Culling Roosters - Homesteading Today
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  #1  
Old 06/04/12, 05:39 PM
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Conway SC
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Culling Roosters

I have 20 RIR chicks that are about 1/2 grown in size. Looks like about 7 roosters the best I can tell at this time. Do any of you slaughter them that young? If not is it best to put the roosters in cages to restrict the amount they move and Feed them heavy until they reach a certain weight? What would be a ideal weight at slaughter for a RIR rooster? What do all of you do with your young roosters? Thanks

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  #2  
Old 06/04/12, 05:54 PM
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Michigan
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I will free range them until about 4-5 months old depending on the breed. I like to confine the last month to fill them out. I feed grower and then reduce the protein level at about three months. I've been very happy with the results, though I don't have many that are grown out this way. They usually sell first, or are older as I was considering them as replacement for breeding pens. I do have a group of 10 confined right now ready to be processed, but they are all older guys.

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Old 06/04/12, 07:14 PM
 
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I have buff orps and let them get the size of laying hens. I feed the same as the hens, whole oats and extra milk products. I like them to get a lot of exercise, taste better. I don't like mushy fat chicken....James

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  #4  
Old 06/05/12, 12:10 AM
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Location: Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CANADA
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When my chicks are about 6 weeks old and I am able to sex them, I take the little roosters and kill them and toss them in the manure pile. I have raised them for meat a few times each time I am left with tiny carcass, and the pathetic amount of meat I do get off them is so tough it is not worth eating. The cost of feed is not cheap and the amount needed to get them to butcher size is just not worth it in my opinion.

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Old 06/05/12, 01:05 AM
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Location: Washington
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Ours get fed well with free range, and I try to cull about the time they start to crow which, depending on the breed, is about 6 - 8 months, though if life is not permitting, they may make it to 11 months. Just cook em slower.

Excess pullets get culled somewhere around this age too, and yet they always weigh more than the cockerels, but are just full of fat. I'm guessing it's the soy and corn in the feed, but lately, I won't even consider eating the liver out of our pullets. The livers from our ducks and cockerels are healthy and just fine. As for the weight differential, M vs. F, I'm guessing that free range males lose interest in feed and take up 'other hobbies', which explains the diff.

...So - if your trying to raise your extras up for a little extra meat - I'd go with Z-creeks plan - separate them from the females, and plump them up the last month or so. Relax your expectations a little too, and you might be pleasantly surprised. RIR's should do okay. My brother raised them when I was a kid, long, LONG before the Freedom Rangers, and Red Broilers, et al.

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Last edited by LFRJ; 06/05/12 at 01:08 AM.
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  #6  
Old 06/05/12, 08:00 AM
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: TN
Posts: 3,318
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oakshire_Farm View Post
When my chicks are about 6 weeks old and I am able to sex them, I take the little roosters and kill them and toss them in the manure pile. I have raised them for meat a few times each time I am left with tiny carcass, and the pathetic amount of meat I do get off them is so tough it is not worth eating. The cost of feed is not cheap and the amount needed to get them to butcher size is just not worth it in my opinion.
That is the fault of the hatcheries. They've absolutely ruined all the old time dual purpose breeds by breeding them towards high egg production and feed efficiency at the cost of body size. They've made them into worthless scrawny things imo. You can still get the large bodied old fashioned type from show breeders sometimes. I think we should all boycott the hatcheries and build up flocks of the old fashioned birds that are actually still dual purpose and useful for homesteading.

ETA that's one of the reasons I like the Marans so much... the hatcheries haven't had them long enough to totally ruin them yet. I'm sure they're working on it though.
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  #7  
Old 06/05/12, 09:51 AM
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Location: Oxford, Ark
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Cliff, the hatcheries only give people what they want. I had a show breeder try to talk me into some of his Barred Rocks. The roosters did get to a VERY respectable size - in a year and a half. And it took the hens "oh, about 8 to 10 months" to lay their first egg. I can't afford to feed them for that long with nothing coming back.
I ordered from a hatchery, which had what I wanted, handsome barred birds who laid eggs 3 months sooner then the earliest I could expect out of the more "correct" birds. And, the cockerals at 3 months were slightly meatier then the show line, who were taller, but all their growth was bone and frame.
Again, there was NO doubt that the show line roosters got bigger and meatier and would be way bigger then the hatchery birds by a year - but I didn't want to feed them that long either.

I agree with you that the breeds are not what they were, but we do have to remember that the old-timers expected 4 eggs a week per hen and butchered roosters as soon as they could tell they were roosters. So weight at 12 weeks was the goal. Neither hatcheries nor show breeders do that. I believe Chickenista does, and a few others here. But I don't think any of them concentrated on a breed, they all made their own.

LOL, the New and Improved Old Fashioned Dual Purpose chickens!

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  #8  
Old 06/05/12, 10:02 AM
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: TN
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Originally Posted by Otter View Post
Cliff, the hatcheries only give people what they want.
In part, yes, but it also creates customers for their specialized meat birds if every other breed is worthless for meat. Just like breeding the broodiness out of the birds creates more dependable customers.
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  #9  
Old 06/05/12, 10:17 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2006
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People who raise chickens usually want them for a reason. Some want them for eggs. Some want them for meat, some looks, some for dual purpose, and some insect control.
People should buy the birds that do the job they want. One reason there is so many different breeds of chickens is not all people want the same things. If they want chickens for eggs they should not buy a meat breed and expect to get many eggs. Same with buying an egg laying breed and expecting to have a good meat bird.
Dual purpose birds are not really good at either meat or eggs. They are a little bigger but produce fewer eggs.

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  #10  
Old 06/05/12, 10:46 AM
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: TN
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True dual purpose birds should strike an acceptable balance between laying and meat. I want a bird that is heavy enough to be used for meat, lays fairly well, is good at free ranging and will raise their own replacements (I have found that breed.) I don't want to be forced to order from hatcheries every year, nor forced into only having the type of bird that hatcheries offer. That's not sustainable or self sufficient and to me it goes against the whole homesteading mentality.

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