Best meat bird for me?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by LaynaDon95, Apr 17, 2012.

  1. LaynaDon95

    LaynaDon95 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We are looking at raising our own meat birds. I don't like the cornish varieties because they don't last long enough to reproduce. I want a big bird, that grows quickly, that won't gorge themselves to death before I can hatch their eggs. I was looking at Jersey Giants but they grow too slowly. :\ What is a good breed that will fit my requirements?
     
  2. ChickenJerk

    ChickenJerk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They do not exist.
    You are going to have to give up on something.
     
  3. Daisy8s

    Daisy8s Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My brother had a successful experience raising Dark Cornish on pasture. He raised 17 birds on one bag of feed! The birds were cooped in a tractor at night but allowed to free range in a pasture (mix of vegetation and access to manure from cows and horses) during the day. At night he'd place one cup of purchased feed in the tractor to get them to come inside for the night--to be safe from predators.

    The birds took a few weeks longer to reach butcher weight but it was still a pretty short process, inexpensive, and they certainly didn't "gorge themselves to death" as you mentioned. Of course he did not keep them till egg laying age.

    It seems that if you keep a bird long enough to get to egg laying age then that isn't an efficient way to get meat. And, if you wait until an egg layer is too old to lay eggs anymore then you've got tough meat that'd be fine for making stock or soups but not table eating. So, why try to have a meat bird that will also lay?

    Why not get some birds that are great layers and other birds that are great meat birds? I'm curious about your reasoning.
     
  4. LaynaDon95

    LaynaDon95 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I know there is something out there that will be passable.
     
  5. LaynaDon95

    LaynaDon95 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hmm. That's something to think about.

    I'm not talking about keeping all of them until laying age, and certainly not passed laying age. I mean just keeping 1 or 2 hens and a rooster for breeding purposes to replenish my meat birds so I don't have to order them every year. I'm looking for a healthier, more cost effective way to eat. I want to buy some meat birds, eat all except 2 or 3, breed them once or twice to get more chicks, and then eat them and keep 2 or 3 of their chicks to breed, rinse and repeat. =P

    They have to have meat birds at laying age in hatcheries to be able to sell their chicks, so there has to be a way to keep them without them eating themselves to death. :\ I'm just trying to figure out how to do that and with what breed.
     
  6. Life is Good!

    Life is Good! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What you are considering is what 'old time' farmers did - kept a small flock through the winter, hatched out (or let hatch) as many chicks as possible come spring, let them grow until fall when all but a few went to 'freezer' camp for the winter use - those few were the foundation for the next year's flock. However, with the creation of fast growing birds, a new 'breed' if you will emerged - the broiler.

    Generally speaking, heritage breeds were the ones farmers kept 100+ yrs ago - most get to 'market' weight by 17-20wks old. But by then, their meat may not be suitable for today's palatte as it's firmer, tougher and not what we're used to any longer.

    Decide on what you are seeking - trying to keep a few broilers alive through the winter is all fine and good. But remember, these creatures are designed to eat! They do eat more feed than other breeds, which will increase your costs to keep them. Depending on where you are in Texas, you might get away with foraging them to offset feed costs throughout the winter. Here in Illinois, that doesn't work for me! However, I'm a firm believer in experimentation! Try keeping them through the winter one year - keep track of all costs and see if it's a viable option for you.

    As for our decision, we have Black Java's (a heritage breed) for eggs. We've purchased Freedom Rangers for meat. I can tell you the Freedom Rangers have eaten WAY more than the Black Java's ever do. But they've doubled their weight thus far every week, where the Java's doubled weight in 2 weeks or more depending on individual. The growth rate of Freedom Rangers is phenomenal! And that's the difference between a 'layer' and a 'broiler'. Black Java's were the market chicken of choice at the turn of the last century...but growth is nothing compared to today's varieties.

    I hope this helps - if a breed like this existed, the hatcheries would go out of business. For none of us would ever buy new chicks again, we'd hatch out our own!
     
  7. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

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    Pekin ducks will do what you are looking for.
     
  8. LaynaDon95

    LaynaDon95 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    okay, thanks for the info. :)
     
  9. LaynaDon95

    LaynaDon95 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I hadn't considered ducks! I feel kinda dumb now... We have lots of access to Muscovies, but I don't know how their growth rate compares to Pekins. *Google*
     
  10. yinepu

    yinepu Overrun With Chickens

    the meat is a lot different too between a muscovy and a pekin (at least it is to me).. when I cook a muscovy I treat it more like beef or veal
     

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