When to butcher my chickens?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by connor97, Nov 27, 2012.

  1. connor97

    connor97 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Whats a good age to butcher my chicks (they are just barnyard mutts, not broilers or x cornish) ?
    Also, those of you who hatch out mutt or dual purpose chicks, do you usually keep the pullets? Or do you butcher them? Why or why don't you keep your pullets?
    Thanks !
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I never butcher my barnyard mixes before 16 weeks. They just don't have enough meat on them for me before that. I just feed them regular, no special feeds to speed the process up. I prefer to butcher after 18 weeks as they are an even better size. Somewhere around 20 weeks they really slow down growing.

    I raise replacement pullets for my laying/breeding flock. I eat the older hens being replaced and any extra pullets. I just keep enough pullets to keep my laying flock numbers up.

    I raise chickens mostly for meat. The eggs are just a side benefit. My main laying flock is only 7 or 8 hens and I hatch maybe 35 to 40 chicks a year. Half of those are pullets which is a lot more than I need so they are eaten.
     
  3. connor97

    connor97 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thank you for your answer, is the meat still tender at 16 weeks or is it on the tough side?
     
  4. wyoDreamer

    wyoDreamer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Be prepared for your mutts to be somewhat "toothier" than what you are used to with the CornishX from the store. They will have lived twice as long and used their muscles twice as much. They will will definately have texture to the meat, but are not neccessarily tough, but that kinda depends on your definition of tough.
    A friend had me over for a Roast Chicken dinner once. A friend Owed him money so he gave him a couple of backyard roos that were starting to crow as payment. He know that I was a hunter and fisherman, so it was an ambush - come for supper, oh yeah, show me how to kill it and prepare it since you are here.
    We froze all the rest of them, but I took one home and stuck it in the fridge until the next weekend. Threw it in the crockpot on low Friday morning, then after school took it out to his place and we ate it. It turned out really moist, but not quite cut it with a fork tender. He said it was tough, but I thought it was great, you just needed to actually chew it before you swallowed.
     
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  5. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

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    I usually wait until 20 weeks or more for my dual-purpose roos, otherwise they just have not filled out much muscle. Separating them and feeding them a grower ration for the last several weeks helps bulk them up some, and keeps them from overexercising. Be sure to look at some threads in the meat birds section of the forum regarding resting the carcass, that is important in getting the most tender meat.
     
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  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Yeah it depends in what you call tough. I have an 18 week old rooster cooling off in the crock pot that I cooked overnight. It will have more flavor than the chicen you buy from the store and it will have more texture, but I don't consider it tough at all. I put a few peppercorns, bay leaf, onion, carrot, celery, oregano, and basil in this one. Sometimes I might add parsley, chives, garlic or maybe something else. It just depends on what I have and feel like.

    I've cooked very old roosters that are not tough but they do have texture and really good flavor. But they are definitely in the crock pot for a long time.

    You cannot fry or grill a 16 week old bird, at least I don't. You can bake, roast, stew, or braise them, just use moist methods and cook them slowly at low temperatures. If your method includes water, don't bring it to a full rolling boil. A slow simmer works really well.
     
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