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Best tasting heritage breed meat chickens????

post #1 of 54
Thread Starter 

I am interested in hearing from anyone who raises heritage breed chickens for meat.  What breeds do you raise and how old are they when you butcher?  How is the taste?  I do not want cornish X .  I would like a breed that I can raise naturally and grow naturally.

Thanks

post #2 of 54

I dont know about a heritage breed but , I really suggest a standard breed, barred rocks and speckled sussex are wonderful birds to keep, matter of fact you may get a roo from each that you may not wanmt to eat, plus they are great layers


ok heres what we do roughly as per season  (keeping the roo approx 16 weeks or 3-4 months)

spring
let any hens that want to brood, brood (as production starts to pick up as far as layin goes)
order chicks in the mail, and raise anything we need to purchase, (its turkey season so that puts some fresh turkey in the freezer)
any roo in the fall from last year should be big enough for the freezer, in a couple of week the hens from the same group should be getting to lay
(it takes roughly about 20 weeks for them to lay)



summer
letting hens brood
if any of the spring bunch is ready to go ill take em
(they would have to be first thing in the spring)
neighbors  usaully buying hens as fast as we can get them feathered out


fall
same, but my do batch of cornish x to make up for more hens then roos hatched


now winter gets kinda tricky
anything that causes problems (roos and any unwanted animaL gets dispatched)
I  like to process in the winter as naturally you have more fridge space as cooler temps, and birds are hoitting the feed more
all our  birds free range all year long

to maybe to save a lot of typing
if you have birds that will brood, and you let them youll have more chicken then you will know what to do with,
if your raising chickens for meat for you and friends like your doing your eggs, your gonna need to order some chicks in the mail,


Edited by cw - 12/13/09 at 12:24am
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post #3 of 54

we butcher all unwanted roos (the ones that attack the kids) and its plenty for us, seems like im always killin chickens, for the deep freezer 
http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/20950_p1080355.jpg
that is a 3 point grader blade to the right of him, he is huge thats the speckeled sussex roo, we got

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post #4 of 54

oh yea what ever you go with will be 100 times better then store bought

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post #5 of 54
Thread Starter 

At what age do you butcher the sussex or barred rocks?

Thanks for all your comments!

post #6 of 54
Thread Starter 

Do you raise them just for meat purposes?  I currently have 48 laying hens. RIR, Wyandottes and Black Austrolopes.  I purchased them for laying mainly.  I thought later when the production really decreased I could butcher.  but based on comments in this forum, it seems like 1 1/2 year old chickens are good for the pressure cooker only.  so I'm trying to decide how I should go about raising really good tasting standard chickens.

Thanks for your ideas.

post #7 of 54

do you sell eggs? (you almost would have to for 48 layers
we raise them for dual purpose, the females provide more then enough eggs for us (5 member family)(and i guess we could sell some)
they wont lay quite as much as your rir but would come fairly close, the advantage is the roos get  pretty big before you know, (they dont perform like a cornish x)but they are affordable, and i believe the quality is much better, 
that said if we have plenty of eggs, we let are hens hatch out them out. for more meat. and or layers.  we have a waiting list of neighbors who want our speckled sussex started pullets, when they start hatching again.

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post #8 of 54
Thread Starter 

Yes,  I sell eggs to many,many friends.  I originally bought 24 layers and then bought 24 more layers the next spring, because I had so many people  wanting eggs. I could raise 100 layers and still sell out of eggs,  don't know if I want to go that big, but I have the room and setup for my free range hens.  I do have 2 roosters that are great watch dogs, have never lost a bird in 1 1/2 years! 

I'm not sure what to do now.  We did have to butcher one rooster, so. so mean, but we haven't eaten him yet.  He was a little over 1 year old and was silver laced wyandotte. 

I'm not sure whether I should butcher my older hens this spring, their egg numbers have dropped quite a bit, and the feed bill is adding up, although they free range all day long, which helps the feed bill.

I would really like to raise a nice standard breed chicken for meat.  I just don't know what breed and how old till they are butchered.  I will have plenty of stewing hens from my layers, but I would like some nice tasting meat chickens.

Thanks,

post #9 of 54
Thread Starter 

cw,

I originally had the intention of raising my own chicks.  thats why i ordered the roosters.  I have RIR(22), silver laced wyandottes(10), black autrolops(12),and auraucana(4).  How do you go thru the year cycle.  Do you raise new chicks in the spring, butcher in mid summer roosters only? and then keep laying hens for how long?  I think I understand that standard breed chickens need to be about 16 weeks to butcher?

Thanks

post #10 of 54

thats about right on at least 16 week, but as long as they are under 8 months of age (i ve never butured one older for consumption)there not too tough, (i allow mine to spend at least 24 hrs in brine), great for grilling
now i dont imagine your rir go broody, so if you want chicks you ll have to hatch with an incubator, if they decide to brood let them dont try to break em, now with the chicks youll hve some roos and pullets, save your pullets to replace your layers if possible(i ve never had to replace a layer due to a stop in egg production to many predatators)
now to breed you have to save some roos (pick qualities you like in your roos and pick some and no matter how hungry you get dont eat em)

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