I posted a thread yesterday asking why my Buff Orpingtons were so scrawny, and I very much appreciate all of the feedback I received. It seems most people agreed that Buff Orpingtons are a dual-purpose breed and will simply take a lot more time to make a good meat bird. But, even with lots of time, they will likely not yield as much white meat.
If so, then I would like to post some new questions:
1. Should I cross-breed my Buff Orpington hens to produce chicks that will be better meat birds?
2. If so, what breeds do you recommend?
3. Or, am I better off just starting over with a new breed of meat chickens?
Here are the qualities I'm looking for in my flock:
- Good brooding qualities. I want hens that will be effective in raising their own chicks. I don't want to have to keep buying baby chicks from a hatchery. I want to be self reliant. This is the main quality that steered me towards Buff Orpingtons.
- Good meat birds with ample white meat.
- Good foragers. My chickens free range, and I want them to benefit from this type of nutrition.
- Good in cold weather. I live in the Appalachian Mountains in southwest Virginia. It doesn't get as cold here as Alaska, Maine, or Minnesota, but it does get down to zero, so I want birds hardy enough to withstand in the cold weather.
So, what do you think?...cross-breed my Buff Orp hens, start over with a new breed, or stick with my Buff Orps?