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Nicky Colour it green

cockerel for eating.. at 16 weeks

his time had come - well it came some weeks ago but we have been hanging on as long as we could..but hit the 16 week age mark and finally had an evening free to do the deed. They started crowing at 11 weeks, bit much for the neighbours, and this one has been attacking us whenever we go in the run.. bit much for us.

So - he is in the fridge now, looking oven ready, and pretty dang skinny.. which figures as his mum was a columbian blacktail - so not exactly a heavy breed. and weighs in at 2 lb 12 oz.. think i might bung some beans in the casserole to pad him out.

so.. how does that fit in with the theory that 16 weeks is the most economic age to neck them? might make sense - if other year old cockerels are twice the size.
Bodger

Not a breed bred for fattening.
The most economical thing to do would have been to have flicked his head off as soon as you realised he was a he, but then who does things for reasons solely of economy ? Very Happy
Nicky Colour it green

true - we stuck these eggs in teh incubator just to try it out for the first time.
Jo S

Could have been worse, try crossing a Leghorn with a Buff Orpington and eating the results! Well, he made a nice risotto. And the Silkie/Pekin made a decent sandwich Surprised

I'm new to rearing table birds but am getting the distinct impression that if they're not utility or meat birds, you might as well do them as soon as they start to crow or use them as a cockerel and cull when they're adult and no longer needed, as they're simply not designed to put the meat on, no matter how long you wait.
TheGrange

we feed ours to the dogs
Bodger

I keep pure Light Sussex and last year we fattened the cockerels up that we hatched. They tasted delicious but they didn't half eat some food in relation to the amount of meat that was on them.

I would have got much better returns for my money if the food had been going down the neck of a bona fide meat breed.

This year finds me in exactly the same situation with the same decision to make. If you read the books, you'll see the Light Sussex listed as dual purpose breed, well in my opinion they aren't . They may have been but they certainly aren't now. Mine lay fantastically well but as I say, they fall well short in the fattening stakes.

I've hatched 40 something chicks this year with about 75% of them coming out as cocks. Do I practice what I preach and neck them now, try and get a mug to have them off me, or do I eat some expensive chicken in about five or six months time. Very Happy
Nicky Colour it green

eat expensive chicken Smile

if you go by economics alone, then buying a supermarket intensively reared miserable chicken is the way forwards.. but as you say.. its not al economics.


bit depressed about your comment about LS though.. thats the next batch of hatched coming through.. and all bar one appear to be cockerels...
Bodger

I'm hoping to get some Sassos and or Ixworths shortly.

Last year, the LS were at free range, but this time, I may try and restrict their exercise and see if they fatten a little quicker and better.

If there's any such thing, it must be a cockerel year this year. Crying or Very sad

Remember, although your LS and mine might be of the same breed, they may very well be of a different strain and that yours might fatten appreciably better than mine.

In times gone by, many of the birds that farmers used to fatten commercially were the male Rhode Island Reds crossed with Light Sussex. It might be worth, if you can find any, putting a utility RIR across your LS. The resulting off spring would be good layers and the males much improved on the pure breds as fattening birds. Very Happy
Nicky Colour it green

we dont actually have any LS hens, we bought some hatching eggs - my son particularly wanted a LS hen like his grandparents used to have. looks like one might be a girl... and that wil be his pet hen.. the rest are lookign like cockerels...so we shall eat them - just hoping they shall be fatter than the last lot

for future hatches, im looking into some meat breeds.. and will use eggs from our cuckoo marans who are fatter than the rest...
Lorrainelovesplants

I must be lucky, as i get a 50% rate of cockerels hatching.


We are looking to cross Light Sussex with Buff Orpingtons to get a nice table bird. They will have the placid Orp nature, Orp big heavy boy, and Sussex heaviness.


