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Butchering Barred Rock Cockerels

12743 Views 17 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  WaterFowl209
I'm starting this post for my wife. She will take over from here..............

Hello all,

We need some advice here.

I've only raised the commercial white chicken variety before...
Does anyone have experience with butchering Barred Rock cockerels? I am having trouble finding out at approximately what age I should butcher them. Online I found one source that said they butchered their roasters at 3.5 months. Does that seem right? What signs should I be looking for? three and a half months seems to me a bit young.
a barred rock isn't a huge bird to begin with.
I'm thinking I'd wait til 6months.
That's about when a chicken becomes "mature" (22weeks).
You can wait longer and get them larger
but of course they start to get tough and become "stew Chickens".

Any ideas

Thanks much
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We ordered straight run Dominiques this year. I think they're similar to the barred rocks. We had to butcher the roos at about 12 weeks because they started crowing, (we're in a neighborhood.) They were pretty scrawny, about as much meat as a cornish hen.
When I was a kid,we went by thier size and not thier age,when they're pot sized,they're freezer bound!
I get mine from the local Amish settlement...
I say, "I want half a dozen chickens",

The owner whistles, then says,
"Pick out the ones you want"
As half a dozen kids run about 30 chickens past the driveway...

I say,
"Make it easy on yourself, I'll take the 'Slow' ones!" :D

30 minutes later I have chickens that don't have purple bones, red or purple mushy meat, don't have hairs or pinfeathers on, or IN them, and don't taste like the package the store bought ones come in!

I usually get lemon-aid or ice tea in that 30 minute break waiting for my birds!

They run me about 25¢ to 50¢ more than the store per bird, but they are nice and big, solid meat, and taste MUCH better than the store bought ones...

I also don't have to worry about them being pumped full of anti-biotics, growth hormones, steroids, ect....

All kinds of chickens, guinea, real turkeys, not those genetic engineered white kind, all kids of game birds...
They grow them, I buy them! TASTY!
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I would have to agree with Magus. Go more on the size you want, not just the age. Just remember that The younger they are, the more tender the meat will be.
Thanks for the help folks. I think we are going to go for the size and not be counting the age and weeks. Makes things a lot easier.
I would like to add a few bits here.

Depending on how many birds you have and how fresh you want to be able to eat them. You might want to stretch out the butchering job over a period of 2 months.

In my youth, spent one whole day killing, gutting and skinning younge chickens. Took a week to get the smell out of my nose. Since, I never kill more then 6 at a time. It's a good 2 hour chore.
I would like to add a few bits here.

Depending on how many birds you have and how fresh you want to be able to eat them. You might want to stretch out the butchering job over a period of 2 months.

In my youth, [/spent one whole day killing, gutting and skinning younge chickens.] Took a week to get the smell out of my nose. Since, I never kill more then 6 at a time. It's a good 2 hour chore.
I can clean fish, but have wondered how to clean birds.:confused: Is there a book or dvd that gives an overview? Do you start by chopping off the heads and hanging them upside down? Maybe I should just go to Amish Country and get some hands on experience:eek:
I will be building some version of the Whizbang tub plucker this winter. I will post results here.

I now have my winter project set!:)
Chop their heads off. Let the heart stop pumping. Dunk them in boiling water. Their is a certain temp that is best but I can't remember it right now. We keep a pot of water on a turkey fryer so the water doesn't get cold. Once they are defeathered there will be pin feathers to get off & some fine " hairs. A mini propane burner ( like the ones on cooking shows will take that off.) Cut up by the neck & down by the poop shute. Pull out the guts try not to puncture the poop schute in the process. The lungs are the hardest to get out. Keep the heart, liver & gizzard if that's your wish. Have a big tub of ice water to throw your finished birds in. I'm probably forgetting some stuff , but that is the basic. You will get faster with experience.
You need to butterfly open the gizzard to get the gravel & stuff out, there is a tough yellowish membrane that you pull off the inside too
Water should be between 145 and 150 degrees for the best results. We figured that out one year and we processed and had them all gutted and cooling with 6 people in 2.5 hours and this was 146 chickens. After that, I know how to make things go faster. We set up kinda production line. Everyone plucked until they were all cooling then the gutting started. I was the cutter and what we did this time was flip the bird on it's breast and split it down the back.

I can tell you that this is much faster than keeping the bird whole. Basically the birds ended up in halves. Make sure you have a heavy knife.
Can you dunk chickens like ducks? We used to dip them in hot water, hot wax ruffle the feathers then into cold water and peel like an orange. Then finish cleaning them up.

Just curious.....

such good directions and info made this city slicker not allow my country boy hubby to kill my chickens.That could all change with hunger pains though.

I heard you have to let them 'rest' to be tender,set in fridge or on ice for a few days.Let rigormortus set in to tenderize the meat.

I have 10 domiques hens,9barred rock roos just starting to crow,and 5 layers.About to sell the roos soon as I pick the best one.

They are nice birds,and safe from hubby for now.
Most tough meat is because of the way people cook it. Low and slow is the best way to cook anything. I have had some pretty tough stuff, including bear meat, that when I cooked it, it came apart like a pork roast.
When I did the whole dunking in hot water I put a handful of grated pure soap into the water which helped the water penetrate the feathers and get to the skin.

I did this for chickens, G.Fowl, and various water fowl.

Or you can just side step the whole plucking caper altogether and just skin the birds.
I have friends who raise quail and this is their method rather than fiddling with trying pluck such a small carcass.
skinning does seem much simpler, i had a friend who use to do that to the ducks the got on hunting trips
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