Day of Reckoning


This coming week, the meat roos will meet their maker. Farmer neighbor Skip will be coming over with his plucker and scald pot to help. Should be quite interesting as I’ve never attended a chicken butchering before. Not sure I’m attending this one, actually. I plan to be in the kitchen with a frying pan.

I bought a mix of heavy breed roos and a batch of white leghorns. They’re five months old, and still not as big as I’d like. Next time I do this, I’ll start earlier in the year to give them more time to grow. I got these roos in June. I know Cornish X are the way to go, but I’m semi-opposed to them just as an unnatural thing. I’m okay with finishing a smaller chicken. They don’t get too big to walk on their legs, so I think it makes a nicer life. In fact, some of them are enjoying life so much they are flying the coop to free range.

Maybe they heard me talking to Skip.

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on November 5, 2011  

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12 Responses | RSS feed for comments on this post

  1. 11-5

    May I come to dinner? I will bring a light salad and a bottle of vino.

  2. 11-5

    Suzanne, with all the roos out running around, I don’t think I’d be frying them. They will be tough. The others maybe. Years ago we butchered a chicken that had been out free ranging and I fried it and we couldn’t even bite into it. And also you need to keep the chickens in the fridge a few days before you actually eat them or freeze them. This is just what I have read and been told and done for years. Y’all might do it different there, I don’t know. But anyway, have fun! And put Vicks under your nose. That will keep the small away and you won’t be sick of chicken later.

  3. 11-5

    Have some good meat there, I do it like you said and it comes out fine. Enjoy your birds!

  4. 11-5

    I know this doesn’t seem right to want to see it, but I do hope you’ll post pictures of the event.

  5. 11-5

    I remember when we did this. It was very interesting and a great experience. It’s nice to know exactly where your food comes from. Our roos were little and too tough to fry, but they made terrific soup, which we eat a lot of.

    Good luck!!

  6. 11-5

    Good luck on butcher day! I say give Cornish Xs a try! The first year I raised birds for meat, I went with some Dixie Rainbows. They were supposed to be a heavy bird somewhat comparable to the Cornish X, but excellent at free ranging. They were supposed to be ready at 12-14 weeks. At about 18 weeks we took them to the Amish to be butchered. I held back the hens because they were no where near being big enough to be butchered. They became layers. I was not happy with them. I didn’t like the taste. They were tough, too.

    The next year I decided to try Cornish Xs and make them free range. I’ve been hooked ever since! : ) I like the taste better. Very different from a grocery store bird (kinda tasteless) or the Dixies (just a weird taste in general), but the Cornish Xs are not tough at all. I have a pretty strict method with raising them. If interested let me know and I’ll share. Mine do free range. I have never had any of the issues with raising Cornish Xs like I’ve heard of — heart problems, leg issues, etc and I’ve raised them for 3 years now. I raise mine to about 10-11 weeks of age. They are always taken to the the Amish to be butchered on a day when it seems to be 90 degrees out. I have not lost one in the process of getting them to the Amish. They are the most friendly birds that I’ve ever had, which may be a bad thing for some. :cry: And you can’t beat the feed conversion ratio. Anyways, like I said, if interested, I’ll share more on how I raise mine.

  7. 11-5

    You want happy chickens!! I buy my chickens from my egg lady..I have personally witnessed her happy chickens and it is some of the best chicken I have ever eaten. Cadillac of chicken :).

  8. 11-5

    When I was a child, I had to help my step father bucther some chicken, and it was horrible, never again, I know that is why farmers raise animals, but I would get way to attached to anything I raised to kill it, but there again, I have a difficult time killing anything——-except spiders!

  9. 11-5

    I just butchered three yesterday. We skinned them instead of plucking. Mine were about 8 months old. They had some nice drum sticks on them. MMMMMM MMMMM good. :-)

  10. 11-5

    Try Freedom Rangers. I bought some last year off a woman at the Farmer’s Market. The flavor was amazing. They do take a bit longer to cook as they get more exercise than the Cornish Cross, making the leg muscles tougher. The farmer said she wasn’t going to raise them again as the Cornish Cross can be raised for market at a higher profit. She did admit that the Freedom Rangers were more flavorful and only took 2 to 3 weeks longer than the Cornish Cross to grow out to a 5 to 6 pound carcass. So instead of 5 to 6 months to get a really tough rooster your can raise these out in 8 to 10 weeks. Cornish Cross reach these weights in 5 to 8 weeks. If you grow the Cornish Cross out until they are 10 weeks, and they survive, you’d end up with a 10 lbs roaster. Nice for the oven, but you usually have some losses due to legs giving out before they reach that size.

  11. 11-5

    I’m with Sheila…try the Freedom Rangers. I’ve raised Cornish Cross and Freedom rangers and LOVE Freedom Rangers. Definitely cheaper to raise Cornish Cross for re-sale but for personal use, Freedom Rangers are the only way to go for me. Raised them to 11 1/2 weeks and they averaged 6 1/2 lbs. I had zero losses in that 11 1/2 weeks and even the processor commented on how good looking those birds were. The flavor and taste is out of this world. Very juicy and moist. One bird fed 7 people with leftovers.

  12. 11-7

    I also, had an aversion to those Cornish cross birds, so last spring I purchased 25 Cornish x birds and 25 mixed breed roos and grew them out all together to butchering age. I let them go to 4 months (supposedly too long for the Cornish x) because the mixed roos were just too small at 10-12 weeks. The group stayed together free ranging during the day and were fed organic chicken food and table scraps before bed at night. The difference was astounding! When we butchered them at 16 weeks, I had some Cornish that were 6-8 pounds (!) but the mixed roos were just in the 3-3.5 range. The Cornish had no leg problems and we only experience a few loses due to a wily owl (until I fixed the bird netting over the top of the chicken run). I know that buying the Cornish rock x isn’t really a sustainable option for those who would like to only eat chickens that are produced on the farm (from egg to pot) but if you want a nice sized chicken that has a good feed to meat ratio and still know what it ate and how it was raised, the Cornish rock isn’t a bad way to go. My experience made a believer out of me!


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