When to butcher a RIR?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by kamiren, May 2, 2016.

  1. kamiren

    kamiren New Egg

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    May 1, 2016
    We are young and dumb to the chicken world. Despite our most sincere efforts we are going to make mistakes of course. We call our three mistakes Super Chicken, Rosie, and Diana... our "frying pan specials". Who knew that wasn't just a cute name for a chicken sale?! Well regardless here we are fairly certain that our big raging red comb and waddlers at only 7 weeks old cockerels (the others that are for certain pullets have yet to produce flexible wobbles though the same age). Due to location we have decided we will be butchering these RIR Roosters, but have read a variety of recommendations on age for tender meat. We want to get the best quality as oppose to quantity, though that is a factor. If we "wait till they crow" (approx 4-6 months from previous posters) will I have just as good of a quality and more of it than if we butcher at 14 weeks or does the quality depreciate with age? I know Reds aren't meat chickens and we didn't get them for that purpose, but know that we are here what are your recommendations toward butchering?
     
  2. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    Gamey flavor typically develops starting at 12 weeks of age. They'll start getting tough around that same time but won't get really bad until 8+ months. You could slaughter them at 12-14 weeks, but you would be getting precious little meat. You could slaughter them closer to 4-6 months of age, and you'll get more meat but it will be gamier and tougher (though this can be offset with proper cooking methods).
     
  3. kamiren

    kamiren New Egg

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    May 1, 2016
    Thanks! Recommendations on cooking methods?
     
  4. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    This not going to be like chicken you buy to cook. I would keep them to about the 4month, 16 week stage, but I would plan to boil them or slow cook them. If you have a canner and experience, jars of chicken are handy to have. These birds will make very good soup, excellent broth, but they are not going to be like store bought chicken.

    I have dual purpose birds, and I do them at about 4 months old. Often times I put a whole bird, in the crock pot for several hours, and that is pretty good. I also found, that I don't let them free range as much as I do my layers, keeps them from getting quite so tough. However RIR, are not a dual purpose breed, so I think you best bet would be soup.

    Mrs K
     
  5. kamiren

    kamiren New Egg

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    Great idea! I forgot all about making broth and stock from the bone and have been a little overwhelmed with the little quantity of meat they will be yielding. Also this will help make our first butchering experience a "little" easier lol
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I butcher my extra cockerels at 13-15 weeks...still tender enough, IMO, to grill them...then use the grilled bones for stock.

    Remember tho, rest the cleaned carcasses in the fridge for at least 48-72 hours before freezing or cooking to allow rigor mortis to pass....or they'll be darn near inedible.
     
  7. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    AART - do you have dual purpose birds or just egg layers?

    *** the note about letting them rest, is very important.
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Just a bunch of mutts/mixes/crosses...whatever you want to call them...tho my Wellie cock gives some of them some decent size.
     
  9. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    not to steal the post - but my bielefelder rooster, really put a bit of weight on mine too.
     
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