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Best meat bird (not chicken)?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Duckchick2011, Dec 11, 2012.

  1. Duckchick2011

    Duckchick2011 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hey guys, I was on the look for some kind of good dual purpose meat bird to raise over the spring. I have done chickens and bob whites in the past but I had problems with both. The quail were beautiful and had lovely voices but they were VERY high maintenance and aggressive towards each other. We were lucky to get a handful of them to adult eating size. Chickens are cool but they are noisy, poopy, and like to peck holes in garden vegetables as well as leave little dino bird foot prints all over our neighboors cars. (I guess we just aren't set up right for them). And both of them take months to reach adulthood, but I really like raising birds, even with all the issues, so I am trying to see if there is a bird out there that will fit all of my families needs.

    Desired qualities:

    Small but big enough to eat
    Not very high maintenance
    Grows to eating weight quickly (my dad says this is a must).
    Reaches breeding age fairly quickly
    Has cool looking plumage
    Not too much space requirement


    At the moment we were looking at cornish game hens and courtinix quail but I'm not sold on either of them yet.

    Thank you for your time! [​IMG]
     
  2. LightningTFarm

    LightningTFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Have you thought of ducks? I raise Welsh Harlequins, which can lay over 300 eggs a year. They are beautiful, their meat is very good, and one duck of this size will feed two people. There are heavier duck breeds which are raised primarily for meat. Two breeds that I am looking into are Silver Appleyards and Saxonies, which have delicious meat that is less fatty than the Pekins raised commercially. Both are docile birds, lay around 150-200 eggs per duck per year, and are good foragers. I think both can be butchered at about 8-10 weeks, and are ready to lay in about 20-24 weeks. Ducks have much fewer illness and parasite problems than chickens (their normal body temp is 104 degrees). They need water deep enough to dunk their heads in, and will be cleaner and have about zero parasites if you give them a kiddie pool you clean out every few days. Mine are such fun to watch! If you are interested in ducks there is lots of info on BYC, and also on www.holderreadfarm.com. Dave Holderread is the foremost waterfowl breeder in the country, and I bought my ducks from his hatchery. He wrote the "Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks", as well as the Goose Book.

    My ducks are low maintenance. I have a gravity-fed dog feeder screwed to the outside wall of the duck house, inside their run. They eat out of that just fine (I have a small block of wood that holds the door open). Ducks will also eat just about anything, so they like lots of leftovers. Ducks are omnivores, so will eat meat. Since I have a laying flock and don't let them free range, I chop up cabbage real often and put a bowl of it in their pen. They will eat it like crazy, and also like (defrosted) frozen peas. Pretty much any kind of fruit or vegetable. I put up lots of tomatoes in the freezer this year out of my garden, and fed them chopped up tomato skins and seeds - they LOVED it!

    Just thought I'd give you another option!
     
  3. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

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    I can't think of any poultry that won't eat your veggie garden if they can get into it.

    Pekin ducks will reach 8 pounds live weight at 8 weeks. They are stylish looking, easy to care for, can't fly up onto cars, and they taste good (if your family likes the dark meat). They are an old and pure breed and reproduce true to breeed.

    Appleyard ducks take about 2 weeks longer to reach butchering soze, are more lean, and have very attractive plumage. They are not an old breed, but they are a pure breed and breed true.

    I like turkeys, but they don't fit your small requirement. Also, the heritage turkeys can fly with enthusiasm.
     
  4. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

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    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    Looking at your requirements, meat breeds of rabbit come closer to filing all your wish list better than anything else.
     
  5. Duckchick2011

    Duckchick2011 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 17, 2011
    Louisiana
    Thanks guys,

    I've hatched and raised ducks in the past and loved them but after having to clean out their big ol' pool through out a summer and having to deal with the mess these guys love to create I decided I was better off with a land bird, or at least something that didn't put all it's effort into making it's only swimming place duck muddy.

    I actually do have rabbits at the moment and came to similar conclusion when I was writing my list. They are perfect for our family but birds add something different to the mix and make everything more interesting plus rabbits don't lay eggs. [​IMG]

    Hmmmm, if I could find a way to keep ducks with less of a mess I would be sold on them, I always enjoyed their crazy behavior back when I had them and consequently the Pekin was always my favorite because it was the craziest and clumsiest of all of them haha...but that was also why we never ate her. [​IMG]

    Oh well, we will figure out something. Thanks for the help guys...if you have any extra thoughts though please don't hesitate to add them, I am going to go do a little more thinking.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2012
  6. pascopol

    pascopol Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Tampa Bay
    Agreed.

    The only "bird" you want to raise according to your requirements is called RABBIT.

    It is healthy eating and good for you too.
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. Duckchick2011

    Duckchick2011 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Haha, Alright alright, I get the picture. I guess I will invest the money I would have used on new birds into a better bloodline of rabbit. [​IMG] Which makes better sense than setting up a new animal set up anyway.
     
  8. Spifflove

    Spifflove Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am a duck lover myself but I would say cornish cross are what you need:

    1: Sit by the feeder [because they cannot stand]
    2: Ready in 8 weeks
    3. Big Breasted[​IMG]
     
  9. Duckchick2011

    Duckchick2011 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Interesting...I keep hearing about them on here.... but why can't they stand?
     
  10. Spifflove

    Spifflove Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They grow so fast; they simply collapse. Then they die by 10 weeks. That is why if I were to do it I would get a slow grower pure cornish, buff being my favorite. Long and short of it though is that you can close the coup door, add bedding weekly, and clean quarterly or semi-annually the deep liter. No more raids on the garden. No more roosting on the Mercedes.
     

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