1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Basic Questions from newbie - on breeds & sex

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Rachel&Martin, Jun 27, 2008.

  1. Rachel&Martin

    Rachel&Martin Out Of The Brooder

    12
    0
    22
    Mar 30, 2008
    Hi there - a little bit about us and our hens -

    we currently have small flock (6 hens and a roo) and keep them for egg production (for us and our neighbours). We now feel ready to expand into meat production for ourselves - mainly because we want to know that the life of the chickens we eat has been a good one and this seems to be the best way to guarantee it. We would like to keep one small flock, breeding from our own hens both to maintain our egg flock and produce some meat. At the moment we have a broody hen sitting on 9 eggs - although we have no idea if this will be successful.

    So my (very basic) questions are - firstly on breeds - presumably you could eat any chicken - so is the difference between egg and table birds to do with quantity of meat - or is the quality of meat on an egg bird also not so good?

    Our current flock is (to my best guess - these birds were inherited following the death of a family friend so I don't know for sure):

    Rooster = Sulmtaler
    3 Hens = Welsummers
    1 Bantam Hen = Lakenvelder
    2 other hens - unknown! - possibly a Wyandotte and an Australorp but not convinced on either

    Does anyone know what the quality of meat from these breeds is like? (We are not so bothered about quantity - unless someone corrects me here - as this is production just for the two of us - we will not be selling meat).

    Can anyone make suggestions of traditional breeds that are good for both table and egg laying (we may buy in some hatching eggs)?

    OK - next question is probably really stupid - but does the sex of the bird matter for meat production?

    Many thanks,

    Rachel
     
  2. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    24,442
    46
    371
    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    If you want a meat bird my best advise is to wait until fall and order yourself a batch of broilers. The cornish cross are the type of meat birds that develop the larger breast more like what you see in the grocery store.

    They grow quick and they eat alot. They are ready to be processed at 8 - 10 weeks, even better closer to 8 weeks. The chickens you buy int he grocery store are 5 - 6 weeks old to give you an idea.

    There are other broilers you can raise but you have to grow them out for a longer time to get the size on them.

    You can raise what they call dual purpose birds which serve for meat and eggs. They are heavier breed birds. You need to get them to about 12 weeks to butcher. But with this bird you won't get what you expect in contrast to a grocery store chicken. They are skinny, the breasts are thin.

    They work great for fryers and you can even pick them up from a hatchery sale for often under 50 cents each.

    If you choose a cornish cross be aware they can develop problems with their legs. They also can die over night. Generally it is not anything you did but instead it is the stress of their fast growth and their organs can't maintain and give out.

    Roosters grow faster and plumper than hens.

    I raise them in the fall. process int he late fall. The cooler/cold temps really help. Last fall I did not loose any birds at all.

    \\There are many threads here discussing individual experiences with the cornish x. If you use the search feature you'll find them to be very informational reads.

    God luck with your choices.
     
  3. Rachel&Martin

    Rachel&Martin Out Of The Brooder

    12
    0
    22
    Mar 30, 2008
    Thanks for the advice - we are now waiting on whether or not our broody hen successfully hatches some chicks (she's been sitting for 13 days now) - if she does our immediate choice is made for us - if she doesn't we will be picking some new additions for the flock - will definately consider keeping separate broiler birds if the quality of meat is that different...is there a reason for waiting until fall?

    Thanks again,

    R
     
  4. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    24,442
    46
    371
    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    I wait until fall because heat stress can kill them super quick.
     
  5. greyfields

    greyfields Overrun With Chickens

    4,889
    16
    261
    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    It depends where you live. In the PNW if you are west of the Cascades, heat is a non-issue. You can raise then nearly year around. I'm not sure where you live.

    In the long run, you will be far better off raising 'crops' of broilers rather than using dual purpose birds. This minimizes the duration of having multiple flocks requiring different feeds and handling. You can use a food-savr and freeze the birds with little loss of quality. Once they're processed, then you're back to having just the one flock to feed and manage.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by