Chickens for meat?

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spud

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Chickens for meat?
« on: November 13, 2006, 11:11 »
Hi All,

I've been searching other sites for an answer to my question, but todate haven't got an answer that satisfys my need.

I keep hens for eggs and rear several lots of chickens for meat each year, these or usually Ross Cobbs that I buy in at about 4 weeks old. I have never been happy with the way these birds behave, always bad on their feet and not at all suitable for freerange! But they do put on lots of weight and are ready at 14 -16 weeks acheiving 6 - 7 lb oven ready.

I am looking to get something that is more sustainable, in that I could rear my own birds for the table from my own flock. I still want something that will acheive my target weights in about 20 - 24 weeks, is hardy and mobile enough for the freerange, finished product tastes and looks good. I know there are lots of traditional breeds out there, but I haven't heard of anything that ticks all the boxes, I'm hoping someone has wanted the same as myself and has perhaps found a cross that works, thus saving me years of experimenting!

Thanks in advance.

 :)
Best Regards,

spud

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muntjac

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Chickens for meat?
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2006, 12:55 »
i have some bielefelder that make a great table bird and also lay and some amrocks that i rate as both layer n a table bird the cock birds being bigger of course mine have come out dressed at 8/9 lbs. for taste i would tell you get belgian game bruge . but for crist sakes keep the cocks apart ,they will kill each other mine are silver partridge and i cant get them to lay  fast enough to meet requests for eggs mine are £3 each .. please check who your selling to if you go down this road on the x point id plump for a bielefelder x bruge cock .no guarantee tho
still alive /............

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spud

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Chickens for meat?
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2006, 10:25 »
muntjac Thanks, I had a look on the web at some pics of those breeds (all were new to me), several looked like good table fowl, I sell some of mine so they do have to be fairly even in conformation. On another site they are talking about a Sussex on Sasso cross or the Indian Game on Sasso.

I know there are countless options, but I can't be the first to be looking for this freerange bird, I was just hoping to save myself time by benfiting from others experience in trying out the various combinations. There has to be a winner out there somewhere?



 :D

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muntjac

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Chickens for meat?
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2006, 11:50 »
try to remember this mate  we can mess about with the breeding of chickens in our own yards . for our own consumption but i  dont allow these crosses to be sold into the main stream market as just unknown chickens .people who dont know thier birds as well may start to just breed them and take what comes ,  i found they do not carry the benefits on with more than a couple of breedings  the breast becomes like a razor blade the chest going really narrow  carrying no real meat . which i think is carried from the game cock side , so i just put a cock over a couple of hens and then eat all the resulting off spring  . i know folks are going to say  " well all chickens come from the same egg originally its only selective breeding that has made the chicken what it is today and it doesnt matter "" , but in my opinion it does . what has taken generations to get a bird to where it is now  can in just a couple of breedings undo all of that work . more knowledgable people than me have got the chicken breeds to where they are today so i kill and eat all my crosses .

try this for some real beut brugge bird info
http://users.pandora.be/jaak.rousseau/english%20version/grote_hoenders/brugse_vechter.htm

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Celtic Eagle

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Chickens for meat?
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2006, 12:42 »
Muntjac

I'm want to get into keeping chickens for eggs but I hadn't really considered meat then I read a few of your posts and watched HFW river cottage. I am now thinking more about it but I'm not sure about the killing I don't want to cause the chicken un-neccessary pain and I'm not sure I can get a clean kill any advice or thoughts ?

Thanks
Blessed Be
Celtic Eagle

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muntjac

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Chickens for meat?
« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2006, 13:28 »
to be honest mate im glad this has come up because im am sick to the back teeth of looking at sites that tell folks how to kill chickens and reading the biggest load of dodo written by these anal orifices. the cruelty involved is crasy where do these people come from
check this out
http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/alabaster/A260281

and this http://everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=1286390
people read this and actually follow these retards instructions


