The underkeeper ran them over our plucking machine for me this morning. These ex-chickens are eleven weeks old, fed on medium protein food, on a free range system -
I bought two varieties of the same ' Farm Ranger' meat breed, one with brown feathers and one with white. The brown feathered variety is meant to grow marginally slower than the white variety; I wanted to stagger my chicken harvest, a half dozen at a time, because it's so tiring to do them in bulk. And, if an emergency came up and I had to put off the harvest, I would end up with a freezer full of fat chickens. That's a costly waste of chicken feed.
Once plucked, we found no obvious difference in growth rates between the brown and white varieties. The only difference is that the white ones pluck easier and more cleanly than the brown birds. The coming cold weather means that the birds are changing their feathers, so the brown guys are extra stubbly.
White Ranger (L) and Brown Ranger (R) with its five o'clock shadow!
There's some good flesh on them already, and only a little fat. Gutted and packaged, each weighs just over 2 kilos (about 4 1/2 lbs) each. I can leave it another fortnight before harvesting a few more cockerels. This is great news as there are 114 partridges in the chiller that need plucking for the weekend.