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Finishing cockerels
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wellington womble



Joined: 08 Nov 2004
Posts: 14746
Location: East Midlands
PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 16 12:12 pm    Post subject: Finishing cockerels  Reply with quote    

Mr Marans is pecking my wellies. Mr Marans is sitting on next doors fence and crowing. Mr Marans is definitely squaring up for a fight and the children are giving him lots of space. Mr Marans is squashing the young growers, who are squealing with distress at his statutory rape. Mr Marans sits the on bloody patio chairs and crows!

Mr Marans is shortly to become oven ready.

I'm planning to pen him and his possible-sister (who is not laying and is suspiciously vocal, despite looking like a hen) together for a few weeks to see if she starts laying, and feed them up a bit. If not, they will both go at the end of the month ish.

What are other people's methods of finishing cockerels? Specifically, what do people feed them and for how long, and how much space should I give them?

I bought them at auction at about 4 weeks (advertised as morans. Goodness knows what they really are. They do look like Cuckoo Marans). I think they are about 24 weeks, and have been free ranging for most of day since about ten weeks. They currently have mixed corn and wild bird seed and all the grass and bugs they can eat (loads, I think as they don't eat much corn)

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 32618
Location: yes
PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 16 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

as much food as he will eat and as much free range foraging as you can put up with.

with a frisky one i would go for a quiet life over kill weight ,big, stroppy, wannabe roosters are a pita.

Bodger



Joined: 23 May 2006
Posts: 13470

PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 16 12:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I think we've said this before but don't expect too much from them. Marans aren't meaty birds, I'd even struggle to make a case out for them being dual purpose. They look like big birds but when you get down to the nitty gritty, what meat there is on them tends to be in the wrong place. Plenty of leg but no breast.
Restrict the space that you give them and feed them plenty of food. At 24 weeks of age they should be ready for the chop. They wont get much bigger and a lot of the food that they'll be eating now will be put down to fat rather than to meat.
The longer you keep them, the more expensive they'll be getting per delicious mouthful of meat. Whatever you get off them will have far more taste and texture than anything you can buy from the supermarket.

wellington womble



Joined: 08 Nov 2004
Posts: 14746
Location: East Midlands
PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 16 4:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I know, they were an impulse buy at auction. A lot of five chicks because I wanted some girls, but the rest got eaten by my fox plague. Got to do something with them though.

He's not too much of a PITA yet. I'd rather he didn't get much worse, though. They've been completely free to feed, as a friend is pest control for a warehouse, and brings me various grains which are pest damaged, and they find most of their own food anyway.

I'm planning to pen him and feed them on oats, milk and sunflower seeds (all of which I keep in for other critters. It's a hobby, I'm not counting the costs). I'll keep an eye on them. I'm not certain the other one is female, and I don't want him to injure her by fighting or over-treading. There are no problems while they are out, but my only other adult hens are my two layers and I want them to keep laying and foraging. I probably have other cockerels, but it's too soon to tell. (Except the pekin, but I'm not allowed to eat him. Anyway, there's hardly any point! Another good reason to pen him - it would hardly be fair to let them fight it out!)

What is a good meat breed? I want to raise some more next year, especially if we can get on tops of the wretched foxes somehow.

Bodger



Joined: 23 May 2006
Posts: 13470

PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 16 5:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Not pretty to look at but the specialised hybrid meat varieties are the best converters of food into meat. I've always gone for the Ross Cobbs.

If you've got the time and the space, then this thread on OTG is well worth a look at.

http://overthegate.myfreeforum.org/ftopic32281-0.php

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 32618
Location: yes
PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 16 5:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

norfolk black is a nice eater with good flavour,moist flesh and a decent leg to breast ratio, not sure what they are like to keep

iirc grannie had a flock that started as a suffolk x rhode island red cross and then alternated roosters between the s and rir when the king needed replacing. they were a good dual purpose crew but that regime does require home (or broody)hatching.

Woo



Joined: 19 Sep 2011
Posts: 767
Location: Mayenne, Pays de Loire
PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 16 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

If he is being aggressive with your hens I would get rid sooner rather than waiting. I found they don't get any bigger, just louder. your hens will be all ruffled and nervous and if your shut him like a monk he may act up more.
any of mine that have shown any aggression have been given swift justice.
the best chickens I ever had were hybrids. huge meaty birds despite having plenty of space to roam about. I want to breed my own but haven't found the same quality of meat even with my Brahmas. and to be honest the hens I had for eggs were really reliable layers too.
good luck whatever you decide.

