when to process a dual purpose bird?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by serinat, Jun 12, 2009.

  1. serinat

    serinat Songster

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    Jan 12, 2009
    Michigan
    i have 26 buff orpingtons, 12 of whom are destined for the freezer before fall. (we actually have 13 males, but we're keeping one to keep the ladies company and have babies next year.) they are 10 weeks old right now.

    how many weeks old before i should think about butchering them? i know i need to wait longer than if i had a meat specific breed, but beyond that, i don't know. i'd like to have them in the freezer by early august, which will make them 18 - 20 weeks old. but i don't want to wait too long, either.

    advice?
     
  2. ewesfullchicks

    ewesfullchicks In the Brooder

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    Sep 27, 2007
    It's important to process them before sexual maturity - you can tell by the spurs on their legs.

    They just get tough and rangy and dark meated the older they are. I'd say, process them by 16 weeks.

    If older - just turn them into stew meat or coq au vin - they'd be great like that.

    Rachel
    Bellecreek Farm
     
  3. serinat

    serinat Songster

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    Jan 12, 2009
    Michigan
    bumping for more thoughts. my buff orpingtons are 14 weeks old now, and the boys are starting to boss the girls around and generally make trouble. and they eat too much. so they're looking awfully tasty...

    has anyone processed dual purpose breeds? how much will a buff orpington cockerel weight if butchered at 14-16 weeks? if i'll get a ton more meat by waiting to 18-20 weeks, i'll wait. just have to weigh the cost (literally, of how much feed they'll eat).
     
  4. millerwb

    millerwb In the Brooder

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    May 9, 2009
    Bryan, TX
    Process a few now and see how big they are dressed. Then make a decision about the rest. I did 10 early because I wanted "cornish hens" They were each about 7-8 weeks and weighed about a pound dressed. they were the best that I have ever eaten.
     
  5. We go by feel more than time. Feel the legs and breast that will tell you when they are ready. Until you get a "feel" for what's under the feathers you can do as the others said, process one and see what you have. If you just do one you don't have to get out the scalder etc - just skin it and cut it up. I have it down to less than a minute per bird - slit the skin right down the keel to almost the vent, peel it back from the breast, down over the legs and thighs, take out the leg 1/4's, fillet the breast meat off, take the lower wings for bullafo wings.

    Steve in NC
     

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