Oh, and my expriment with Buz Busters Fly Killer Extrme was a resounding sucess. Bodger, you'll be happy to hear that after 2 applications (6 days apart) NO mites in shed. Smile Very Happy Very Happy
Bodger

thumbup

A rough rule of thumb when breeding from two pure breeds. Colour from the male side and type from the female. thumbup
Jo S

Lorrainelovesplants wrote:
I must be lucky, as i get a 50% rate of cockerels hatching.


Depends on your idea of lucky - it seems that all three of my Pekin and Pekin x Silkie chicks are cockerels. I don't really want any more Pekins but one cockerel isn't enough to make more than a sandwich. Three, on the other hand... Smile


Lorrainelovesplants wrote:
We are looking to cross Light Sussex with Buff Orpingtons to get a nice table bird. They will have the placid Orp nature, Orp big heavy boy, and Sussex heaviness.


Will you let us know how this works out? I've got one LS x Dorking and may or may not have some LS eggs under a broody so this might be something to try next year if it works. I've already got two BO x Warrens, who are wonderful layers, even if they have the appetites of small elephants, and I've been on the look out for some Warren hens to breed more of these crosses (the original hens became the fox's dinner Sad ) but *if* the BO/LS route works I'd be interested to try it.
Bodger

I put LS across some of my game hens last year without getting fantastic results. I've since been told that the offspring of this cross would have been much better if the hens had been LS and the cock a gamecock.

On the plus side, the females that I kept have gone on to make fantastic broodies.
Mrs R

buff orpingtons would be a terrible thing to cross light sussex with - you really wouldn't be gaining anything at all, except perhaps some hybrid vigour. Buff orpingtons are big, but it's all frame and feathers - as they grow the frame first they may get a decent amount of meat on them after a loooong maturing time but the feed they'll consume in that time will make it some of the most expensive chicken you'll ever eat Shocked unless you could find a proven utility strain....rare as hen's teeth! You'd be way better off just keeping the LS pure, or crossing with indian game, or even old english game, or an ixworth...perhaps dorking although they are more a show bird thesedays too.
Bodger

Hopefully I've got some Ixworth hatching eggs coming in the next week or so and I'm hoping that if they hatch, that next year I'll be able to breed some crossbred meat birds from them.

Ideally, the Ixworths will lay a discernably different egg from my LS and then I'll be able to run the birds together. Any eggs that they produce will be LS cross.
Mrs R

in theory the ickys and LS should both lay tinted eggs Confused
Bodger

Drat ! They would wouldn't they. Laughing
judith

The best cross I have had so far was Sasso hen with LS cockerel. I wasn't at all keen on the pure Sasso meat (far too chewy for my liking), but the cross produced a 6 lb bird in about 16 weeks that was very flavoursome, but significantly less chewy.
The hens only lasted 2 seasons, though, before their hearts gave out.
lottie

My spare Jersey Giant cockrells make a good sized very tasty eating bird but they aren't fast growing---they are the only male birds I keep now though as they are so very gentle--free range maran or rhodie cockrels and young grandkids are not always an ideal mix.
Lorrainelovesplants

I have already bred a few of LS maleX Lohman Brown female. The resulting offspring are all white in colour, big frame, lay well, but havnt tried to eat any yet.
Ive one male who is 18 weeks on 15th June -so he'll be for a munch. Smile
Bodger - will bear in mind the info re colour/nature. Was going to cross BO cock to Sussex female...
Mutton

We accidentally bought 3 Cobb at market last year (one cage of three white Cobb in a run of white POL pullets). The cockerel was enormous, the hens broad. Hen 1 died of drowning in the trough, cockerel died for OH birthday and Hen 2 still going strong. Plucked and gutted the cockerel was 6lb - about 5 months old. He could have been topped earlier, just didn't happen.
Ours free range with a little layers pellet corn mix morning and evening.
Rather sorry for the Cobb as they are bred to be wide hipped and heavy chested and they waddle around with a wobbly underhang, rather than run fast. Also found the meat better than supermarket, but not as much to my taste as our Allsorts.
Our Allsorts cockerels (Aracuana X Rhode Island Red X Silkie X Dorking) were long, thinnish and fast. Had more meat on the thighs than the breast. We divided the carcases and froze bags of boned breast and bags of legs, boiled up the carcass bones and did pots of meat stock.
We're really happy with the results - did a roasting pan full of breast meat in the oven the other day and have very good roast for supper and cold for lunches. The legs make a fine coq au vin.
Do that rather than expecting a meal for a family from one chicken and they work much better.
Bodger

but we do expect a family meal from one chicken and plenty left for other meals. Laughing
Mutton