i was aged 10 when i kiiled my first bird so i will tell you how i do mine. first  take the bird quietly in the dark with a red lamp so as not to alarm the rest . tuck the bird quietly under your arm as your talking to the rest close the door quietly / go back to the house with the bird .as chances are your going to have it screaming . take the bird quietly again and turning the bird under your left arm so its head faces down /put the head in the palm of your right hand  with two fingers split around the head in a v  fashion close them gently  grip the bird tightly into your chest pulling down on the head and turn to 45 degrees  pulling down slowly and firmly until you feel the neck and head seperate , keep holding the bird against your chest and let the head go then take the birds legs with your right hand and let it flap if it wants to , forget all this rubbish about ripping feathers off and cutting the head off etc . take your bird and hang it in a cool place  for a day, get a bucket of hot water ( to hot for ya hand ) dip the bird in count to 60 then take it out  start taking the wing feathers out . then the legs .then the breast these will all come out easy as the hot water melts the fat that is around the pen of the feather  so it nearly falls out. i can do a chicken in 5 mins or so ,( been at it a lotttttttt of years  :wink:  then you wil see once the bird has been plucked that there are a few fine hairs on the bird .ignore them . take your bird to the kitchen and dress it out ( gut chop of the legs head )  taking a sharp knife 2 inches from the body go round the neck skin. cutting through to release it . now push that skin back to the body and use a pair of secateurs to chop off the neck close to the body as possible . now slide the other side of the skin up to the head and remove the neck from the skin pocket cleanly and put the head and remains to one side .put the neck in a pot of water . turn the skin back on the neck and look for any corn in the sack ( crop ) close to the breast. take it out and dump it with the head  . now take the sharp knife and go to the legs , feel for the joint at the knee and cut down between this and seperate the  skin . remove now completly. put with the head etc . now take your knife . and feel over thebirds stomach for the  lower tip of the breast bone ,where it comes to a point push the knife point in and cut the skin back down to the tail travelling down to about 1/2 inch from the anus cutting in a circle remove this  . put the knife down and force your fingers up inside the chicken as far as you can and using your fingers pull down gripping anything that is in the cavity puling everything out/ dont snap anything if you can help it. but dont worry if you do . push your hand in now completly and force it right to the top of the chest feeling for any little lumps ( the heart ) remove it  .now go back to the top of the bird ( neck end  push your fingers through the cavity you will feel at the top of the breast bones to feel for a pipe ,this is the wind pipe grip using a tea towel and remove / this is your bird completed now except for washing out / now take the remains and take the livers and heart and put them in water with the neck . sort through the innards  and feel for a hard lump of meat .this will have white membrane on both sides and is red . take your sharp knife  and holding the gizzard on edge like a shell cut down through the red meat to the centre . now small pieces of grit will appear  remove these  and force the gap open like opening a clam , now look for a yellow skin on the inside  and peel this from the red  meat part  dump this in the bin in a small bag along with the remains of the giblets and head , put the gizzard in the water with the livers etc

ok now that is how i do my birds . i know its a fuller explanation than you asked for but i thought if im killing a bird i should do the rest  but now for your initial question mate if you cannot do it by hand get a humane
dispatcher from your seed and feed stockist. then get some celery practice on crushing the celery sticks .( you should get a phamplet showing how to use them with the package ) then you wil see what it feels like .always go for the full closure on dispatchers . hope that helps

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Aunt Sally

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Chickens for meat?
« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2006, 14:40 »
That is a brilliant explanation of killing and preparing a table bird Karl.  It's nothing I am likely to do as my chooks are egg laying pets and will be buried at the ends of their natural lives.  But reading through your account I can see my old dad doing it way back.  I like the way you keep all the birds including the dinner bird calm. Genuine happy meat  :D
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spud

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Chickens for meat?
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2006, 15:13 »
muntjac Are all your birds from game origins? mine are, but none are as heavy or strong as yours. I love the way these birds are constantly on the hunt for something to peck at, working over the ground, really is very therapeutic to watch.

Have you any idea as to what age your birds were when ready for the table as 8/9lb was a good weight?
I'll be watching out for some of these to try crossing on Ross Cobb, unless you have already tried this and proven it no use?

Your post on preperation was very good, you should try and get a few pics together to help first timers, it would then make a good tutorial.

