Anyone ever use New Hampshire Red's for meat chickens

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by my3jsons, Aug 5, 2012.

  1. my3jsons

    my3jsons Songster

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    Feb 15, 2010
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    We are using Freedom Ranger chickens right now for meat chickens but had thought about using New Hampshire Reds instead and just butchering the roos and keeping the pullets for laying.

    Has anyone used this breed for meat? How old were they when you butchered them? Could you tell a difference in quantity or quality of meat in comparison to a Freedom Ranger (or other chicken bred for meat)?

    All advice would be welcomed...

    Thanks,
    Kim
     
  2. Kevin565

    Kevin565 Crowing

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    I believe NHR are considered a Dual Purpose breed.
     
  3. booker81

    booker81 Redneck Tech Girl

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    Will you be purchasing hatchery quality or breeder quality birds? I've processed a few different types/breeds of chickens, and find that most breeds carcass out about the same type of birds ("dual-purpose") tend to be smaller and less muscle than their breeder quality counterparts. Neither will give close to the carcass characteristics of a CX, but they are still tasty. I put up an article and some pictures here of some different breeds and ages I've processed:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/comparison-of-breeds-and-ages-of-chickens-for-meat
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. Deb B

    Deb B Chirping

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    Jul 31, 2012
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    According the my Dad, what you are suggesting is what my grandparents used to do back in the day. They bought 50 straight run New Hampshire Reds each spring. They butchered the cockerels when they were 8 to 10 weeks old for frying chickens. They culled the hens that weren't laying well for stewing chickens, and replaced them with the pullets.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2012
    newbiecrystal likes this.
  5. enel 1

    enel 1 Songster

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    New Hamshire...no "red" rhode Island ...yes "red" FYI
     
  6. AlbionWood

    AlbionWood Songster

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    We got straight-run NH a couple years ago and butchered the cockerels. I think we did them at about 16 weeks. Large thighs, long narrow breast, pretty decent yield for a non-Cornish bird, and WAY better eating. Meat was a rich dark red color, thick yellow skin. Not a good roasting bird, but the breast filets were superb fried, thighs were great in stew or curry (and I think would be awesome for sausage). Legs were long and a bit stringy but terrific in soup/stew.

    Drawbacks: Long time to butcher, you have to put up with a month of nonstop crowing, lots harder to pick than a Cornish. Don't bother trying to process as a whole bird - getting your hand up inside that long narrow cavity is impossible - just cut them apart after picking (or skinning). NH roos can be aggressive.

    I haven't tried FR yet but the NH was, in my opinion, way better eating than the CX - if you like firm-textured meat with a strong chicken flavor. The cost/lb is probably 3x though. If my wife had not declared "No More Roosters" in no uncertain terms, I'd be getting straight-run NH and Delawares, and culling down to the best for a breeding flock.
     
    1 person likes this.

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