When is 'old enough?'

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by keakels, Jun 10, 2011.

  1. keakels

    keakels New Egg

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    Mar 20, 2011
    We just put our babies in the coop, and they are 5 weeks old. We have RIRs, PBRs, and Mo Super Egg Layers. Out of 25 straight run (24 have survived...), about half are roos, which we plan on butchering. At what age should this be done? Thanks for the help!
     
  2. PatShea

    PatShea Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 8, 2011
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    Good question I also would like to know, we have 6 RIR'S and 4 of them are Roos they are now 4 months old
     
  3. itsy

    itsy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Curious to know if you guys know the weights of those birds you plan on processing?


    ..... oh and WELCOME to the forum, Kea [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2011
  4. keakels

    keakels New Egg

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    Thanks, itsy! I've been lurking a lot, and have learned so much from everyone here. I don't know how big they are, not a pound. They're not full-grown. I've heard anywhere from 4-10 weeks! That hardly seems old enough, but I have no idea. Thanks in advance for any help!!
     
  5. homemakerjulie

    homemakerjulie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Hi and welcome! I lurk a lot, and also have learned so much here, lots of info shared here! As for your question, I don't know for sure on, but I do think that '4 to 10' weeks you heard is most likely for purely meat birds, specifically, the Cornish Cross. I haven't read around much about other birds, as we will be eating most of our roosters too (not the ones we are hoping to start breeding, but some BR's, EE's and RIR's), I do seem to think that they have to be closer to 6 months old, it might be five. Or I could be totally off! I was coming on here to look for an answer to this same question!
     
  6. itsy

    itsy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm not as well versed as most in this section.... but here's a quote from this article that's in the sticky on the top of this forum. The quote is pulled from the first section about Dual Purpose birds and their "pros." I'm sure more people will chime in with their advice [​IMG]

    Meat is extremely flavorful if processed before 24 weeks. The meat seems to take on an extra "toughness" after this 6 month time frame and quick cooking methods could make the experience even worse. For tender meat that comes with any cooking method, process before 24 weeks. Not only are the males good for meat but the females make amazing soup chickens. I'm amazed at the amount of meat that an old layer from a dual purpose breed will give you. Dual purpose is a win / win for meat. Both females and males will suffice for the table. Females will usually dress 4-5 pounds at 3-5 years. Males will be 3.5 - 5 pounds in 24 weeks.​
     
  7. saddina

    saddina Internally Deranged

    May 2, 2009
    Desert, CA
    Well, that depends on when you feel they're big enough to be worth it. If you find some is a bit toothy (it's not so much tough as firm, american store bought chicken is rather mushy), use it in a dish that has slow moist cooking, think pot pies, tamales and enchladas.
     
  8. la-pro

    la-pro Out Of The Brooder

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    May 17, 2011
    I'd do it young, especially if you haven't processed before. Seems like a smaller bird would be easier to butcher and the meat will be more tender. Although... I've never butchered before so I'm no expert.
     
  9. booker81

    booker81 Redneck Tech Girl

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    You can honestly do any age, and the results will vary.

    Under 16 weeks or so, you're looking at a bird with more frame and less meat. However, they aren't acting like boys as much and aren't obnoxious.

    16-20 you're starting to get the meat in, but you're also starting to get the annoying rooster behavior. I butchered my SLW and RIR in this range, carcass weights were about 3-4lbs. Frying and roasting is still ok to do for a yummy dinner.

    Over 20 weeks, to about a year or two, you're slowly adding meat, but you get to deal with the rooster behavior. It's not as much a good idea to dry cook, but the extra time and exercise gives a LOT more flavor to the meat, and makes stupendous broth. I try to stretch these guys as much as possible - slow roast at low heat with moisture for tender meat, and then simmering the carcass for a long time for a lot of broth. Sometimes I just simmer the whole bird and make a huge batch of chicken and dumplings, because it's just so darn good [​IMG]
     

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