When is time to butcher?

Fabiola

Chirping
7 Years
Jun 28, 2012
121
0
81
Bernalillo, NM.
I have too many chickens and need to butcher a few to avoid overcrowding in the coop, my question is, is there a specific age or weight that works better? How do I select which ones have to go? Any help would be appreciated...
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,928
22,264
907
Southeast Louisiana
There is no set age or weight that is best. You can eat any chicken, you just have ot be careful how you cook them. Older ones need to be cooked longer, slower, and with more moisture. There are a bunch of people on here that can help you with how to cook them if we know the age. Size really is not important, age is.

Part of it depends on what breeds you have. I raise mixed breed dual purpose chickens and like to wait until at least 16 weeks before I process the roosters and even longer for the pullets. I just find I don't get much meat earlier, though some people might process dual purpose at 12 weeks.

As to which ones to butcher, that has to be your decision. Which ones do you want to keep and why? Personally I process the roosters first until I get down to how many roosters I want to keep, them start to look at the hens or pullets.

If you are raising them for eggs, you might want to eat older hens that have past their best egg laying years. Maybe you have too many pullets. Do you know which ones lay the best? if you plan on breeding them, which ones look and and act the way you want the offspring to look and act? You can have so many different reasons for keeping chickens I can't even guess.
 

Fabiola

Chirping
7 Years
Jun 28, 2012
121
0
81
Bernalillo, NM.
There is no set age or weight that is best. You can eat any chicken, you just have ot be careful how you cook them. Older ones need to be cooked longer, slower, and with more moisture. There are a bunch of people on here that can help you with how to cook them if we know the age. Size really is not important, age is.
Part of it depends on what breeds you have. I raise mixed breed dual purpose chickens and like to wait until at least 16 weeks before I process the roosters and even longer for the pullets. I just find I don't get much meat earlier, though some people might process dual purpose at 12 weeks.
As to which ones to butcher, that has to be your decision. Which ones do you want to keep and why? Personally I process the roosters first until I get down to how many roosters I want to keep, them start to look at the hens or pullets.
If you are raising them for eggs, you might want to eat older hens that have past their best egg laying years. Maybe you have too many pullets. Do you know which ones lay the best? if you plan on breeding them, which ones look and and act the way you want the offspring to look and act? You can have so many different reasons for keeping chickens I can't even guess.
Thanks a lot, you answered all my questions...
 

wsmith

Songster
8 Years
Apr 9, 2011
2,738
183
218
South of Colorado Springs CO
I have hens that are production red, easter eggers, barred rocks, and turkens, I also have several breeds of roosters and about 20 chickens, they all go from 6 weeks to 6 months old.
We process our Dominique roosters at 22-26 weeks old, so they are a little larger with more meat. For convinience sake, we do our EE roosters at the same time. We have found that after about 23 weeks, their growth rate slows way down, so at that point they are just eating and in turn, are costing us money.
 

Fabiola

Chirping
7 Years
Jun 28, 2012
121
0
81
Bernalillo, NM.
We process our Dominique roosters at 22-26 weeks old, so they are a little larger with more meat. For convinience sake, we do our EE roosters at the same time. We have found that after about 23 weeks, their growth rate slows way down, so at that point they are just eating and in turn, are costing us money.
Great advise, thanks a lot...
 

kizanne

Songster
8 Years
Mar 28, 2011
1,174
61
161
Tallahassee, FL
My house has multiple rules for butchering.


Roo goes if he crows a bunch. If he isn't on the keep list he goes at first crow. The ones on the keep list have to learn to crow after 6 am and not past 8 pm. They break that rule too often and they go. If there are more than 5 crows in a 1/2 hour they go. I live in a neighborhood and don't want my boys to ruin it for my girls.

Roo tries to spur me or my daughter he goes.

When the young roos start chasing the girls most of them go to save the girls since I don't have a batchelor pad.

If any of them get serious enough to injure each other they go.

If they are just too rough on the girls they go. I had a pair of beautiful Lemon Cukoo Orphingtons that were hard on the girls with alot of feather pulling during mount. My girls were beginning to look like turkens.

I do go through some roos but this is the meat forum
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I have two right now. One is doing fine the other absolutely great Black Orphington is constantly walking the line for crowing. Just when he breaks the rules then the next day he is really nice. He is also well behaved toward me and my daughter.
 
Last edited:

kingsfarm

Songster
8 Years
Feb 25, 2011
281
10
111
Hi, Kingsfarm here, 22-26 weeks good age to butcher...any age, the older the slower you should cook them...stew, gumbo, slow cooker etc.
 

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