when to thin out the roosters

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by rtide, Aug 11, 2014.

  1. rtide

    rtide Hatching

    Apr 22, 2014
    started first flock with 14 chicks around Easter, all supposed to be pullets. have 4 crowing and growing spurs with big combs and wattles so they must have been breaking in a new "sexxer" at the hatchery? anyway, they all have some size on them now and am wondering how much time i have to pair down the 4 roosters to 1 as i am inclined to keep one with the hens. I am out in the country with plenty of predators. my pen is16x36 ft, 6ft tall welded wire with 2"x4" mesh. there is a strong roof covering the pen so no hawks/owls so far.
    do you think that the excess roosters might make it free ranging? (also have two labs). or should i just consign them to the freezer?... The excess roosters, not the labs :)
    thanks in advance
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2014
  2. RJSorensen

    RJSorensen Chicken George

    You don't note your breed type, but I suppose as long as they were raised together, you can keep them all if you wish. They have among themselves sorted out the alpha rooster so that should not be an issue. If you are going to kick them out of the hen house, to make it on their own, style free ranging… I would just sent them to freezer camp, might be best for all involved.

    Best to you and your birds,

  3. rtide

    rtide Hatching

    Apr 22, 2014
    thanks for the reply CG. the roosters are crosses between RI Red and Plymouth Rock and a good bit bigger than the 6 Amberlinks from TS. there are also a red hen and a striking black hen with irridescent feathers and grey legs along with the one RI Red/PlyRock hen. if multiple roosters do not pose a problem for the hens i don't have anything against keeping all or some. I would like to free range one and see if I can duplicate that fried chicken my grandma used to make. what is the maximum age a rooster could be butchered without being too tough to eat? Thanks again
  4. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Crowing

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    If you plan to fry you should butcher them now. 12 weeks old is usually the time for butchering things that you'd grill. I did 14 week olds for the grill last year and thought they were fine. A dual purpose will always be firmer than the young meat birds so it's hard to say how people will take to the meat texture and call it tough.

    The cooking methods of old were by age of bird not the size; broiler, fryer and roaster. General rule is older than a year and your making soup but I've roasted just over year old roosters at low heat after soaking in a brine for days and thought they were delicious. If you make a soup from old birds remember not to let the meat boil, low and slow is the key or it is tough. I keep the pot releasing steam yet just under a simmer.

    If you use "cooking heritage chicken" in your search you'll find recipes for dual purpose birds not the modern double breasted young meat birds that we are so used to today. The meat is simply more flavorful and less juicey than with 10 week old meat birds.


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