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Cockerel processing, cochin and buff orpington rooster, Oct 19 2013

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CynthiaM

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So, time to make a post about the weights and some pictures of some of the cockerels taken to the abattoir on October 17, 2013.  Nice to have accounts of what I have been up to.  These cockerels totalled 12 in number – cochins.  Also, my 2.5 year old buff Orpington rooster went, he has a replacement that will hopefully be of a better quality than he was.  He was a good rooster.  Gentle to the ladies, gentle to me, took good care of things, but time to move him on, he has sired some very nice offspring this year, so has done a beautiful job.  When we enjoy him for a huge chicken dinner, I will be grateful for his life.  These are givens.  As are all the males we grow here for our own table.  

There was a total of 13 cochin cockerels, as I said.  These boys were processed about a week before I would like to have, but a week, in the realm of things, is not really a long time. Now if it was 4 weeks, there would have been a huge difference in size.  I was OK with the weights of the dressed birds, not thrilled, but for the most part pretty OK.  There were two that were absolutely lighter, I could tell that when I packed them up.  Those were 2 birds that really did not look very typey at all either, the chest and backs were far too narrow, as was the head.  Not impressed with either of those boys anyways, the just were not good.  

If we had more time before the abattoir closed down for the winter, I would have grown these boys out for another 4 weeks.  I generally have used the 24 week age for processing.  But I believe that the cochin breed just takes a little longer to achieve a better weight, than for instance, the buff Orpington that I have.  Anyways, next year will be an interesting experiment, because.....I WILL grow the cockerels of this breed until  28 weeks of age, at least and see if there is a difference in how the bird looks and weighs.  Although this really will not be a fair expectation, as I have two new breeder boys that should bring in some very nice genetics as far as size and many other things.  So, differences in how they turn out will be certainly governed as well by this new line being bred.  It is what it is.

I have only two  breeds currently to compare to with maturity visibility.  I do know that the buff Orpington, at the age of 24 weeks is a finely mature looking bird, there is no gangliness, which I absolutely see with the cochin breed.  At 24 weeks old (or even 23 as the birds in the topic are discussed), the cochin breed has not even yet fully feathered out, they are still lacking that full hackle, which I see in the buff at the same age and body filling out is much less in the cochins.  So in all fairness to the breed, I would deem absolutely that the cochins require at least 4 more weeks to attain even close to what the buff Orpington body filled out look like.  It will be full swing season at the abattoir next year when I perform the “test” of body size with growing cochins out a further month, or more, than the buff Orpington breed.

These weights of processed birds did not include the giblets, nor the neck, so add a little onto the finished weight to take care of this factor.  There is an extra charge for these, the neck and giblets, no clue why, but guess it is extra to package that up.  On the other hand, the other abattoir I use in Pritchard, the necks are still attached.  Go figure.  No clue what or why, both abattoirs are government inspected, so who knows.  I do like the necks, but am a bit OK not getting them back, but it is meat, right????  Oh well, moot at this point.

I’m not sure if I have ever noticed this before, but it seems that the size of the carcass at final of this processing of most of these cockerels of the cochin breed seemed a bit smaller than I remember in the last processings.  But the fullness I see in the meat covering the body appears to be better.  But then, sometimes memory does not serve me well.  Perhaps just my mind doing odd things, smiling.  So following, you will see the weights and pictures with narration will accompany.  I am pleased with what I am growing and I know I am going to be even more pleased when we are served our fowl for our dinner table.  Have a most awesome day, CynthiaM.

We will start with the big dude, October 19, 2013 processing.  All the birds had a dollar value of $1 per pound, as that was the most simple thing to put on the packaging label I would presume.  Of course, that is not what should be charged, but just for ease I would presume.

1 Buff Orpington rooster, 2.5 years old
6.5 pounds

Cochin cockerels, 23 weeks old
3.0
3.12
3.42
3.47
3.5
3.52
3.55
3.73
3.91
4.06
4.32
4.14

These weights are acceptable to me.  Certainly not where the breed should be I am sure, but good enough for a lovely table fowl, and that they shall be.

