Stories of life on our farm in Northwest Georgia where every day is an adventure in this beautiful spot that God has entrusted to our stewardship.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Postscript to A Sad Chicken Tale

This is a P.S. to A Sad Chicken Tale posted earlier this month recounting our bad experience with a local "breeder" in Tennessee.

The photo above is of our Dexter heifer Siobhan checking out our free-ranging Freedom Ranger chickens.

When we butchered those birds (I didn't record their exact age, but it was around 18-20 weeks), I kept a record of their butcher weights (minus head, feet, entrails, etc.)  Here are the stats:

  • Roosters were between 3lbs. 10 oz. up to 5 lbs. 4 oz.
  • Average rooster weight was 4.44 lbs.
  • Average weight for all birds was 4.22 lbs.

On Oct. 17, we butchered six of the roosters we got from "Eva," the breeder in Tennessee.  We could tell that Mr. Kellogg's Cornflakes (left) and his buddies were pretty small as roosters go--even at over 30 weeks of age.  When I weighed them and stuck them in the freezer today, it was clear that the P.S. to the sad chicken story was sad, too!

Butcher Weight

Black Australorp
2 lbs. 11 oz.
3 lbs. 4 oz.
3 lbs. 7 oz.
2 lbs. 8 oz.
3 lbs. 1 oz.
3 lbs. 3 oz.

Average weight

3 lbs.

Not even one of these roosters was as big as our smallest Freedom Ranger!

The Field Guide to Chickens by Pam Percy gives the following standard weights in its breed profiles:

  • Black Australorp - cockerel 7.5 lbs., rooster 8.5 lbs.
  • Ameraucana - cockerel 5.5 lbs., rooster 6.5 lbs.
  • Welsumer - cockerel 6 lbs., rooster 7 lbs.
Some people call a bird a rooster once he begins crowing; showing standards call a bird over a year old a rooster.  Whether you call ours cockerels or roosters, they are WAY below breed standards!  They didn't even get up to pullet weight!  I think this is pretty damning evidence that my Farm Dreams colleague was right when he said this "breeder" is proliferating sub-standard birds.

Oh, by the way, my "Ameraucana" pullet is laying teeny pinkish-white eggs.

So much for shopping local!

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