Best cross (from pure breed parents!) for backyard meat chicken

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by macgro7, Jan 5, 2016.

  1. macgro7

    macgro7 Chillin' With My Peeps

    What two pure breeds would be the best to cross for meat?
    I have leghorn, rhode island red and some other hens, what cockerel would be the best to produce birds with some meat on them that grow fairly fast?
    I was thinking of Rhode Island Red, if I find a big meaty one. Shamo or Aseel? They have a lot of breast meat but grow slowly, perhaps the crossbreed will grow faster?
    I don't remember ever seeing Plymouh Rock around our area, which is a shame...
    My other bets were Brahma or Cochin.
    Any suggestions?
  2. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    Sussex are the original English meat bird. Leghorns are too lightly built for meat birds. Brahmas and Cochin will produce big, heavy birds, but they won't be particularly fast growing.
    If you have a RIR rooster with Light Sussex hens, chicks will be sexlinked. You will know at hatching which are males and which are females. Pullets will out lay their mothers, and the cockerels will reach harvest weight by about 12 to 14 weeks old.
  3. brummie

    brummie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 30, 2013
    Any 2 DP birds crossed with each other will give you decent meat birds. At this stage the strain of bird you have will be far more important than breed.

    For some of the best crosses:

    Indian Game (Cornish) x Light Sussex
    Indian Game (Cornish) x RIR
    RIR x Light Sussex
    Wyandotte x Sussex
    Dorking x Sussex
    Dorking x Indian Game (Cornish)

    These are traditional crosses for meat in the UK, but honestly, any 2 DP bird crosses will do, unless you specifically want more breast meat, in which case use either Dorking or Indian Game (Cornish) as one of the breeds.

    A note about the Leghorn. Don't let people put you off about Leghorns for meat. People are spoilt with the fast growing broiler industry and they want tons of breast meat from every chicken. IF you appreciate legs/thighs, leghorns will work fine for you. I have personally tried a Leghorn x Dorking for meat and they were almost as good as my utility strain Indian Game (Cornish) x Sussex. The leghorn x droking were between 4-4.5 lb at 16 weeks, with excellent bone to meat ratio.

    I can also tell you that before big business took over here in the UK Brown leghorn x Light Sussex was a popular cross because the pullets make ecellent and attractive layers and the cockerels were great for meat. The pullets were 4lb at 18 weeks and roos im guessing must have been about 5-5lb..5lb That is pretty respectable.
  4. macgro7

    macgro7 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Do welsummer some have good meat on them? They are about the size of rhode island red?
    I wouldn't know where to get meat strain rhode island red here. I love near melton mowbray cattle market and mostly buy poultry from there but you never know what you're actually getting.
    I might get the Indian game.
    I asked about welsummer because my wife wants something nice to look at and I want something which is economic and produces good meat and eggs, although I get eggs from my other hens.
  5. brummie

    brummie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 30, 2013
    Welsummers are slightly lighter than RIR, so the crosses should theoretically be slightly less productive in terms of meat.

    However when crossed with another heavy breed like the Indian game or dorking, you will still get a good amount of meat. But that really depends on what you consider to be a good amount of meat and in what amount of time. I am happy with 4.5lb (processed weight) in 18 weeks (for rooster), but some may not be happy with that, especailly those used to the fast growing broilers. A good welsummer crossed with a good heavy DP breed should get you that.

    On the bright side a lighter parent breeding flock of welsummers will be more economical than say a parent breeding flock of Indian Games and give you more eggs. If you have 3 parent welsummers vs 3 parent Indian Games, the welsummers will eat less and give more eggs. The amount of extra meat an IG cross (the offspring) will give will not make up for the extra economic cost of the parent flock.

    Best thing to do is experiment, if your not happy with your welsummers crosses, eat them and try something else next season.
  6. Hiltonizer

    Hiltonizer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 30, 2011
    Central Maine
    I just put my first Red Cornish / White Rock cross eggs in the incubator... so hopefully I'll have some results in 12-14 weeks. Cornishes are a large, breasty bird, and Rocks are large and fast growing.... the white should predominate for a cleaner carcass. This is the original basis for the modern Cornish X, but of course not whatever F2 they use from proprietary lines.

    Most breeds today are bastardized from hatchery stock bred for egg production, and don't have much of their historic size when the commercial lines were developed. Wherever RIR's are in some equations are probably best replaced with New Hampshire Reds, those are a more meaty fork of the RIR.

    This is a great watch from the 50's when there was a big push to breed meat chickens from varying crosses:

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