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PostPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 12:01 pm 
There seem to be so many different ideas about fattening. Someone posted an old photo of force fed cockerels, which isn't all that much different to the force fed ones we get in the supermarkets these days. Many people mention grass fed, and others prefer grains. Someone just mentioned in a post that ducks shouldn't be allowed to swim or they won't put on weight.

It seems to me that if they are fed a lot of grain they will store it as fat. If they are grass fed and running round (or swimming if they are ducks) they will put on muscle weight (protein). Grass fed is important for Omega 3 fatty acids. Same with eggs.
It must surely come back to what we prefer to eat, and what it is we are actually eating. While some might prefer white, pulpy meat, others prefer tasty, if not so tender meat. If we are going to have them put on fat, then it should be fat that contains essential fatty acids for our well being, and not just for the taste.
Chickens also need to eat animal protein to be healthy as they are not vegetarian, so free ranging for insects is important.

I am having a major rethink about the birds I am raising for eating. My 5 X 12 week old cockerals are in the new rooster raising run, with plenty of room to stretch out. I am feeding them growers and veg scraps and once they settle in I will let them out to free range on grass. I am thinking that, rather than grain feed, it would be better to just take the largest one when we want one to eat.

Who does this, and how does it compare to grain fattening as far as eating quality?


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 12:04 pm 
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Junior Champion Bird
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Location: Riverina
i love free range 16-20 weeks old cockerals and about 4 months old free range ducks, i love the gamey flavours

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 12:06 pm 
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Wise Wyandotte
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Really it is an interaction between the type of feed and the genetics of the bird. Some strains do not lay down 'beef' whilst others do. In human terms there is no point trying to feed a strain built like a marathon runner, the feed required for a weight lifter!


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 4:35 pm 
So are Sussex marathon runners, or weight lifters? I think of them more as couch potatoes - LOL
Redial, I think it is that gamey flavour that we are looking for. If I grow them too long they will be stringy.
Anyway, I will try with this batch and see what we think of the flavour.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 4:37 pm 
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Junior Champion Bird
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Location: Riverina
I find that no matter what you do, it's hard to get that gamey flavour from a muscovy

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 4:57 pm 
I will try not to buy Muscovies then :-)
I once cooked a Khaki Campbell. It was very long and thin, sort of rabbit shaped.
It tasted very stringy. It was then I realised they are not a multi purpose duck.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 4:58 pm 
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Junior Champion Bird
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Location: Riverina
the best duck i ever ate was pekin (commercial variety)Xkhaki

so nice

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 7:20 pm 
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Wise Wyandotte
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I always thought muscovies were stronger flavoured than regular ducks!


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 7:20 pm 
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Junior Champion Bird
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Location: Riverina
hey definately have a strong flavour, but i would not call it gamey at all, they taste closer to turkey.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 3:54 am 
I never set out to fatten cockerels either. In the past I've raised cockerels to about 20-30 weeks in a large daily move tractor. These were New Hampshires and sussex crosses, and as they grew in size (and crowded the pen), they were slaughtered and put in the freezer. Thus some were spatchcocks, others were full size but lean (the adolescents) and some were quite heavy. Once they were off grower feed they were on a mixed diet but it wasn't much different to the hen diet -- maybe I added more scratch grains and kept the calcium lower.

When I'd taken out most of the cockerels, what remained were birds I could choose between for breeding (thus I also used it as my selection pen).

It worked well as a system, but then again that was on 65 acres, and there were no neighbours to care about noise so I could be leisurely with who got put in the freezer and when.

Here, some weirdos seem to think sleep is important. :lol:


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2010 1:26 pm 
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Showy Hen
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Location: Quaama.FarSouth Coast NSW
Hi I am a bit late for this post, but Candler hit the nail right on the head for me:
Their crowing determines when they get eaten here. I live on a couple of acres but in the middle of a village I don't want to push my luck. But I also find that at that point they start fighting much more and fighting needs energy and builds muscle.
Other than that they free range all day, maybe they could be tenderer but the taste is unsurpassed. And when I have roosters running around they soon learn that I give them treats right through the day.
And it isn't just the taste, there is a lot of energy input in caged birds, that I would prefer to spend on brooding hens ducks and geese. And last but not least, I enjoy seeing them having a great time and I don't enjoy locking animals up that much. My vege garden is enclosed so they have the run of the place. In winter when there is not so much to forage I am back to breeding pairs. I have not actually had a tough rooster that way, they are leaner and more fragrant.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2010 4:08 pm 
Fortunately I am not getting any complaints about the crowing, and really my 2 big boys aren't that noise. Start around 5,00 am when the Magpies and Kookaburras start. My youngsters start at around 18 to 20 weeks which is getting close to eating time anyway. My new rooster pen is finished, and in a week or so, once they are aclimatised, I will start opening the gate for them to go out in the garden during the day. Plenty of grass and insects for them to get stuck into.

I'm going to take the plunge, and introduce some Indian Game into the equation in the future. I'm getting a dozen Indian Game eggs next week, to put in the incubator, and hope for 2 or 3 pullets to cross with my Sussex rooster, for some of those big meaty birds.

Cheers, Jan


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2010 4:55 pm 
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Showy Hen
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Location: Quaama.FarSouth Coast NSW
Hi Jan

Well great minds think alike; i have ordered Indian Game eggs they hopefully will arrive on tuesday. I will eat the roosters and keep some hens. They can run with my wyandotte rooster and we will see what happens. The other thing I have been really interested in is caponising, but I think that is beyond me, I have arthritis in my hands. Then you can have the long growing period and well developed flavour from a placid non hormonal rooster.
I will let evryone know how my expirement goes, have to wait for chicks and then them to grow up etc, so it will be awhile, but good fun. The best thing is that I will be able to do it with one rooster and still have my wyandottes. The taste of the wyandotte is very fine, so I am keeping my fingers crossed.
Let me know how you go in time.
Cheers
Mina

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2010 6:04 pm 
caponising was done for many years chemically. A friend of mines Dad was one of the first in melbourne, to hire unused sheds, fill them with caponised cockerels, and raise them for meat. It was stopped - not sure when - early 60's or late 50's? when it was discovered it caused premature puberty in girls and cancer.

Caponising surgically I believe carries high risks for the animal. Why not just real cross bred pullets for meat? I figure they could be grown out and you could take advantage of their egg laying capacity in the first season, then eat them.

OK - I'm sure you will get attached to them. I have this problem with mine if they are in the layer pens, and you see them develop a personality. Plus I am sure the IG X Buff Sussex or Brahma are going to be gorgeous girls!


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2010 7:47 pm 
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Golden Swan
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Location: Albany, Western Australia
I think you would need to get surgical caponising done by a vet these days. Not as they used to do it which was with out anaesthetic. Not sure it would be worth the cost.

NellyG

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