While I am at it, I should post the results of the cochins, at 24 weeks of age, processed on September 19, 2013.  These boys were not free ranged, but fed good food and greens that I picked every day.  Only difference was that they did not get a chance to get out in the wild blue yonder to forage.  There was only five of these cockerels, but very similar in weight to the cockerels mentioned above that free ranged from the time they were hatched.  These former fellows were hatchlings from broody buff orpingtons, so lived in that coop area, free ranged from sunup to sundown.

Cochins processed on September 19, 2013, not free ranged
3.83
3.86
4.03
4.30
4.38

OK.  Enough of that, it is time for a picture or two.

This picture is a comparison of two birds.  The one on the left is the 2.5 year old buff Orpington rooster, 6.5 pounds.  To the right is one of the cochin cockerels at 23 weeks old, 4.32 pounds

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This is a picture of one of the two light weight cochin cockerels, two in the 12 were of a much lighter weight and frame looked boney.  Not impressed, but still, the taste will be wonderful, smiling.  Cochin about 3 pounds

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Oops, forgot to add....after the birds have rested in the fridge for about 5 days, I then repackage using my foodsaver system and cut out the packaging information, and attach that inside the foodsaver bag. I know that this system, with virtually no air in the bag keeps food fresh in the freezer, much, much longer than if there is air present in the bag. I love the foodsaver vacuum sealing process and know full well that products will last much longer in this manner. This is why there is the birds unpackaged with the label beside them. A big job, but worth every moment.



Last edited by CynthiaM on Fri Oct 25, 2013 7:13 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Added a paragraph at the end of the post)

CynthiaM

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Uno, remember, don't always feel bad about our friends not replying to a thread we make. My thread has had only 37 views and no one has responded. Yes, so it happens, people look, but just don't reply Embarassed . Beautiful days for us all. CynthiaM.

coopslave

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Sorry CynthiaM, I read this and wanted to think about a response and then forgot.....

Now I can't remember what I wanted to say except they look good. One of the things that sorta struck me when I first looked at your photos was the younger bird almost looks like he has more skin. It reminded me a little of a puppy that has all that extra skin to grow into yet.

Um, I have to say now that I have typed it and kinda said it out loud it sounds a bit stupid, but that was one of the first things I thought, look at all the skin the younger cockerels had to grow into yet.....

bcboy

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CynthiaM wrote:OK.  Enough of that, it is time for a picture or two.
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This picture is a comparison of two birds.  The one on the left is the 2.5 year old buff Orpington rooster, 6.5 pounds.  To the right is one of the cochin cockerels at 23 weeks old, 4.32 pounds
Nice Looking Birds!!
I have some birds that are in the 2 - 2.5 years old range and plan on processing. How do you plan on cooking the 2.5  year old rooster?
Thanks for making this great thread!!!cheers

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CynthiaM

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Coopslave, never looked at the bird like that. I think that might be the case, like a puppy. The skin gets to a certain growth and then has to fill in with flesh, interesting thought though. BC Boy, going to cook him just like I do my other cockerels, only for about two hours longer, he is about 2 pounds more than most of the others. 250 degrees for 4.5 hours. I cook all my heritage cockerels at 250 for about 2.5 hours and they are finished at 350 for half an hour to brown skin if required. Covered, with about a cup of water to keep in moisture. Not alot of fat on the birds, so I like the moisture added. This works for me and is awesome. I am going to try a slightly different method. Where I oil the bird, then cover with a rub that I will make with garlic powder, salt, pepper and seasoning salt. I think this will help brown the bird even nicer. I'll report my findings on using oil and rub. Have a wonderful day, CynthiaM.

Bowker Acres

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Cynthia, I never posted as I just don't know what to say other than I am jealous. I would raise and eat way more of my own birds if I didn't have to butcher them myself. It is a big job when you have no help. Hubby just can't do it. He does not get any pleasure from animals, but can't kill one either. I can, and do butcher, but it is a lot of work for me.

I don't mind the smaller birds with more bone. I just throw the whole thing in a stock pot with a bunch of veggies and boil away. They make great soup. Perhaps next year I will make the drive to Alberta to have them processed and enjoy more home grown birds. Enjoy them Cynthia. Know that they lived a good life and will nourish your family well.

