Are Barred Rock or Rhode Island Reds any good as meat birds?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by scbuckeye, Apr 6, 2010.

  1. scbuckeye

    scbuckeye New Egg

    Apr 6, 2010
    Upstate SC
    I have 4 Barred Rock chicks that we want for laying hens. We are now thinking of getting some more chicks to raise for meat. The place I bought the Barred Rock chicks has more of those and also Rhode Island Reds. Several websites I have checked say they are dual purpose chickens, but I wasn't sure if they would be okay as meat birds or not?

  2. slackwater

    slackwater Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 1, 2010
    Though I haven't processed mine yet, they are supposed to be fine as meat birds. They do take longer to grow out than cornish Xs though. And may taste a little different, but I can't speak to that yet.
  3. Big George

    Big George Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 19, 2009
    The barred rocks will be a little bigger than the RIR's both will make a nice meat carcass. Be prepared it is NOT going to look like a cornish x rock (the kind you find in the grocery store). I would keep them on a higher protein feed and finish with corn. They the roos will take 16 weeks. They great stewed.
  4. Bossroo

    Bossroo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 15, 2008
    I have raised those breeds for over 6 decades. The name of "dual purpose" is now a has been as the breeders have concentrated on the egg production and forgot about the meat portion of the equation. I got on average 3.5 pound carcass at 18 weeks, while my test batch of the Cornish X 3 years ago gave me 4-5 1/2 pound carcasses at 6-7 weeks of age. If one raises the Cornish X to the 18 week time frame, one will have a carcass of 10+ pounds. Read, understand and follow the grow out protocall for these birds and you will see a HUGE difference in time as well as meat yields. They are now my bird of choice for meat. For best results especially in this economy, raise the BR, RIR and NH pullets for eggs and the Cornish X for meat.
  5. petrelline

    petrelline Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 13, 2009
    Los Gatos, CA
    What bossroo says is absolutely true. Although the BR and RIR were traditionally dual purpose breeds over the last 100 years they have been mostly bred for egg production by the large commercial hatcheries, so the birds tend to be on the small and narrow side. For the meatiest bird in the shorted amount of time you cannot beat the cornish X.

    That said I raised barred rocks last year for meat, and with a high protein meat bird-specific diet the cockerels were 3.5-4 lbs after processing in 12-14 weeks. Large leg quarters and narrow breasts (which is fine for me, I like dark meat), and they tasted terrific. I would not hesitate to raise rocks again (and I would choose rocks over RIRs), but they do take more time and more feed. It depends on your goals.

    I am doing this as a hobby but if I were going to really concentrate on dual purpose meat breeds I would seek out small breeders who were working with traditional dual purpose chickens and trying to preserve the original meat side of the production equation. A lot of work is being done with the buckeye in this respect -- if you search back on the site you'll find a lot of discussion about buckeyes here.
  6. scbuckeye

    scbuckeye New Egg

    Apr 6, 2010
    Upstate SC
    I don't know if this makes a difference or not, but the place I would get them from hatches them (local person) so I am not ordering them from a hatchery.
  7. gkeesling

    gkeesling Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 24, 2008
    Hagerstown, IN
    I butchered some RIR at 15 weeks. They are good for stewing and to put in Chicken and Noodles, but they aren't good for roasting or frying. I tried roasting one and i was way to tough.
  8. ericsplls

    ericsplls Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 25, 2010
    It's all about what you want. If you just want to raise your cockerels from eggs you hatch any dual purpose will work. Yes buying from an individual may be better if they have better quality birds. Go look at them and see what you think. I personally wouldn't order a barred rock or rir for the specific purpose of raising meat birds. Cornish x rocks are fine. So are rangers, delewares, cornish, buckeye, and many other breeds.

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