EE start crowing at that age. I think I am going to go more by weight than I am by age. When they are heavy enough they will be ready to go.
     
  8. R.M. Hens

    R.M. Hens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 27, 2011
    Pearl River, LA
    Thanks for the comments ya'll. Looks like a Labor Day camping trip for these boys.
     

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