Best Heritage Breed for Meat?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by zephyr66, Jul 18, 2012.

  1. zephyr66

    zephyr66 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 5, 2009
    Ramona, CA
    Hi all... I will start raising and processing my own chicken (for my partner, as I'm vegetarian - how did this happen? ha ha) but don't want the cornish cross. Want to go with a heritage bird that is not altered or unnatural. I've done a little research and read that Dorkings are a great heritage meat bird and have very white meat. Plus, I could help a rare breed by keeping some as egg layers. Also heard that RIR are very good. Can anyone give me their input on this? I'm assuming I'll have to raise them 20 to 22 weeks but will have them hatched and raised by my silkie so don't have to worry about egg hens picking on them as they'll be integrated day one and I have a very large area.

    Look forward to any input!

  2. jaj121159

    jaj121159 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 27, 2010
    Northeast Nebraska
    I got some free RIR roos from a local hatchery and raised them to 14 weeks before processing. They dressed out at 2.5 to 3.5 lbs. Very good.
    1 person likes this.
  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    You will often get a better carcass from a heritage bird. Finding true, old fashioned birds is difficult as they are rare and getting on a waiting list is important. Over on the Heritage Large Fowl thread, you'll find a number of folks who are nationally recognized breeders of large fowl. Some also hang out on the Old Timers Pull Up A Rocking Chair thread.

    Dorking, Cornish (not the cross), Delaware, Buckeyes, White Rock, etc. All great meat birds, slow growing and really difficult to find. If heritage, true heritage is what you're after, you really have to hit the research trail. BYC, curiously enough, is a great resource, once you learn to find the right people.
    2 people like this.
  4. SteeleFaithFarm

    SteeleFaithFarm Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 3, 2012
    Union, Illinois
    I love my Delawares they are only 3 months old but they are quiet and friendly. They will lay at AB average rate and the males will make a good meat bird. I don't know if they are still listed as critical but they were developed to be the meat bid of the future. Then the Cornish Rock came along.
    1 person likes this.
  5. mstricer

    mstricer Overrun With Chickens

    Feb 12, 2009
    When you say unnatural or unaltered, what do you mean. CX's have been around for a long time they are chickens they hatch out of eggs. They are extremely tasty. They also act like other birds also, mine walk around eat bugs and grass and sleep and eat feed and drink water. The difference is that some grow them to freakishly gross size and all they do is sit around and eat. Sent from my Desire HD using Tapatalk 2
  6. zephyr66

    zephyr66 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 5, 2009
    Ramona, CA
    despite your sarcasm, anything that cannot live to a normal age and that outgrows its skeletal system in a short amount of time is not natural to me. I refuse to have a bird that lays around because it's too difficult to walk and will soon break its legs under the weight of its own body. it's fine if you choose to raise these, but please keep to the topic of my post. i didn't ask for opinions about natural or unnatural, but asked about a good heritage meat bird.
  7. punk-a-doodle

    punk-a-doodle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2011
    I haven't had a heritage bird, and can not raise meaties of my own yet. I will be able to try a naked neck here in the fall as our local supplier will have them, so I'll try to remember to post on that. I have heard good things about cuckoo marans, dorkings, naked necks, and mixes, such as RIR and cornish (not cornish X) mixes, but no personal experiences on those.

    But, maybe you can find someone who is in your area who raises heritage birds, try a few, and see which one you like best? I'm trying my best to find them now to try so I wil be able to narrow things down later when I buy. :)
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2012
  8. zephyr66

    zephyr66 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 5, 2009
    Ramona, CA

    yes, it's hard! there are some different opinions out there but i do keep getting a lot of feedback on the dorkings. they are hard to find, but i might have a lead on some hatching eggs that can be shipped to me so i'm putting the word out to try and get a silkie hen to set on them. my broody RIR is no longer with me so i have to get a broody hen. i won't raise them myself - too much work and the introductions to one another is vicious! good luck on your search as well! you're probably right - just gonna have to try one and see which one is liked best. thanks for the input!
  9. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 26, 2011
    Upper Peninsula Michigan
    Good-quality Dorkings do have good carcass qualities, however they are VERY slow to mature (leading to increased expense) and also have a tendency to stop laying suddenly and go broody for long periods.

    I am surprised that Delawares are not more common then they are, well-bred ones are excellent layers and make great free-range or pen-raised meat birds that mature at a reasonable rate. They are also friendly and calm.
  10. ButchGood

    ButchGood Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 14, 2012
    Central Texas
    I just processed 2 Buff Orpingtons and 1 Australorp this morning. They look better than I expected. In 6 weeks I'll have 9 RIR's to process.


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