australorp/houdan over dorking/houdan; anyone done similar?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Phoenixxx, Dec 18, 2013.

  1. Phoenixxx

    Phoenixxx Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have a beautiful blue australorp/mottled houdan x who is weathering the harsh weather far better than his black australorp cousins (they're frostbitten, he's not even though his is the largest comb - a double one, at that!) so I've decided he's probably the better breeder. (Plus he's demonstrated great attack and defense ability, despite being low on the roo rung.) He's not mini-turkey-sized like the pure BAs but I found a lady selling dorking/houdan crosses. After some research, I find that the dorkings were/are a favoured table bird and quite sizable; I also found that houdans are supposed to be quite large, but in the pure form, stupid. (Lady i got greybeard from said so, too - " 'oudans, they are THICK!" But greybeard, being only part, is super smart!) Has anyone here any experience/comments on the crossing? I did search, with no applicable results. So, to condense: my intended offspring for meat would be 1/2 mottled houdan, 1/4 australorp and 1/4 silver grey dorking.
     
  2. Phoenixxx

    Phoenixxx Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oh, and of course any boys produced from my other breeds will be dinner, but - in getting BAs based on dual-porposeness - I'm disappointed in the tiny size of the BA hens. They're literally half the size of the boys so thank god they're great layers!
     
  3. LilyD

    LilyD Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't know about Houdans but I have dorkings and they are known for their abilities to impart their characteristics on crosses with other breeds. I do crosses between my dorkings and light brahmas and my dorkings and australorps and cochins. So far I have been totally pleased with the results. There was more breast meat per bird than the pure brahma or australorp and the sizes were quite nice. I say give it a try and see if you like the cross, if not you can always have dinner :p
     
  4. Phoenixxx

    Phoenixxx Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks! The lady with these pullets is asking higher than average, but she's also raised them strictly organic and free-range. Breast meat isn't a huge issue for me (i prefer dark meat) but I have noticed my houdan x roo is a far better flier than the pure australorps. From the photos this lady had, her birds also look longer in the body but with a well-developed breast so I imagine they will be great fliers as well. Yep, I think flying ability is a great trait, considering the neighbourhood wildlife, lol...

    Btw, how are your cochins for laying ability? I've been wanting that breed from day one because of their size and my climate but I can't find any good ones. I'd like to breed some feathered feet into my flock at some point without sacrificing egg production.
     
  5. LilyD

    LilyD Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The flying is a Dorking trait as well. This last year I had several of this years pullets and roosters who decided that roosting 20 feet up in the tree was the best place for them to be. Not so much fun when it was me at 5 feet nothing who had to figure out how to get them down. I settled for going out an hour before dusk and teaching my birds to "load up" in their coop at night before the tree roosters had a chance to fly up into the tree lol. A friend of mine lost 4 of his birds from my hatches this year because he left them there and a fisher cat climbed the tree and took them all one at a time. He came out the next morning and they were all gone.

    My cochins lay great (4 to 5 eggs a week) when they aren't broody. That being said they seem to go broody at least once in the summer and when they do that they stop laying altogether and won't stop being broody until I either let them raise chicks or put them in a cage in the barn without a nest until they start laying again and stop being broody. My Light Brahmas also have the feathered feet and lay about the same as the cochins but seem to go broody a bit less so I tend to get more eggs from them. They have great size definitely but tend to grow slower and take longer to fill out. Usually my pure Brahma roos take to about 24 to 30 weeks before they are ready to process. Adding the Dorking blood with theirs and I can usually process around 20 weeks instead. Not a huge difference but still good. The feathered feet trait does tend to transfer to most of the crosses as well and I have quite a few cochin or brahma crosses that lay really well year round.

    I am not a breast person either and I love the Dorkings short fat little legs and thighs lol. The meat is so dark it's almost purple and the taste is wonderful. Adding the Brahma and Cochin or Australorp and you get more dark meat with their longer legs so it's a win win as far as I'm concerned.
     
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  6. Phoenixxx

    Phoenixxx Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks so much! Yeah, the aussies are a yummy, dark purple meat... mmmm! Drumstick measured just shy of 7" at 7 months! I have been reading that certain cochins are better layers than others. For example, the only cochin breeder I can get hold of in my province breeds the partridge and they're advertised as poor layers. I found a breeder in the prairies that breeds for show AND productivity but it could cost me quite a lot to fly one of her blues over here - like $100 unless I fly over and pick one up (which would evidently cost more) :( My whole objective for raising my own chickens was for healthier food at equal to/lower than/slightly above commercial costs so the cochin may not be in my near future so I'm working with what I can find available. I think you're right and that grabbing these dorking crosses may well complete and compliment my flock - short of the feathered feet, lol!

    Btw, do you find that the feather-footed are more inclined to venture into snow and dig through it for grubs hiding deep beneath?
     
  7. LindaB220

    LindaB220 Overrun With Chickens

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    Jeez, after reading both of your comments, I wonder if I should worry about Dorkings. Love the thought of tastiness but flying? Too old to climb a tree [​IMG]
     
  8. Phoenixxx

    Phoenixxx Chillin' With My Peeps


    Most of my flock are flyers already. The houdan/blue australorp is the best, probably because the other boys don't like him. He likes being on roofs :/ I've found phoenixes up in the trees, the humongous beastly black australorps in trees and even had a few brown layers that would climb beyond my reach.... and yes, I've had to grab the ladder on more than one occasion :barnie
     
  9. LilyD

    LilyD Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They will go out when there is an inch or two of snow but then so do my aussies, cochins and dorkings. If there is more than say 6 inches of snow on the ground they will stay in the coop instead of going out unless I make them paths through the snow and then they will go out and play as long as there is a place for them to get their feet out of the snow.
     

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