Archive for Downsizer For an ethical approach to consumption
 


       Downsizer Forum Index -> Poultry
Chez

Ross Cobb meat birds

In the spirit of posting things that are useful as per the other thread ...

Because of <circumstances> I was very late hatching this year - and I have swapped my fifteen dozen egg incubator for a two dozen one. So because we had no cock-birds coming through, I panic bought thirty Ross Cobb day olds from Cyril Bason.

They will be eleven weeks when they go to slaughter on Thursday and they are starting to go off their legs. I had heard this would be the case - circumstances conspired against us getting them off last week, though.

I reckon they have cost me just under ten quid each to produce ... cost per chick, delivery, chick crumb, growers, cost of processing ... and I'm happy with that.

What experience do other people have with commercial birds? I would definitely do this again, but perhaps with a slightly slower growing breed like Sassos. I like it all being done and dusted in under three months, whereas with the traditional breeds it takes six. I suppose the proof of it is the eating, and I've been told it's not such nice meat at traditional breeds grown slowly.

Thoughts?
Shan

We used to get the Master Gris Hubbards and take them to 12 weeks. This is going back a good few years but the cost back then was just over 6 a bird. Nice carcasses. Never went off their legs. I ended up keeping some of the girls for laying & a cockerel for a couple of years.
Ty Gwyn

By lowering the protein levels I`ve taken Cobbs onto 6mths over the years,10lb oven ready,no problem with going off legs,this I learned after a batch fed on high protein antibiotic specialist feed going off their legs,it was cruel to see,i was 14yrs at the time and that stuck in my mind.
Chez

I think I may try that if I do these again. I don't want them to go on that long necessarily ... but growing slowly enough so the bone growth keeps up with the muscle would be good.

I have just had to cull one that has gone off completely and been pecked at ... it was thinner than the others comparatively speaking but still dressed out at 2.5 lb, which is where the traditional breeds hit, roughly, after five months. I'm interested to see what the others come back at. There's a definite difference between cocks and hens.

The 'Keeping Poultry and Rabbits on Scraps' wartime book says that traditional breeds stop economically converting food to edible protein about sixteen weeks. After that you are just doing it to get a nice roast rather than food security.
Bodger

Ditto what Ty Gwyn has said.
sgt.colon

What does going off their legs mean, please?
NorthernMonkeyGirl

Literally be unable to stand properly. In some cases due to illness or injury, but in this intensive breed it's just a fact of life (their muscles outgrow their strength or skeleton, they can't stand).
Shan

Essentially, they put on weight too quickly and their bones never catch up.
Bodger

On the other hand, I've currently got eleven three to four month old Light Sussex cockerels running around on free range, that will be at least another three months older before they are ready for the table.
I'm shovelling food down them but while they aren't commercially viable, their taste and texture will be far superior.
Shan

I'm doing the same with Guinea Fowl at the moment.
Bodger

Shan, I've got seven keats that I hatched about five or six weeks ago. I had some twenty odd years ago and I'm all at sea with these. Maybe we could exchange notes: I'd try and get a photo but we still haven't sorted PB or a substitute.
sgt.colon

Thanks NMG and Shan.

That's very sad. Is that a fault with the breed or because of how they are reared?
Shan

Shan, I've got seven keats that I hatched about five or six weeks ago. I had some twenty odd years ago and I'm all at sea with these. Maybe we could exchange notes: I'd try and get a photo but we still haven't sorted PB or a substitute.


Yes, not a problem.

I hatched 5 under a broody chicken. Currently, they are following madam chicken round the garden... and occasionally the neighbour's garden.
Shan

Thanks NMG and Shan.

That's very sad. Is that a fault with the breed or because of how they are reared?


It's a bit of both. The breed is designed to grow extremely quickly for commercial purposes but it 'can' be slowed down by lowering protein levels. Trouble is, when supermarkets are selling chickens so cheaply, every extra day increases the cost.

e.g. Ross 308 Performance statistics:

*Live weight at 56 days: 4kg
*Live weight at 70 days: 4.9kg
*Performance as hatched, males can reach 5kg+ at 84 days (12 weeks)
sgt.colon

Thanks Shan. Smile sean

Shan, I've got seven keats that I hatched about five or six weeks ago. I had some twenty odd years ago and I'm all at sea with these. Maybe we could exchange notes: I'd try and get a photo but we still haven't sorted PB or a substitute.

You can always post pics straight to here using the Attach File link as long as you've got them on your computer. PhotoBucket don't appear to be backing down at all.
Bodger

That's good to know Sean Shan

I'll try get some photos of the little blighters today.

PS Madam chicken has taught them to dig!
Chez

Thanks NMG and Shan.

That's very sad. Is that a fault with the breed or because of how they are reared?

It's a bit of both. The breed is designed to grow extremely quickly for commercial purposes but it 'can' be slowed down by lowering protein levels. Trouble is, when supermarkets are selling chickens so cheaply, every extra day increases the cost.

e.g. Ross 308 Performance statistics:

*Live weight at 56 days: 4kg
*Live weight at 70 days: 4.9kg
*Performance as hatched, males can reach 5kg+ at 84 days (12 weeks)

It's the first time we've tried them and I've been feeling my way a bit. I understand that when they're done very intensively they take them to eight weeks and that's that. These definitely weren't ready to be worth doing at eight weeks but between 9 and 11 they have exploded in size. They've been fed on standard grower's pellets and a bit of corn thrown down in the evening. They don't move around much amd are really, realky dopey. The meat is okay, but not as flavourful as the traditional breeds. It's food though, I know where it's come from, I know it's been treated well; and it's been a learning experience.
Shan

Everything is a compromise - regardless of being Ross Cobbs, they are bound to taste a damn sight better than a supermarket reared chicken. wellington womble

There seem to be some variations on the general theme around. I was looking at Piggotts Poultry in Hertfordshire. They have a few different meat strains bred for free range fast rearing, which I think would be worth a go. The only reasons I haven't tried them is I don't have the capacity to take 50 in one go just at the moment. They do deliver, but I know where they are, so I'll probably go and fetch them, when I figure out housing. I think I could only take them if I've no other young birds.

I think Judith tried Sassos and found them a bit tough. I've got Dorkings, croads, light Sussex, Ixworth, Poulet de Bresse and Faverolles here at the moment. I thought next year I'd keep a hen from each, and the dopiest cockerel and try all the crosses to see which gave the best roasters, but compare with some commercial meat birds at the beginning of the season, before I hatch. I'll only be able to do it at the end of the season, now. I'd need to get the birds in september. And dispatch November, and I think that's too late.

How long did your cobbs need heat for? Did they feather any faster, or just grow bigger, faster.
       Downsizer Forum Index -> Poultry
Page 1 of 1
Home Home Home Home Home