Best homemade meat breed?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by bnentrup, May 24, 2010.

  1. bnentrup

    bnentrup Songster

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    Well, I figured I would start this post..and sure there have been similar posts in years past. However, I am doing a batch of Cornish X right now, but can't help to notice how quickly my Rhode Island Red (likely a rooster) is growing in size. He is about 5-weeks old, and about 1-lb. I can see that in 14-16-weeks he may be at the 5lb range max and that would be a decent meat/feed conversion bird.

    What is the fastest growing meat bird that one could propagate at home without prize stock?

    Anyone have any experiments/tests based on weekly data?
     
  2. PurpleChicken

    PurpleChicken Tolerated.....Mostly

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    If you feed a RIR roo high protein and keep him confined he may hit 5 pounds by 16 weeks but that's still pushing it. His processed weight would be around 3 pounds.

    Most of the hatcheries offer cheap standard roo varieties where you can order them cheap. I did this one year and even at 18 weeks most of them were small birds. Plus the feed ratio was lousy.

    No standard breeds come close to Cornish Cross. Freedom Rangers come close but aren't really as breed and from my understanding don't breed true.
     
  3. Buster52

    Buster52 Songster

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    Quote:Whatever it is, it will probably be a cross between two heritage breeds, due to hybrid vigor of a relatively fast growing breed mixed with a good meat breed. Or a breed with a good frame and a bird with good meat qualities.

    Right now I'm experimenting with crossing a Delaware rooster over Dark Cornish hens, and a Dark Cornish rooster over Del hens.
     
  4. bnentrup

    bnentrup Songster

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    Quote:Whatever it is, it will probably be a cross between two heritage breeds, due to hybrid vigor of a relatively fast growing breed mixed with a good meat breed. Or a breed with a good frame and a bird with good meat qualities.

    Right now I'm experimenting with crossing a Delaware rooster over Dark Cornish hens, and a Dark Cornish rooster over Del hens.

    Buster, do you have any data sets yet? What weights are we looking at for a 12 week period with the Dark/Del combos? If not, what is your hypothesis?

    Also, I know that it becomes dangerous to feed cornish X a high protein ration if they are not deliberately encouraged to be active (24%?? or so). If I am using a 24% or higher feed with a heritage bird, will there be heart attacks at 10-12 weeks and will I see a good bird weight as a result? I know that high protein does not always mean larger.
     
  5. Olive Hill

    Olive Hill Crowing

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    Quote:Whatever it is, it will probably be a cross between two heritage breeds, due to hybrid vigor of a relatively fast growing breed mixed with a good meat breed. Or a breed with a good frame and a bird with good meat qualities.

    Agreed.

    What you need to remember though is if you want to take up a breeding program with hatchery run chicks you need to start with a bulk order. Hatcheries are breeding for egg laying ability, not for size so you're going to want to have a big batch of chicks from which to choose the best for your breeding purposes. Order 50-100 of whatever breed it is you want to build your breeding flock from and select for the traits you're wanting to utilize in your program. Eat the rest.

    We're playing with Australorps and Brahmas here.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2010
  6. bnentrup

    bnentrup Songster

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    Quote:Whatever it is, it will probably be a cross between two heritage breeds, due to hybrid vigor of a relatively fast growing breed mixed with a good meat breed. Or a breed with a good frame and a bird with good meat qualities.

    Agreed.

    What you need to remember though is if you want to take up a breeding program with hatchery run chicks you need to start with a bulk order. Hatcheries are breeding for egg laying ability, not for size so you're going to want to have a big batch of chicks from which to choose the best for your breeding purposes. Order 50-100 of whatever breed it is you want to build your breeding flock from and select for the traits you're wanting to utilize in your program. Eat the rest.

    We're playing with Australorps and Brahmas here.

    Very interesting stuff! I am now learning how this chicken thing can become addictive. It is a mix of science, history, and culinary reward! I am focused now on my cornish X and the qty 50- in my brooder. I have plenty of heavy layers right now, but would like to tweak and work with the concept of building a backyard brew of meat in the future. The focus is not a cost issue, but rather a challenge and reward.
     
  7. dancingbear

    dancingbear Songster

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    I wouldn't go with hatchery stock, because of the dilution of the breeds. I doubt you'd really save any money, and definitely not save any time, buying 50-100 birds of each breed, just to get 2 or 3 sort-of-ok breeders of each breed, rather than just find a breeder, and get some good birds to start with. They don't need to be prize winners, you can look for birds that have good genes, but maybe have off-SOP color patterns, or some other defect that only affects showing quality. Trying to breed up from hatchery stock can be done, but it takes a long time, and this sort of project is already a long drawn out affair. I'm in year 3 of my project, and my first real results will be this summer. It's taken this long to work everything around to having some of the birds I actually want for the project. And, I still don't know if what I have right now, will yeild what I want.

    Adding a few more years onto that, by starting with hatchery birds just isn't worth it, to me.
     
  8. Wolfwoman

    Wolfwoman Songster

    May 5, 2010
    Chickaloon, Alaska
    I am thinking of keeping one or two of the CX hens and breeding to a White Sexlink roo and see what I get. Thoughts?
     
  9. Bossroo

    Bossroo Songster

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    I have scientifically selectively and intensively raised, bred, and crossbred the RIR, NH, BR, etc. for six decades... I will say that I never came even close to the feed conversion rate and meat production or even the time factor to produce a harvestable carcass anywhere similar to the Cornixh X. I have had considerable success results with ducks, pheasants, rabbits, sheep, and horse ( not to mention laboratory highly inbred lines of mouse, rat, guinea pig at UCD) production however.
     

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