White Rock Butcher Age

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Stacykins, Jul 4, 2011.

  1. Stacykins

    Stacykins Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 19, 2011
    Escanaba, MI
    So, I've found a lot of conflicting information on when to butcher a heritage breed of chicken being raised soley for meat. I got a group of white rock cockerels, and am trying to figure out when I should butcher them. I went with the white rocks as opposed to the cornish X because I didn't feel like raising mutant bird even if they are more feed efficient and grow faster. They are four weeks old now, and act like chickens rather than piles of immobile feathers.

    Anyway, I've heard that "when they crow they go" as a rule of thumb. Or 12-15 weeks they should be butchered. Or sometimes even later. So that leaves me wondering, when do you think is the best age to do the deed?
  2. buckboy101

    buckboy101 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 26, 2011
    If they are roosters then you butcher them at 8 to 11 weeks of age, if a hen then you can butcher them between 8 and 15 weeks
  3. booker81

    booker81 Redneck Tech Girl

    Apr 18, 2010
    The best answer is "when you feel like it".

    I've done 15 weeks, 17 weeks, 20 weeks, 8 months, 1 year and 2 years on various roosters. They were all tasty, though I crockpotted the oldest (which was yummy).

    DP birds put on frame first and then meat. Go out and grab one of the roos, and feel his breast meat. You'll want to hold off on butchering them until you can feel some good meat around their keel bone. While it's perfectly good to eat them before then, for your purposes, I would hold off on butchering until there is a fair amount of breast meat on them, and unfortunately, that time will vary on the bird based on genes, feed, exercise etc. We can't really say they're "done" unless they are weighed or felt [​IMG]
  4. bwmichaud

    bwmichaud Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 19, 2010
    I picked up some White Rocks back in May. I got some hens and hoped that there would be some that were sexed incorrectly so that I could hatch them out for a sustainable meat/egg flock. I was lucky and got 2 roosters. The largest DP birds I've raised for meat before this were Buff Orpingtons and the White Rocks seem to be much larger. In fact, there is a considerable size difference between the White Rocks and the Barred Rocks that I got at the same time. (The Whites being larger) With the Buff Orpingtons, I'd get a dressed weight of just over 4 lbs at 18-20 weeks. I'm thinking the White Rocks will be closer to 5 lbs at that age. The DP's I've slaughtered before 16 weeks have never seemed to have much in the way of breast meat. It seems to me that DP's develop their legs 1st and then the breast comes a little later. Of course it will never have the breast of a cornish cross but everything in this world is a trade-off.
  5. homesteadapps

    homesteadapps Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 8, 2010
    Butcher at any age you like

    How we handle extra roosters:

    Restrict their activity with tractors or a similar way to restrict running around. (too much running around = tougher meat)

    Even if they are free ranging make sure they have plenty of high protein feed available.

    With White Rocks, we usually try to butcher right around 20 weeks but we have butchered some after 6 months that were still tender enough to enjoy, even the legs.

    If they get too tough they do make excellent ground chicken patties and nuggets or slow bake and shred for chicken sandwiches and stock.

    --The breasts thickness of dual purpose, depending on the breed, is usually 1/4 to 1/2 the thickness of genuine Cornish Cross meat birds
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2011
  6. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Agree. We'd butcher some at 14 weeks, because mom liked her "little friers". Others, at 16-18 weeks, for slightly more "roasting" chicken. Still tender, but that's about the outer limit for that young and tender chicken. A 20 week old will carry more weight, but at some cost of tenderness. WR are still my favorite meat bird.
  7. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

    Aug 13, 2007
    North/Central Florida
    When you get the first eggs from the pullets it's time for the non-breeding stock boys to check out.
  8. Stacykins

    Stacykins Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 19, 2011
    Escanaba, MI
    The boys are nearly eight weeks old now. I am definitely glad I went with white rocks rather than cornish X. They forage actively when allowed to free range and are very clean birds who take care of themselves rather than sit, eat, and poo all day long. I bet I will need to wait until they are nearly 20 weeks old until I butcher, since they'll probably start crowing soon and they don't have much meat on them yet! Every few days I pick up a couple and feel their breasts and legs to check. Right now they are growing fast frame wise, so once they are done with that, they'll start filling in.

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