Poultry Butchering Ages
Each year as we enter the summer/fall, I find myself forgetting what ages a given bird can or should be butchered at. Each year, I have to individually look up each type of poultry and calculate our butcher dates based on when they hatched. Hopefully, this Age of Butcher listing will be helpful.
This year, I’m considering some advanced planning where I pick a butcher date and make sure that I get proper hatch dates for all birds.
Obviously, all birds are different, so dependent on your specific breed, feeding program, and how the are kept; as well as your own personal taste, these ages could differ by a week or two. I also want to specify that you can technically butcher a bird at any age – the suggested ages below just take into account their growth rates along with their food conversion ratios.
Heritage Breed Turkey’s – 28 weeks
Broad Breasted Turkey’s – 18 weeks
Geese – 10 weeks or 24 weeks
Meat or Dual Purpose Breed Ducks – 8 weeks or 18 weeks
Heritage Breed Chicken – 16 weeks
Freedom Ranger or Red Ranger Chicken – 10 weeks
Cornish Cross or Cornish Rock – 6-8 weeks
It is recommended not to butcher ducks or geese between the two suggested dates due to the great amunt of pin feathers that they have (which have a blood supply making them difficult to pluck).
If you let the Cornish Crosses get much older than 8 weeks, most people have problems with them starting to die off due to the fact that they can’t support themselves (internally or physically).
If you have any additional advice or experience to share, please leave a comment.