I’m in a slight quandary. The BBW poults I ordered have been impacted by the USPS embargo on live animal shipments. I had planned on getting them 3 weeks before the nuggets (Freedom Rangers) so I could process them all the same day when I have the rental plucking equipment. 13 weeks seems about the butter zone for size on the BBW roaster turkeys. Now, due to shipping delays, assuming no further delays, they’ll only be 11 weeks old on the current slaughter day I have scheduled. 12 weeks and I might have just accepted the smaller size, but at only 11 weeks old they’ll not really be worth killing yet.
The quandary is, do I just plan to process the turkeys by hand 2 weeks after the nuggets, or do I try to delay the nuggets for 2 weeks to maintain the 3 week age gap, or do I not delay getting the nuggets and keep them for 12 weeks instead of 10?
How well do Freedom Rangers continue to grow after 10 weeks? I’ve never kept them past that. I know feed efficiency drops off the older they get, but if I keep them to 12 weeks will they continue to get heavier/bigger enough to be worth it?
If they’ll keep growing reasonably well I’ll go that route. A bigger chicken is definitely ok.
For my meat chickens I am absolutely ruthless about culling anything that even hints at looking like it won’t make it to slaughter day. Last year I only had 2 out of 100ish that I had to process early, so if there’s a few more to process by hand that’s ok. But if it would likely run into the dozen or more level I won’t want to do that.
My experience is with Cornish crosses so it's not quite the same.
First, I've had cornish crosses live up to a bit more than 2 years. So your rangers will probably make it to 12 weeks just fine. Mind you, I feed fermented feed and I give a restricted diet (as much as they'll eat in 20 minutes 2Xs a day) and they range over ground or in tractors so they aren't monsters like classically raised broilers.
As for growth, my CXs kept growing, but much slower. A 12lb bird at 10 weeks would only go up a couple pounds max in the following two to four weeks, and mostly the roosters not the hens. I did get some AMAZING holiday chicken roasts this way, though, as much as 14lbs live weight.
So if you're looking for feed efficiency, you won't get it. But if you're wondering if you can do it, absolutely.
Hello, please call me Mouse. Talk to me about rabbits, chickens, and gardens. Starting an intentional community in Ohio.
Got the reservation for the plucking equipment moved to the first weekend in June. So long as the turkeys aren’t delayed any longer they’ll be 13 weeks old by then. Last couple years that’s produced mid-high teens for dressed weights which is about perfect for roasting whole. I’ll hold back 3 or 4 to let them get huge. They make great smoked breast and thigh lunch meat that way.
Chickens will be 12 weeks (assuming no issues with shipping for them). Hopefully they do well with that extra time.
please buy this thing and then I get a fat cut of the action: