Best egg chicken

Dfarago

Chirping
Feb 23, 2019
89
105
76
High Desert, California
Questions are at the bottom

My husband and I would like to add some more chickens to our little farm. We have a rooster and hen we got from a neighbor to just roam around the yard for big control and chicken tv. We started with the rooster and three hens but one got killed by the other hens and another got eaten by a pig we were housing for someone.

There is a company we are in discussion with to sell vegetables to and we’re considering offering eggs as well. Since I’m new to chickens (I’ve been raising ducks the past year) I’m not really sure what the best breed to get is. I’ve also been considering getting some meat chickens.

I’ve heard broiler chickens are the way to go with meat, but I’ve been told they get so big their legs break when they reach a certain age. And I would want to keep at least one rooster and two hens to keep a supply going. Is there an alternative to broilers? Are the roosters good to eat as well, cuz someone told me their meat sucks.

So my questions are:
1) what is a good, healthy, well producing egg laying chicken?
2) what chicken is good for meat production?
3) do broilers really get broken legs if they live too long?
4) is there a good alternative to broilers?
5) with meat birds are the roosters good to eat too or is it just the hens?
 

BGcoop

Songster
Aug 5, 2018
423
1,246
196
1) I am partial my dual purpose breeds, Rhode Island reds, Orpingtons, Wyandotte’s, Easter edgers.
2) I found my dual purpose breeds put on a decent amount of meat - especially the RIRs with those roosters growing quite rapidly.
3) I haven’t raised broilers myself, but watched my mil attempt to raise them and they were much harder due to health concerns because of their growth rate.
4) as I already mentioned I like dual purpose breeds.
5) I didn’t notice any difference in taste between the boys and girls butchered at the same age, however the roosters were a fair amount larger.
 

rascal66

Songster
Sep 10, 2015
437
589
207
Washington
Some great dual purpose are birds like Australorps, Brahma, Wyandotte, Rhode Island Reds, Jersey Giants, Orpingtons and many more. Australorps and RIR are known to be excellent layers and general good all raround dual purpose. Brahmas and Jerseys are known to sometimes grow out slower (for meat) but still are large birds that lay pretty well.

A better alternative to Cornish Cross are Freedom Rangers, they don't quite grow as fast as Cornish and do well free ranging. But still hear that they are good broilers. Just depends on what you want.. Cornish grow fast and pack lots of meat.
Any breed and sex can be eaten in my opinion. Popular "Frypan" breeds are Rhode islands, new hampshire, barred rock, wyandotte, and buff orpingtons.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium member
7 Years
Nov 27, 2012
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So my questions are:
1) what is a good, healthy, well producing egg laying chicken?
2) what chicken is good for meat production?
3) do broilers really get broken legs if they live too long?
4) is there a good alternative to broilers?
5) with meat birds are the roosters good to eat too or is it just the hens?
1. If you want lots of eggs, get high production hybrids...and replace them every year or two for constant egg production.
2. Cornish X will be ready to harvest in 8 weeks.
3. Yes, the CX can.
4. Several options, but take longer to grow out.
5. You can eat any bird....depends on how you rest the carcass and cook the meat.

All your questions also have an 'it depends' answers...many ways to raise chickens to feed you.
 

rascal66

Songster
Sep 10, 2015
437
589
207
Washington
Should also note, its all preference. Rooster meat might "suck" for some because its thought to be tougher. I cant vouch for that opinion. Once a bird is free ranging and beyond 6/7 months old, you get a strong chickeny flavor and the meat toughens. I personally love it. Older birds make great soup since its such a strong flavor.
 

BGcoop

Songster
Aug 5, 2018
423
1,246
196
Should also note, its all preference. Rooster meat might "suck" for some because its thought to be tougher. I cant vouch for that opinion. Once a bird is free ranging and beyond 6/7 months old, you get a strong chickeny flavor and the meat toughens. I personally love it. Older birds make great soup since its such a strong flavor.
My kids actually PREFER to eat the older tougher birds. They claim they like the “chew factor”.
They’re weird:gig
 

NatJ

Songster
Mar 20, 2017
402
894
146
USA
So my questions are:
1) what is a good, healthy, well producing egg laying chicken?
The various sexlinks are popular for good reason: they lay lots of eggs their first year. They are not known for living a long time, though. If you just want lots of eggs, you can get a new flock of sexlink pullets each spring, have them lay through fall/winter/spring/summer, and butcher them in the fall when the next year's new pullets are starting to lay.

Many other breeds are good layers, and some will live much longer. For each year a hen lives, she will tend to lay less eggs than she did the year before. The eggs will be somewhat larger in later years than in her first year.

2) what chicken is good for meat production?
Cornish Cross is the best if you want it to get big and do it fast. All chicken meat in an average grocery stores is from cornish cross chickens. Any other kind of chicken will look skinny by comparison--you will look at it and say, "where's all the meat?"

3) do broilers really get broken legs if they live too long?
Sometimes. Or they just get too fat to stand up, so they sit in one place and eat or starve (depending on whether that place is next to the feeder.) Or they have a heart attack and you just find them dead.

The solution is mostly just butchering them at the "right" time, and not trying to keep them longer. Restricting their food a bit can help--either take the feed away every night, or turn the lights off every night so they cannot see and thus will not eat.

4) is there a good alternative to broilers?
If you want a chicken that looks like the ones in the stores--no.

If you don't mind it looking "skinny," then ANY chicken can be eaten. They all taste like chicken.

They are all very tender if you butcher them young (8 weeks or so).

I have eaten lots of chickens, of many breeds, and they all tasted fine to me. Old ones are tough (make stew with them), young ones are tender. This applies to tiny little banties, big Brahmas, skinny Leghorns, and so forth.

Any of the dual purpose breeds will be bigger (heavier) than the light-weight egg breeds if they are the same age.

5) with meat birds are the roosters good to eat too or is it just the hens?
Both genders are equally good. The males usually grow faster, so people sometimes prefer to raise all males for meat.

For dual purpose chickens, the usual thing is the keep the females for layers, and eat the males young. Any extra females get eaten young as well. Hens get eaten when they're old enough that they lay less eggs.

If you want to hatch and raise your own laying hens for future years, you are certain to end up with extra males. You can plan on eating them, and then figure out whether to raise more of the same for meat (butcher both genders in that case), or raise some other kind especially for meat. It helps to assume that the chicks will be about 2/3 the "wrong" gender, no matter what gender you prefer. (Less disappointing that way!)
 
Jun 22, 2019
62
263
106
We currently have five laying hens -- four ISA Browns who are now in their fourth year, and one Sapphire Gem pullet. We used to have six of the ISA hens, and once they began laying, we were getting about three dozen eggs total per week, give or take a few eggs. They slowed down during their first winter -- by how much, I can't remember -- and then sped up again in the spring.
My Sapphire Gem seems to be laying pretty well, pumping out an egg daily or every other day during the winter, and we're still getting about a dozen eggs total per week from her and the four remaining ISAs.
I haven't had any real health issues with the ISAs. One of them may or may not have had a mild case of pinkeye or infectious coryza, but everyone's fine and she survived that. Another one became egg bound once, but that can happen to all hens.
By the way, the ISAs lay pretty brown eggs that vary in shade from hen to hen, and the my Sapphire Gem pullet lays beige-colored eggs.
Good luck with your flock.
 

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