When raising birds, you can use the figures below to estimate the amount of time it will take until the bird is ready for processing. 


Type of Bird                                                        Ready for Process at: 

Cornish Cross Chicken (Broiler)                     6 to 7 weeks old 

Heritage Chicken                                                 16 to 20 weeks old


Turkeys (broad breasted)                                  14 to 20 weeks old


Ducks (depending on breed)                              18 to 28 weeks old

Geese (depending on breed)                               32 to 36 weeks old


Remember there is some variability in grow times based on how the birds are raised. Also, don't forget when raising broilers it takes a good quality 20% or higher protein feed for broilers to grow properly. It takes approximately 12 pounds of feed per broiler to end with a dressed chicken of 4.5 to 5.0 lbs.



Broiler-Fryer - a young, tender chicken weighs 2.5 to 4.5 pounds.

Rock Cornish Game Hen - a small broiler-fryer weighing between 1 and 2 pounds.

Roaster - an older broiler chicken weighing 5-7 pounds. Yields more meat per pound than a broiler-fryer.

Capon - a male chicken that has been surgically unsexed. They weigh 4 to 7 pounds.


Stewing-Baking Hen - a mature laying hen about 10 months to 1.5 years old. Weights will vary.



It is best for broilers to arrive at the facility and be scheduled for processing 8 to 12 hours after their last feeding. This decreases the amount of material that could potentially contaminate the carcass during processing by allowing adequate time for the bird's gastrointestinal tract to become empty.


Longer feed withdrawal times cause the intestinal wall to weaken and bile contamination of the carcass. The gall bladder becomes enlarged and may break during evisceration.



Duncan's Poultry offers some cages and cage trailers for you to transport your birds to us. These are on a first come basis. There is no extra charge for the cages. There is a $10.00 charge for the cage trailers. These cage trailers can haul up to 150 chickens at one time. The cage trailers require a pickup truck to pull them and a 2'' ball hitch. 


If you are bringing birds in your own truck, trailer or cages,  please remember that the birds cannot be piled one on top of another. They need adequate ventilation to survive the trip to our processing plant. If using a livestock trailer, we recommend swinging the middle gate closed to separate the birds into two sections.  



At our facility we use water tanks to achieve cooling temperatures. Normally at the facility the birds are chilled for about an hour after leaving the processing line. We also sell ice if you need further chilling on your way home.



Birds must be maintained below 40 degrees F. This will yield a 10 day shelf life.


Frozen birds can be stored at zero for up to 6 months.


Meat does not freeze until it gets below 28 degrees F because of the natural salt content in the meat.


When you pick up your products, they will be fresh. We keep our cooler at 36 degrees to maintain that freshness. You will need to take the products home to freeze them.



Broilers may be bruised at any time during production and even up to the time of slaughter. Research has shown that there is a relationship between the age of the bruise and its visual appearance.


As bruises age, breast bruises become darker whereas wing and drum bruises become lighter in color. With increasing bruise age, wing bruises become less red and less yellow, and drum bruises become more red and more yellow.


Did you know that 90% of bruising occurs within 12 to 24 hours before processing? Please be very careful when loading and unloading your birds!



Birds that die from causes other than slaughter are condemned under the 'cadaver' category. Processing of cadavers results in inadequate bleeding of the carcass - a pumping heart is required to get an adequate bleed out.


At our facility we cannot and will not process birds that are dead on arrival. The birds will be disposed of properly.



Green Muscle Disease, also called Deep Pectoral Myopathy, which is the necrosis of the Pectoralis Minor (tender) muscle of poultry. Necrotic tenders appear yellowish-green in color.


Green Muscle Disease results from vigorous activity of both major and minor pectoralis muscles, but only the tenders are afflicted. Compared to other muscles, the tenders have a more rigid muscle cover and are confined to a tight space within the body such that they can't expand to accommodate this increased blood flow. The net result of the muscle being confined and compressed is self strangulation, suffocation and eventually necrosis.


Increased broiler activity induced by such factors as feed or water outages, lighting programs, catching and live haul, and even excessive noise, may result in an increased incidence of Green Muscle Disease.



Many people think the pink liquid in packaged fresh chicken is blood, but it is mostly water which was absorbed by the chicken during the cooling process. Blood is removed from the poultry during slaughter and only a small amount remains in the muscle tissue.



Giblet color can vary, especially in the liver, from mahogany to yellow. The type of feed, the chicken's metabolism and its breed can account for the variation in color. If the liver is green, do not eat it! This is due to bile retention. However, the chicken meat should be safe to eat.


If we think any giblets that you request are not safe to consume, we will discard those products. You will be informed of how many short you are.




Food Safety and Inspection Service recommends cooking whole chicken to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees F as measured using a food thermometer. When checking the temperature, check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast.