best breeds for eating?

paddyg84

Chirping
6 Years
Mar 5, 2013
135
3
83
Hi I have read on here a good bit about Cornish x meat birds. I live in Ireland and can't seem to see any for sale. What other breeds would be good?

Also second question. I already have 8 free range egg layers. I am considering building a new coop and run with around 8 hens and a rooster to breed for meat. I don't want to have to buy eggs or day old chicks as they seem very costly where I live. I would like to be self sufficient and just let the hens naturally breed then eat the offspring when.they arrive. Does this seem like a good plan. What are the pros and cons of doing it this way?

Thanks for any help
 
Last edited:

Ridgerunner

Free Ranging
11 Years
Feb 2, 2009
24,513
12,998
707
Southeast Louisiana
I suggest talking to your agricultural ministry on which breeds are available for meat in Ireland. They may be called something else, like “broilers”. I’ve worked enough overseas to know that things don’t always translate that well, even if both countries speak the same language. You have to check locally.

Your plan is reasonable but there are challenges involved. You won’t be able to match the Cornish X by breeding birds yourself. The Cornish X are bred to be harvested at 6 to 8 weeks. They are not meant to live any longer than that. Since they are so young, they are extremely tender and can be cooked practically any way. Other “dual-purpose” chickens will not be harvested until much later. There is just not enough meat on them to butcher them that early. That means you have to alter your cooking methods to account for the increased age. That generally means you don’t fry them, but instead cook them slower and with more moisture.

Your biggest challenge may be that not all hens go broody. Whether or not a hen goes broody at all or when a hen goes broody is out of your control. Some hens do go broody a lot. That is an inherited trait.

I try to do what you are talking about, but I don’t have enough broody hens to hatch and raise the chicks I need for meat. I use an incubator to hatch the chicks and have to brood them myself. Any hen that does go broody gets eggs to hatch, and I’m trying to breed for more broodiness in my flock, but I’m not there yet.
 
Last edited:

Tuhmu

Songster
7 Years
May 22, 2012
1,460
168
212
North Dakota
The Cornish really are a nice tasting bird, but they do have their problems.

I would say that any of the heavy breeds like dorking, Sussex, or orpingtons would be a tasty bird. Last year I only processed two roosters, a gold laced Wyandotte and a partridge rock. I think I processed them a bit early though, they could have done with some beefing up.
 

paddyg84

Chirping
6 Years
Mar 5, 2013
135
3
83
That's some great info thanks.

If they only went broody once a year that would be fine as I would be happy with perhaps 30-40 a year which from 8 hens would be possible wouldn't it? I can easily get Sussex and I think orpington.

Also with the broodiness issue I could get my silkies to hatch some each year as they love getting broody

Re eating older birds I don't mind making casseroles or stews as I love them.

Does that sound sensible?
 

paddyg84

Chirping
6 Years
Mar 5, 2013
135
3
83
On second thoughts possibly get an incubator then I can decide when to do a batch. And when my Silkie is broody I will have eggs for her.
 

Tuhmu

Songster
7 Years
May 22, 2012
1,460
168
212
North Dakota
All three of the breeds I listed are supposed to go broody, so between them and some silkies you would probably be ok. Though having an incubator would be nice too.
 

Ridgerunner

Free Ranging
11 Years
Feb 2, 2009
24,513
12,998
707
Southeast Louisiana
When I have a hen go broody, I normally give her 12 eggs to hatch that are the same size she lays. Your Silkies are probably bantams and won’t be able to handle that many eggs.

“If” is a really big word. If each of my hens went broody once a year, I’d have no need for an incubator. I normally have 7 or 8 hens in my breeding/laying flock. I’m lucky to get two or three broody hens a year. I’m trying to select pullets from hens that went broody since it is an inherited trait. I used to be lucky to get one broody a year so I am making progress.
 

paddyg84

Chirping
6 Years
Mar 5, 2013
135
3
83
Well done on your progress getting more broodies and thanks for the advice. Will just be getting an incubator I reckon.
What breed do you have?
Think I will either go for jersey giants or light sussex
 

Ridgerunner

Free Ranging
11 Years
Feb 2, 2009
24,513
12,998
707
Southeast Louisiana
I don't have a breed. I call them a barnyard mix. I'm trying to develop a flock of red mottled and black mottled green egg layers that often go broody, lay a decent number of decent sized eggs, with the cockerels getting big enough at 18 to 22 weeks to make a couple of good meals. I'm still years away.
 

Latest posts

Top Bottom