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Heritage whites from S&G experience - Page 2

post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 

Final impressions: Have harvested two of my four birds at eight weeks of age. The first to go was one that had become lame in the last few days. I did not realize he was so lame he could not feed and had been hungry. On butchering, I discovered he had a broken leg, and his pelvis snapped in my hands. He had beautiful meat, though, and tasted delicious. One hears of meat birds having trouble with their legs and their bones not keeping up with their weight gain. I do not know how this one broke his leg. The second bird was the largest rooster, who dressed out beautifully. I expect him to also be delicious. All in all, I am not satisfied with this breed. I needed a breed that could be managed about the same as my layers, and these are not like that at all. They need nearly entirely different care. They never reliably put themselves to bed in the coop, and had to be carried to the coop every night. While they would lounge in the grass and peck at some things, they are too large to scratch, and so their foraging skills are extremely limited. I also noticed that they are not able to stand on one foot in order to scratch themselves. The promotional blurb from S&G suggests these birds will be excellent free rangers. They will not. They may do fine confined to a tractor or a small pen. But if you are used to vigorous layers that do chicken work all day, you will be disappointed in these birds. My large rooster was by far the best of the group, showing interest in me and his surroundings, and making some efforts to lead the flock and forage. But the inability to balance on one leg long enough to scratch with the other severely limited his skills. All the others were inferior to him in their quality and liveliness. These birds are best suited for pure production in close quarters, locked away from predators. They have little defenses against predators or other chickens, and are prone to lying in piles which can smother smaller chickens. I can't swear I will never raise these again, but I will try a bunch of other breeds before I come back to them. Not a good breed for the hobbyist.
 

post #12 of 15

Thank you for providing us an update! Just wondering if you have found any other breed that worked well as both a forager and meat bird?

post #13 of 15

I will be curious to see what others with more experience raising meat birds might recommend.  I raised a batch of 50 dual purpose breeds for meat and although I am very happy with the flavor, even at 21 weeks there was very little meat after processing. I kept 20 for layers and the other 30 went in the freezer - those 30 birds would have equaled 10 cornish crosses.  I don't mind keeping and feeding birds longer but I would like to find something that provides a more substantial return.

 

The dual purpose breeds I raised were Jersey Giants, Langshans, SG Dorkings, Welsummers, Orpingtons & Dominiques. 

post #14 of 15

Good to know! Surprising that even the Jersey Giants didn't weigh in more for you. I was thinking Black Australorpes or Black Copper Marans would make great dual purpose birds. The ones I have had are huge! They are good foragers too. The black bird in my pic was a maran. She loved to indulge though so her size may have been a one off!

post #15 of 15

There is always sacrifices when it comes to fast growth,,high egg laying, or meat. Fast growth caused health issues,,while high egg producing breeds barely has any breast meat on them. True meat birds don't lay many eggs,and often goes broody,as with the cornish breed. My father raised lf dark cornish and exhibited them 30 years ago. While I'm getting older each day,I have decided to once again breed true heritage dark,and white lf cornish birds.

 When my father had these birds I was only maybe 10 years old. Much of what he taught me about showring worthiness is long forgotten. But what still holds true is this breed forages,,puts on  a HUGE breast and I'm just betting they do not cost as much to raise to butcher weight as the cornish x-breed birds of today. Granted,they are not 9-12 pounds in 2 months but between feed consumption,death loss,and foraging I'd bet penny per penny,these birds will rival and beat the fast growing hybrids of today. 

 I would pose a test Maybe we should begin a new thread on this? 


Edited by frenchblackcopper - 10/21/15 at 4:48pm

"Excuse me for working so hard but I must support the 12 milllion who are on Welfare"

 

 

Bronze, Opal B/S, Midnight B/S, Purple B/S. Black Shoulder Silver Pied ,Cameo w/e, Peach, India Blue, Taupe, Charcoal

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"Excuse me for working so hard but I must support the 12 milllion who are on Welfare"

 

 

Bronze, Opal B/S, Midnight B/S, Purple B/S. Black Shoulder Silver Pied ,Cameo w/e, Peach, India Blue, Taupe, Charcoal

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