CynthiaM

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Yep, so tonight youngest Daughter said that she wanted to cook the big 6.5 pound boy. I am going to do the oil on the bird, the spice rub and then she can cook it. I'll bring it up and she can do the rest of the magic. Family dinner comin' on! I'll report the dinner. Have an awesome day, CynthiaM.

bcboy

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[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]Very Happy Laughing 

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KathyS

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It will be interesting to see how that old boy cooks up. I've never been brave enough to cook a chicken the traditional way when they are over a year old, but I've canned quite a few old hens.
Those were some decent weights on your cochins, Cynthia. My extra roosters are all going tomorrow. I'm looking forward to having one less pen full of hungry roosters to feed and water.

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authenticfarm

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They look yummy! I am going to try to do some heritage cross broilers next year. I am glad to see threads like this, it will give me something to compare to next year!

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heda gobbler

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I missed this thread until now so good people are commenting and have bumped it up again. I so enjoy how carefully you document these birds Cynthia, do you keep track year to year? I wish there were a way of marking roosters so I could keep track of them and know which was which when they come back from the butcher.

I recently took in for example two 16 week Mistral Gris roosters (I'm sure I'll know which ones they were, they were huge and very broad). Two 36 week Buckeye roosters and three 24 week Hatchery Cornish roosters. Maybe I'll take photos and see if I can tell what was what.

Great thread!

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bcboy

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heda gobbler wrote:I missed this thread until now so good people are commenting and have bumped it up again. I so enjoy how carefully you document these birds Cynthia, do you keep track year to year?  I wish there were a way of marking roosters so I could keep track of them and know which was which when they come back from the butcher.  

I recently took in for example two 16 week Mistral Gris roosters (I'm sure I'll know which ones they were, they were huge and very broad).  Two 36 week Buckeye roosters and three 24 week Hatchery Cornish roosters.  Maybe I'll take photos and see if I can tell what was what.

Great thread!
Yes Please.
[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]Very Happy Laughing 

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Buff

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Found your thread CynthiaM some good information!

CynthiaM

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Wow, nice to take a step back in time. This year will be a teller of a tale. I am currently growing out 7 buff orpington cockerels, they are 22 weeks old. Two will stay on to take over the place of their father and 5 are going to the processor. Which is going to be me I think. Uno's Husband is going to come over and go over again how to process the birds. I would love to learn and hone this skill. With only 5 birds, seems prudent to just do them myself, and I think I can, just need a refresher on how to eviscerate....I can kill, no problem, it is the other part, smiling. That big boy. Hmm...think I had made a thread on a two year old rooster. The skin was like leather. Don't think any cooking would have softened that, the breast was tender, the other parts tough. I would all day cook an old bird, not just a partial time, as I do for the young boys. Anyways, I have finished these cockerels off on proper growing food, broiler/finisher (the other birds have always been running with flocks, so just ate layer pellets and the good green grass and such and bugs). These guys have been given lots of extras, like greens and bugs when I find them, but properly finished on the finisher type of food, so a tale will be told as to if this made a difference with heritage birds. A tale will come later on, when time is less of a commodity with summer nigh. Have a beautiful day, CynthiaM.

Buff

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I am very curious of your findings with the finisher and grower. My boys are going to go into a pen of their own to finish growing out before I process them. Right now I have them on grower pellet wonder if I should change them over. I haven't picked out any keeper as of yet need them to grow a bit more hoping to have a least one or two time will tell. They will be 24 weeks on the 8th of Sept which is the day they will go in.

mirycreek

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I have some 22 week cockerels that I am going to pick some possible breeder stock out of then I am going to feed them 2 weeks on straight spring wheat that I have soaked for 3 days.
I fed chick starter for first month then half grower (15% pullet grower) and half soaked wheat.
they love the wheat and have grown really well but I have read that finishing on straight grain makes tastier meat ss the soy  in the grower can affect flavour.
will let u know how it turns out.

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Buff

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Interesting Mirycreek are you feeding a whole wheat or cracked? How long do you soak the wheat for before feeding?

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