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What age are they ready to eat?

(14 Posts)
DaisySteiner Sun 21-Sep-08 18:29:53

Hatched some chicks out earlier this year, the plan being to eat the cockerels. They're about 11 weeks old now and I'm just wondering what age/size they need to be before we put them in the pot!


SmugColditz Sun 21-Sep-08 18:30:35

I thought this was about weaning.

DaisySteiner Sun 21-Sep-08 18:37:56

And I read your reply thinking "durrr, chickens don't even drink milk, why would I be weaning them?" blush

bronze Sun 21-Sep-08 18:44:52

Depends what breed they are. Fast growing types such as hubbards can be ready at about 13 weeks.

DaisySteiner Sun 21-Sep-08 18:51:06

They're a Maran and Gingernut-layer type thing cross.

thesockmonsterofdoom Mon 29-Sep-08 12:19:19

can you tell already which are which? I would be worried that I would get it wrong and eat my layers.

oggsfrog Mon 29-Sep-08 12:29:47

I'm crap at remembering how old ours are so they are ready to eat when they look big enough.
The bigger older ones go in the pot; if they are not too old then we roast them.

I can tell from quite a young age what they are from a combination of things... how big their feet are, whether they develop the little spot that grows on to be the spur and how their tails sit.
The cockerels tails tend to stand upright whereas the hens tails are flatter.

mehgalegs Mon 29-Sep-08 12:33:31

I can always spot the roosters when there are a several in a mix as their combs always seem to grow more quickly.

Our sassos were ready from 12 weeks and they are fast growers.

We ate the first at 13 weeks and some at 15 and they wre just right.

DaisySteiner Mon 29-Sep-08 15:08:20

I'm pretty sure which are cockerels - their combs are bigger, their tails are more upright and one has started crowing grin They also seem a bit bigger generally. I'm not massively worried about eating a layer by mistake as the object of the exercise was to rear some birds for the table and the hens are a bonus!

Will have to try Sassos next time though - I definitely think ours need another few weeks and faster-growers would be better. Mind you, they are free-ranging, perhaps if they only ate their special food they'd grow faster!

TheDuchessOfNork Wed 01-Oct-08 21:46:19

I have Vorwerk/Sussex crosses and we started eating them at 17 weeks. It's always a bit of a surprise to kill a really heavy bird only to find there's really not much to it once it's been plucked & drawn.

There was enough meat for a roast for DH & I and 3 smallish DCs but there wasn't enough leftover to make another dinner. And I hung it for almost 2 days and it was really tender.

TheDuchessOfNork Wed 01-Oct-08 22:00:04

As for sexing birds - I think a lot of it comes down to the breed you have. All our hens & cockerels have spur spots and sticking up tails, but the combs on our cockerels begin to be prominent at just 3 weeks or so.

DaisySteiner Thu 02-Oct-08 09:59:17

I've started having a good feel off their breasts (oo-er) when I pick them up and there doesn't seem to be much on them yet, although free-range birds don't have very big breasts do they?

The cockerels aren't much smaller than our fully-grown hens now (at 12 weeks) so I imagine in another month or so they'll probably be ready. We were thinking of having a couple for Christmas dinner, so I hope there's enough!

oggsfrog Thu 02-Oct-08 12:09:58

Mine never seem to have much breast compared to shop bought free-range, but there is loads of meat on the legs and thighs.

stylesdawn Mon 06-Oct-08 18:31:43

we have various ages/breeds which we are raising to eat the cockeral, keep the hen, but the bigger babies seem to have turned nasty and started to pick on the smaller ones... is there anything we can do to overcome this? or should we jusst eat the nasty ones!!! they're about 17 weeks old so i suppose they bout ready anyway?

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