Barred rocks as a meat bird?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by burntmuch, Jun 2, 2010.

  1. burntmuch

    burntmuch Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 6, 2010
    Montrose MI
    I just got done with some cornish rocks for the freezer. Next batch is gonna be Freedom rangers. But I just got some chicks from my daughters classroom. They are about 3 weeks old. A couple look like barred rocks & one is a rooster. I think. One is a RIR I think? Im new, but have been looking at alot of pictures from the What breed is this thread. Now my question. Im very interested in hatching some eggs & raising them as meat birds. How long for a barred rock to get to butcher weight. I know they wont grow as fast as cornish rocks or Freedom rangers. But I would like to try a self renewing flock of dual purpose birds . I know I would have to do a couple small batches of Freedom rangers every year, Also Do I need to keep the Barred Rock rooster away from my Isa brown laying hens.? I stiil have to do some reading on the incubating & hatching aspects, but Ive got time.

    I have the space for 25 or so birds, So how many could I put in the freezer a year by hatching my own?
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2010
  2. SteveH

    SteveH Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 10, 2009
    West/Central IL
    50 years ago the Plymouth Barred Rocks were a popular dual purpose or meat bird and Rhode Island Reds and their cousin breed the New Hampshires were also . It will be difficult to find PBRs [ or others ] that are the size and quality for feeding out , even the best will not compare to a CX carcass in appearance or breast quantity , but some people prefer the taste of the old heritage breeds over the modern quick growing hybrids . If memory serves , those three old heritage strains bred for meat took around 18 weeks and produced a smaller carcass than a 7 week CX ; you may have to feed a hatchery strain longer . I'm sure there are others that have much more recent experience than me .
    Not sure why you ask about keeping the roo away from the ISA hens , but personally I would keep roos confined and as tender as possible .
    ETA: With 25 fertile hens and an incubator you can hatch more chicks than you would ever be able to use .
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2010
  3. petrelline

    petrelline Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 13, 2009
    Los Gatos, CA
    I raised hatchery (Meyer) barred rocks for meat last year. I fed them on 24% gamebird and free-ranged them. The roos were 4+ lbs dressed in 14-16 weeks; the hens were much smaller (I sold the hens as started pullets). This spring I hatched out a non-hatchery-quality barred rock roo from a mixed batch of eggs and at 16 weeks he was almost a half pound heavier dressed than the hatchery stock. In all cases, though, the rocks have narrow breasts and large leg quarters. They taste terrific. Here's a pic of a roaster: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lemay/4248113637/

    I
    love my rocks but of course they are not cornish cross. They are much slower to grow, they eat more feed and they have a narrower shape. If you're OK with that they breed just fine all on their own. If you want a more meat-like chicken you'd do better to start with a meat chicken and cross-breed, as some people here are doing with cornish X mixes and freedom ranger mixes.
     
  4. bnentrup

    bnentrup Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 5, 2010
    Central Indiana
    Very interesting read. I would be very interested in a 12-14 week bird that could gain to 4lb dressed averages.

    This is my theory.. on 20% mix (standard store bought chick starter) I would estimate weights for roos in the 3lb range dressed weight for 14 week birds. 24%, we see from the prior post a 4lb bird average... and my theory/question (for any who have actually done it) is to go with a 30% protein mix. My feed mill takes a 36% chicken nutrient mix and combines with fillers to get the protein ration/percentages that I request. I have been going to 20% for cornish and feel a bit on the shy side for growth in comparison to what others have posted for weight gains.

    The 36% chicken nutrient base is $16 per 50lb bag....and will probably be a $13 bag for a 30% mix-down.

    Your thoughts?
     
  5. burntmuch

    burntmuch Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 6, 2010
    Montrose MI
    Thanks for the input guys. I could deal with a 4 lb bird for the table. Not exactly cost effective in regards to feed. But thats not real important to me. since its only gonna be a small percentage of my meat birds. So if I was to save a Freedom ranger roo & a couple hens till breeding age??? would they produce freedom rangers. or are they terminal after 12 weeks or so.. Once again thanks for the input.
     
  6. SpringChickens

    SpringChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 1, 2009
    College Station, Tx
    I could be wrong, but I think the Freedom Rangers will live a long, healthy life (at least relative to the Cornish X). I believe they breed true as well - that's supposed to be one of their big draws - sustainability.
     
  7. petrelline

    petrelline Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 13, 2009
    Los Gatos, CA
    The freedom rangers are not terminal, they breed just fine. They ARE a hybrid and they will not breed true, but from what I have heard from people who have actually bred them is that the second generation is still a meat bird, but that there is a lot more variability in the grow-out rate. In other words you'll lots more small chickens and slow chickens, as opposed to a solid 10 weeks to 5 lbs from the first generation.

    As to the protein question, There's not really a linear relationship between the amount of protein you feed a chicken and the weight you get. (if that was true, we'd all be feeding chickens 100% protein and getting 10 lb chickens in a week. [​IMG]) The genetics matter more for a fast-growing bird than the feed does -- I've also raised buckeyes and marans and they take much longer to get up to weight even on the same feed. Also the higher protein feed is going to cost you a lot more. So there's a balancing act between how much protein to feed the bird and how much money to spend. I suspect that 24% is probably on the high side, but 20% might be low. I'm raising my current freedom rangers on 20% because that's all I can get in organic. We'll see how that works out.
     
  8. bnentrup

    bnentrup Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 5, 2010
    Central Indiana
    Quote:Well, not that I disagree with you Petrelline, and I know there is truth in your comment about protein, however I do know that the main reason you do not feed 100% protein is because it will cause protein poisoning. The main-reason you do not feed cornish X 24% or higher is due to heart and growth rate vs frame building. My theory though was simply that a bird such as Barred Rock, may be able to accept the higher protein as method to build a quicker meat bird.

    I guarantee there have been many chicken farmers who have tried it (a 30% protein feed) and found that yes, it will build a bigger bird more quickly- but the feed conversion ratio just not favorable due to cost as you have mentioned. Agreed, probably not on smooth curve as one would hope.

    The 36% package that the feed mill sells goes for $16 (not organic) for 50lb. In reality, that is not too much if you are comparing the feed conversion ratio of a Cornish (2/1) but if we are looking at a conversion ratio for the barred in the 4/1 ratio and 4-weeks longer.. OUCH - that may be the culprit.

    My hope is for data/studies. This indeed is intriguing.
     

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