Bodger



Joined: 23 May 2006
Posts: 13470

PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 16 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Norfolk Black turkeys are the tastiest that I've ever reared but turkeys catch every disease that chickens get but three times more easily and five times as worse.

Woo



Joined: 19 Sep 2011
Posts: 767
Location: Mayenne, Pays de Loire
PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 16 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Bodger wrote:
Norfolk Black turkeys are the tastiest that I've ever reared but turkeys catch every disease that chickens get but three times more easily and five times as worse.


how long do they take to get to the table? when would you suggest buying for Christmas?? sorry about the hijack ww.

Bodger



Joined: 23 May 2006
Posts: 13470

PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 16 6:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Traditionally you buy turkeys in off heat in August to rear for Christmas but its not too late now.

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 32618
Location: yes
PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 16 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

these are delicious .

these are turkeys which wasn’t what i had in mind but as turkeys go this sort are almost nice to eat but they are still turkeys alive or dead. (im not fond of em either way)

wellington womble



Joined: 08 Nov 2004
Posts: 14746
Location: East Midlands
PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 16 9:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I don't like turkey. Plus we are a family of one and a bit. And the bit doesn't much like meat.

I've plenty of space, and am in no hurry. I know hybrids are the most efficient, and I might think about a batch of them next year. But I also fancy breeding some (if I can keep the wretched things out of fox for five minutes) I have a couple of silkies who mainly serve as pets, but are intended to be for mothering. I keep my laying breeds for pretty coloured eggs (also as a hobby) and I find that even with my peak flock of 40 odd birds, between the free ranging and the leftovers from a fickle 6 year old they need less in food than I would pay out for eggs. As long as I have two or three in lay, we are quids in on food. Even more so if a certain store that sells bird food can't solve its rat problem! I've some lovely Croad langshans that I might breed and sell (more because they are rare than anything) but I'm planning on seeing how the rejects eat, and perhaps crossing them for a nice roast.

Grandad used to raise light Sussex for the table for Christmas dinner. This was in the war, and I'm pretty sure he had a sort of stack of cages arrangement going. He used to buy them in June to eat at Christmas, and there was possibly a RIR cockerel involved. The details are a little hazy nowadays! My dad hankers after that roast chicken, but I don't think light sussex are what they used to be. And mine got eaten anyway. I'll have a look at OTG. It's very hard to get any sensible information on this sort of thing these days!

Ty Gwyn



Joined: 22 Sep 2010
Posts: 3952
Location: Lampeter
PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 16 10:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

The old way of fattening roosters for the table was in a confined space,exercise walks the meat off,

Feed wise,if you have access to bread waste,soak a loaf in bucket of water or milk if you have it,mash it up in the morning and mix in barley meal and mixed corn or maize,it gives a nice yellow fat unlike the aenemic looking specimens found in shops today.

wellington womble



Joined: 08 Nov 2004
Posts: 14746
Location: East Midlands
PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 16 10:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I expect that's the sort of thing grandad did.

I do wonder exactly how confined? Obviously I need to pen them, but I don't want to go down to intensive standards! I have a 6 year old who doesn't eat breadcrusts or often finish her milk or porridge so they will get that and mixed corn. Possibly sunflower seeds and meal worms once they are confined.

Woo, he's not bothering the hens excessively. The adult ladies are fine, it's just the growers who make a fuss. Although they are all housed seperately, they have the same free range but mostly choose to stay separate. The youngsters never range far from their houses, and the older ones go between, nicking their food (goodness knows why, it's all the same as theirs) and generally scratching about. They don't really bother the little ones, unless I take food down there, whence they all follow the treats. I have to feed the little ones first as the big house is further from the house, and more vulnerable to my fox plague.

Bodger



Joined: 23 May 2006
Posts: 13470

PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 16 8:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I keep utility Light Sussex, I've had them for about 12 years and I consider them to be more or less my own strain. They are good layers and the cocks produce reasonable carcasses but if I wanted to breed something purposefully for the table, then I'd probably run a few of my LS with an Indian Game cock. They'd still be much slower than the commercials in getting up to weight but they'd make a really good eating birds. I'd use the silkies as broodies.

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