which ones do I process first & when?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by garp94, Oct 1, 2013.

  1. garp94

    garp94 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    sorry this will be long.
    My first cornish crosses. I don't need the best feed: meat ratio. I would rather let them get bigger and get more meat out of each bird bec for me the hardest part is the processing. [ I have done some in the past, and am getting better, but it's still something i have to work myself up to do]. I plan on processing them on separate days [for freezer space reasons and wanting to see how big they can get]. I had initially planned for those days to be this week and then some time early Nov.

    16 straight run CX. Looking at the feathers the day they arrived, I thought i had 8 each boys/ girls. After a few days it looked like 7 boys 9 girls.
    I caponized 6 of them at 3 weeks old. I didn't withhold water at all before the surgery, but did withhold food about 18 hours prior. Intentionally left 1 large boy for comparison. I have read that it's not worth caponizing cornish crosses as the testosterone doesn't cause any disadvantages since they are processed so young, but knowing i'm going to let them get older than 6-8 weeks I figured i'd do 6 and see how they fared. So far, what i read holds true as the one i left intact is at least pound heavier than the next biggest bird. There are two obvious roosters: large red comb and wattles. I don' t know if the second "rooster " is a slip or if I had 8 boys. I'll find out when he gets processed. Some others are starting to get larger combs, but they are still pale, so I guess most of the surgeries were a success.

    Had 2 broody egglayers raise them, so they grew up with and are now housed with my 9 egglayers. They get fed [fermented feed] as much as they can eat twice daily, 3 times on weekends, and root around in their pen for the rest of the day. [ well,they can,but they spend most of the day resting]

    they are now 9 weeks old. the big boy is just over 8 lbs [ 8lb 2 ounces] 3 of the average ones are just over 7 lbs, a few are definitely smaller. [They were hard to weigh on my small kitchen scale. I should borrow a real scale from my neighbor].
    I've already decided the big guy gets to live until the last ones are processed or he starts causing problems. I do want to see how big he'll get. They are all getting along and the increased time cleaning isn't overwhelming, so i can give them all more time to grow bigger and develop flavor.

    I was expecting to process the smaller birds first, with the reasoning that they will be the girls and they won't ever get as big as the boys. But all their legs still seem so big? about what weight do they top out?? or at what age does their growth slow down???
    Looking at them now I am considering waiting until the end of the month before doing any.
    Also, do runts ever catch up? that other obvious male is one of the smaller ones. If i go by current size alone he's going with the first group, but is that a waste of potential?

    I guess i should weigh everybody before the morning feeding one day each week and see how much progress they make to help decide.

    Any opinions on who goes to freezer camp and when???
     
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    For cornish x, I tend to butcher them all at 8-10 weeks because for me, setting up the butchering areas and cleaning after is the most work. That said, if I were to do it in bunches, I'd do the ones with the weakest legs first. They just get tougher as they get older.
     
  3. garp94

    garp94 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 2, 2009
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    thank-you
     
  4. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'd be in agreement there. If your goal is to raise them for a longer period of time, the first ones I'd chose to buther were any that seemed to be having a hard time getting around. I seem to have at least one in every group with leg problems and perhaps another that just doesn't seem to be thriving. I'd take them first. I've never caponized any of my meat birds, so I usually grab a few of the roosters first because the start getting aggressive with each other and with me when I come in with feed. Good luck and be ready to grab any that seem to be struggling with heart or leg problems and process them quickly so that your experiment in keeping them longer doesn't backfire.
     
  5. garp94

    garp94 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the advice. so far they're all running around [ really waddling around] without issue. But i will watch more and more as time goes.
    They get to run around the entire backyard the last hour or two each day [ and during the day their pen is pretty big}, so i will hope the exercise keeps them healthy until i'm ready.
     
  6. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    Cleaning is by far the worst part of the processing.

    I do two times though when I have big batches. Boys at 9 weeks, girls at 12 weeks.
     
  7. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    I have two girls I kept that have to be 10 pounds or more (more is my guess) they are almost 15 weeks. They are getting around no problem and free range with restricted grain. I plan to keep them to laying age - hatch a few eggs from them and just SEE how their offspring grow. I know they don't breed true. I will cross them with my Barred Plymouth Rocks. Maybe I'll get a slower growing bird, but with good breast size.. Here's to experimenting...

    [​IMG]
    All the girls at 12 weeks. Just before processing. There were a couple of boys as well that weren't big enough for the first processing.
     
  8. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What a sweet an gentle boy your Bernese Mountain Dog is! All sniffs and gentle wags of the tail!
     
  9. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    He's just a pup too. I really lucked out with him. He is 8 months, going on 9 in a week. :)
     

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