 :)

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muntjac

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Chickens for meat?
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2006, 15:29 »
no not from all game birds .just old guys telling me what they used etc  i just use the right bird  for what i want  to produce .i mainly have welsummers for eggs and bff bantams for bringing off my pheasant chicks etc ,i just keep a few others for egg breding etc and to keep a bird breed growing .not for any holier than thou reasons but cos they do what i want. my birds all a year plus when they are killed , this rubbish IMHO, about killing abird at 16 weeks doesnt ,meet with my needs i like my meat to be really well made on my birds i can afford the luxury i guess as my seed costs me nothing and i have my bran miled locallly , i dont feed all these growers pellets etc etc .if birds where meant to have all that extra stuff then it would be growing wild in the wood etc , so i feed  grain mash .barley & wheat .seed and all the green stuff they want . i put in a large bed of beet spincah to feed them in the winter .just puling what i need .when spring comes i just let them hammer it at will along with sprouted seed barley

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Celtic Eagle

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Chickens for meat?
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2006, 13:07 »
Muntjac

Thanks for that mate a really detailed and excellent piece of advice from a man who obviously knows what he's talking about. I'm really chuffed with the reply there's a lot more to it than I thought and I will have to consider this very deeply now. Once again thanks Brill stuff mate

Cheers

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Celtic Eagle

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Chickens for meat?
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2006, 13:14 »
I've just look at the websites Karl, are these people real??

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muntjac

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Chickens for meat?
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2006, 16:32 »
sorry to say they are mate .they have read other sites and listened  to probably novice keepers pass on thier information and the dodo is perpetuated  ( big werd 5 points ) not that im getting at the novice keepers in any way its the idiots who wrote this stuff down in the first place  and the novice keeper reads it and believes the stuf written and they then go an get a website for them selves .mrs muppets garden hens etc . and unfortunatly they just put the stuff on thier site and it carries on , i have shot and killed hundreds of pheasants in my time ,and i still see assholes who swing abird round by the neck to kill it after its been wounded .my first reaction is to give them a bollicking, and in 3 cases chucked them off the shoot ,i have sent guns home who just shot the birds for the sake of killing them not caring that the birds are wounded and need catching up with a dog or a beater , i have killed thousands of rabbits both shot ferreted  and long netted .thousands more pigeon and stil today can se no reason for acting like a prat when it comes to dispatching them properly and humanly , i have shot my own lamb .slaughtered my own pigs .and dressed out bullocks and i treat every animal the same .i see no reason why some idiots take an axe and chop a chickens head off , firstly the bird is difficult to control so may end up only wounded and secondly the prat may lose fingers, and to do this splatters blood all over the place,why not break the neck as i suggest and then let it hang for a day ,then cut its head of the blood is congealed and causes no mess . if you hang a chicken the bird rests as does a pheasant . i guarantee the taste of a chicken is far better  than the dodo they give you in supermarkets that is killed and frozen in less than 30 mins , i have hung chicken  ( cockerals )for 4 days in a cold place and the taste far exceeds the bland dodo in plastic . but i leave you to choose the way you take care of the birds you keep . i offer advice only achieved through some 40 yrs of experiance

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GrannieAnnie

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Chickens for meat?
« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2006, 21:47 »
Karl is right about the hanging of poultry, gives the meat more flavour, just make sure its hung in a cool place.

Also if you do kill your birds in that way, make sure its for your own consumption only, as its now illegal to 'neck' a bird, they should be stunned then throats cut as per DEFRA instructions.  Luckily, OH is a licensed slaughterman and has the proper stunner, shame he doesn't use it to earn a bit of money eh?????? lol

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sorrel

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Chickens for meat?
« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2006, 15:34 »
Recently read that birds should be starved for 2 days before being dispatched!!!

Can anyone tell me why and if this is necessary ???  the point of raising my own birds was so that the table ones would have a decent quality of life and a quick, clean end.....  Starving them sound barbaric !!

 :cry: Sorrel
Starting from scratch............

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GrannieAnnie

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Chickens for meat?
« Reply #14 on: November 22, 2006, 15:48 »
Never starved them for 2 days poor little things.  OH doesn't feed his on the day they go because the crop will still be full and the food hasn't had time to digest.



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