Best meat breed with nice temperament?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by LisaChick1, Oct 23, 2014.

  1. LisaChick1

    LisaChick1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi there!
    We'd like to start raising some chickens to eat. We raise organic laying hens right now, and are curious what the best meat breeds are in others opinions?
    We'd love dual purpose if there are breeds that are good layers and GREAT meat... But our main goal is a meat breed so if the dual purpose compromises the quality of meat we'd rather not go for dual purpose
    So... Could you tell me:
    1) favorite meat breeds and why and what age you recommend to butcher?
    2) if you know of excellent meat breeds that can be descent layers with nice personalities... Sounds like the holy grail [​IMG]
    Thanks in advance!!!
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2014
  2. CharterChick

    CharterChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Austrolorps and Orpingtons are favorites of most. I have 1 of each. Both are docile and good layers but there is always the chance of getting a stinker. I have barnyard mixes as my meat chickens and I butcher them between 14-20 weeks depends on the size and if I want chicken for dinner in a couple nights. On cornish crosses i've heard of butcher ages as young as 8-12 weeks. [​IMG] We only hatch out a few at a time year round that way we can have fresh meat regularly.
     
  3. Bossroo

    Bossroo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The so called " dual purpose " chicken will lay eggs and produce meat, as such it means that they are mediocre at both. Nothing compared to the specialists like Leghorn for eggs or the Cornish X for meat. The Cornish X is the most efficient converter of feed to meat in the shortest time of all the breeds out there. One can butcher them at 35 days of age for the 2 +/- lb. " Cornish game hen" on buys at the stores. 6 - 8 weeks of age for 4-6 lb. friers . or a huge 7-12 lb. roaster at 12 weeks of age. Since they grow so fast, they will have to be treated slightly differently then the barnyard bird. Check here for prior posts on this subject, or a hatchery for proper protocols. [​IMG]
     
  4. LisaChick1

    LisaChick1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you both!!! I was reading other posts and the Cornish x is EVERYWHERE, and sounds like the way to go. We don't want to have to wait months and months before we can eat.... but a few people in the forums said its an unhealthy bird for us to eat..." This confused me as I assumed... Wouldn't that just depend on the diet and lifestyle I provide? This was just something I wanted to ask about as i am into health and nutrition facts etc and it kind of sounded like a red flag..... But these over all sound great!

    Thanks again!!!!!! [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2014
  5. CharterChick

    CharterChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    In my experience it's how you raise them. If you want fat birds fast stick the feed in front of them constantly. If you want leaner birds let them free range and feed them a certain amount once or twice a day. I did some that way and they didn't get as big but boy were they tasty! It's all in preference.
     
  6. Bossroo

    Bossroo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    " most unhealthy bird for us to eat " ... rediculeous statement around at best . Have those that claim this to show scientific proof that is published in a peer review journal of that statement ! [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. popsicle

    popsicle Chillin' With My Peeps

    My favorite DP breeds for a good carcass at a young age would be New Hampshire and White Chantecler. The Chanteclers are a bit calmer and quieter in my experience.

    ETA: "young age" = I usually process cockerels from straight run orders as they get big-enough-for-me or start annoying me with their crowing or hen-abuse. Usually between 12 and 25-weeks old.

    I generally order straight run assortments, so I've processed lots of young cockerels and old hens from many breeds, including: Yokohama, Sumatra, Brahma, Cochin, Easter Eggers, Leghorn, sex-links, generic red birds, etc.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2014
  8. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    How about looking at the Dark Cornish? I ordered some pullets this year due to their reputation as stellar broody hens. I got an Oops rooster and am very taken with him, and them overall. I plan on keeping the little group and breeding some tasty meat birds next year. The hens aren't wonderful layers, but they're not horrible from what I've read.
     
  9. CrazyTalk

    CrazyTalk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Most of the breeds like this just take way too long to mature - they're all bone and skin and feathers until they're 6 months to a year old, and you end up spending too much on feeding them.
     
  10. Kev

    Kev Overrun With Chickens

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    For non- Cornish X with GREAT meat, try checking out the "Rangers"- Freedom, Rainbow, Red etc.

    I got my first batch of Freedom and Black Rangers this year. They grow very fast yet are very active so if you free range, they would do great.

    The Freedoms are tame by being naturally not nervous at all- I don't handle birds at all(allergic to chicken dander) yet they act like they were "hand raised". No aggression towards people, not even pecking or biting when picked up. Individual cockerels did become rather aggressive towards other individual cockerels to the point they needed to be separated(not free range here). Some of the cockerels are very tolerant of each other though.


    The problem with Cornish X is they were bred to grow incredibly fast- too fast for their good. So if you;re not careful, they can run into all kinds of problems with messed up legs, ascites, hearts giving out because it can't keep up with the body growth rate etc. As said above, with care they can do fairly well on a strict diet and free ranging.

    As for the other breeds mentioned here- be aware they are comparatively slow growing to cornish X and rangers and generally produce a lot less meat. There are pictures here and there comparing carcasses of various breeds including DP vs Cornish or even the "Rangers".

    It would not be a bad idea to try several- Cornish X, any of the "Rangers", a dual purpose breed LINE bred with meat in mind as hands on experience to see which one fits your needs the best.

    I say line as there are breeds that are marketed as DP/meat however many lines within said breeds produce "skinny chickens".... so if say, Delawares or Dark Cornish or ??? catches your interest with meat in mind for that breed- make sure you get birds from a "meat bred line".
     
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