But providing they are economical to grow, and you can process them in a way to give you the right size of meals does it matter? Smile

(Our little Allsorts were hardy and dedicated foragers, so the input was pretty minimal.)

Alright, I know, its a matter of taste and we only go for whole roast birds occasionally, usually prefer casseroles. Smile
I like roast chicken breast, just not roast the rest of chicken, and cold meat picked off the carcass in a new sauce (curry perchance) is not quite the same as if you cooked the meat in the sauce from raw, so it turns out our little Allsorts were pretty good for us. Smile

A neighbour does Sassoo and speaks well of them, even kept a few of the hens as layers and said they do fine. He buys chicks from a breeder each spring and raises them in an outhouse under a heat light until they are big enough to go out. Stunned by how fast they grow, I think he said the cockerels are starting to crow at 6 weeks but might be misremembering that.
irisandalex

We are looking to cross Light Sussex with Buff Orpingtons to get a nice table bird. They will have the placid Orp nature, Orp big heavy boy, and Sussex heaviness.


Please let us know, how did this cross turn out? Thanks!
Alex
Mrs R

Re: cockerel for eating.. at 16 weeks



so.. how does that fit in with the theory that 16 weeks is the most economic age to neck them? might make sense - if other year old cockerels are twice the size.


It still applies I'm afraid - you might have gotten more meat overall as he got older, but the feed efficiency would have gone down so the price per gram would have gone up!
Mrs R

D'oh - just noticed this is a case of thread necromancy again... Bodger

but Iris is a newcomer and the fruits of Lorraines labours could and should have come to fruition by now. Its about time for an update. Very Happy kirstyfern

buff orpingtons would be a terrible thing to cross light sussex with - you really wouldn't be gaining anything at all, except perhaps some hybrid vigour. Buff orpingtons are big, but it's all frame and feathers - as they grow the frame first they may get a decent amount of meat on them after a loooong maturing time but the feed they'll consume in that time will make it some of the most expensive chicken you'll ever eat Shocked unless you could find a proven utility strain....rare as hen's teeth! You'd be way better off just keeping the LS pure, or crossing with indian game, or even old english game, or an ixworth...perhaps dorking although they are more a show bird thesedays too.

I agree, orps are NOT meat birds, get a decent game cock
kirstyfern

I have already bred a few of LS maleX Lohman Brown female. The resulting offspring are all white in colour, big frame, lay well, but havnt tried to eat any yet.
Ive one male who is 18 weeks on 15th June -so he'll be for a munch. Smile
Bodger - will bear in mind the info re colour/nature. Was going to cross BO cock to Sussex female...

Get a buff or red sussex cock, my red sussex were good table birds and you get nice sex linked chicks
Nicky Colour it green

old thread Smile


that was an interesting experiement, but now we neck cockerels at 20 weeks plus however long it takes us to get round to doing them all

they weight in around 3.5 - 4 lbs undressed
Chez

I think the sixteen weeks thing comes from the wartime book 'feeding poultry and rabbits on scraps' doesn't it? When ever ounce of protein counted. Mrs R

but Iris is a newcomer and the fruits of Lorraines labours could and should have come to fruition by now. Its about time for an update. Very Happy

not complaining, just explaining why I replied twice Laughing
Chez

not complaining, just explaining why I replied twice Laughing

You've never done that before? Laughing
Mrs R

i like to think that usually they follow on from each other and show some kind of coherency....
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