Saturday, 16 June 2012

Meat chickens

I killed our first Plymouth Rock rooster 16 June 2012. 

He hatched out 15 November 2011 and was so much smaller than the others that I expected him to die in the first few weeks.  He did not get feathers until very late in his life, weeks after the girls got feathers.  His brother is larger but it is raining hard so I plan to do him another day (or sell him as he is pure bred and a stunning looking bird). 

It is difficult killing something I hatched out, fed, watered, and looked after.  He was a beautiful looking animal with a calm temperament, had I entered him he could easily have won medals in poultry shows.  He lived a calm and happy life, and died an honourable quick death, not at all like the terrible and painful life and death of a commercial meat chicken.

At the age of 7 months he weighed 3.71kg live, when he was ready to go in the freezer he weighed 2.50kg.  That is a dressing percentage of just over 67%, not too bad for the first rooster I have processed in such a long long time.

Unfortunately I did not keep records on the food he ate to reach this size.  If I were to guestimate based on the feed that he has been consuming over the past few weeks I would say it cost about $19 to get this far (which works out to about $7.30 per kg of chicken).  The actual cost must be lower than that as he certainly did not eat this much when he was a week old.  Next time I plan to keep stats and keep the young chickens feed completely separate from all other poultry feed so I can work out accurately how much it costs to feed a chicken from hatching to eating size.

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