What is the best age to butcher non-meatie roosters?


10 Years
Apr 9, 2009
Knoxville, TN
I have 2 ameraucana, 2 blrw and possibly a couple of other roosters that I have a feeling I'm going to have a hard time selling... so the only thing I can really do is butcher them. What is the best age to do this? Should I get the separated from the rest of the flock and start feeding them something other than chick start/grower?

Buck Creek Chickens

Have Incubator, Will Hatch
12 Years
Nov 26, 2008
Neenah, WI
I can't give you a time frame,but if you grab the roo and feel the drumstick is it meaty, then spread the feathers on the breast, if the skin is a rose pink or yellow there ready, if the skin is red or purplish the means there's no fat yet and there not ready. time frame really depends on how there fed and what breed. this is how I tell

also pinch the shin on the breast if its thin not ready, thicker ready what your looking for is a thin layer of fat.

I feed grower and free range, I separate the butcher birds from the keepers
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Microbrewing Chickenologist
12 Years
Nov 25, 2007
High Desert, CA
I have heard that dual purpose breeds can be butchered between 16-20 weeks old (12 if you are lucky and have a plump roo....or it crows excessively). I don't hae any experience with this....yet. (Our excess roos are only 11 weeks old).

Sunny Side Up

Count your many blessings...
11 Years
Mar 12, 2008
Loxahatchee, Florida
I like to let mine get nice & meaty, usually 16-22 weeks. But I know other folks do them earlier, 12-14 weeks. I keep mine confined & just feed them chick starter & then layer feed if they get to 18 weeks. I haven't had any problems with them being too tough. After butchering I let them rest in the refrigerator 2-3 days. Often I'll just slowly simmer them on the stovetop until the meat falls off the bones, then I pack & freeze the cooked meat to use in soups, stews & chilis. It goes farther that way. They can also be slowly roasted in the oven at a low heat to tender goodness.

Enjoy your meals from your roos, they're worth the effort!


10 Years
Feb 15, 2009
Boondocks, Colorado
I have threerock roos, one we are keeping. I just weighed them, and they were 3 1/2 lbs at four months! What is up with that? they are mostly free range, bu tI offer them game bird feed every day, and they rarely eat it. Should I pen them up and feed them for the last month or so?

HorseFeatherz NV

Eggink Chickens
10 Years
May 12, 2009
Sierra Foothills of Reno, NV
I butcher my cockerels/roos – they are a mix of Orpington over Orpington, Delaware, EE, BR and Cochin; I even process my bantam cockerels/roos. I let them stay with the main flock until they start showing interest in the hens, then move them to a run/pen by themselves. I feed all my flock – Flock Raiser and that is what the guys get. I usually process when they are 5 to 6 months (20 to 24 weeks) or when they become a pain in my backside for whatever reason. The last two processed, after cleaning their weight was 3 pounds 15.8 ounces for one and 4 pounds 10.8 ounces on the second.

This is a fantastic article for the homegrown bird – age for processing and cooking: www.albc-usa.org/documents/cookingwheritagechicken.pdf

just saw the age of this thread
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