Best meat breeds.

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by familyfarm1, Feb 26, 2015.

  1. familyfarm1

    familyfarm1 Overrun With Chickens

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    I was thinking about raising some meat chickens but would like to start simple. I’ve been trying to find the best breed and Cornish Cross seems to be popular. I’ve read a lot of good and bad things about this breed, but over all almost everyone have said that they get leg problems. What are chances of them getting leg problems? I want a breed that needs low maintenance and isn’t prone to problems. Any advice would be appreciated!!
     
  2. LoveThemBirds

    LoveThemBirds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Rhode Island reds.

    They were bred for both meat and egg production.
    If your planning on just culling them,leg problems shouldn't matter.......
     
  3. cmchickens

    cmchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you're willing to restrict feed and provide lots of space, Cornish X are amazing meat birds. With proper management they will not have leg problems. Check out this thread for some great information:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/...-your-cornish-x-meaties-tractors-do-not-count

    Or you might consider a Ranger type bird. They are called different things a different hatcheries: Red Rangers, Freedom Rangers, Rainbow Rangers. They take 3 or 4 weeks more then the Cornish X, but are still good sized with minimal health problems.
     
  4. familyfarm1

    familyfarm1 Overrun With Chickens

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    Would it be a good idea just to buy dual breed roosters(such as, Barred rock, Buff Orpington, Wyabdottes, ect.) and raise them for meat birds? Just wondering if it is a smart idea. Thanks for your help!
     
  5. cmchickens

    cmchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What kind of time frame are you wanting? DP roosters will be 16-18 weeks before they are of decent size. The will likely be crowing by that age. Ranger birds are ready in about 12 weeks, and the Cornish X in 8 weeks.
     
  6. cmchickens

    cmchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I personally don't get DP roosters because I feel they take too long, don't have the muscling I want, and I don't really want 50 crowing roosters in my pen. But if you are open to waiting, and are okay with the tougher meat, DP roosters are a good, sustainable, and likely cheeper option.
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    You just can’t beat the Cornish X, Cornish Cross, Cornish Rock, Broilers, whatever you call the hybrid meat chicks for feed to meat conversion. That’s the chickens you buy at the store. The down side is that you have to buy the chicks. It’s not practical for us to try to keep them and breed them.

    They are so good at converting feed to meat that they are ready to butcher at 6 to 8 weeks. You have to butcher them at this age (unless you restrict their feed, which can get tricky) because they grow so fast their skeleton can’t keep up and it breaks down from all that weight or their heart just can’t pump enough blood to keep them going and they have a heart attack and die. If you control their feed some and butcher them when it is time, you should not have a lot of them breaking down and dying, but you may have a bit of a learning curve in getting that right.

    The dual purpose cockerels do not do that good a job of converting feed to meat. You don’t have the breakdown problems with them that you do with the broilers but you have to feed them a lot longer. It costs a lot more in feed costs per pound of meat you get. Because they are older, the meat it more flavorful and can be tougher. You can handle the toughness issue by changing the way you cook them, use more moisture and lower heat. Some of us prefer the flavor of the dual purpose cockerels but for someone used to the chicken you buy at the store, the meat may taste a little strange.

    If you try to hatch your own dual purpose chickens, half will be female. I eat every bird I hatch, male and female, but the females don’t have a lot of meat on them, even if you wait until they are older hens. There are only two of us so even a decent sized pullet gives us two meals, but many people want to talk about the males only when they talk meat. If you don’t eat the females you hatch, what are you going to do with them? Of course you can always just buy dual purpose males from a hatchery.

    You cannot beat the efficiency of the Cornish Cross for meat but they are higher maintenance. You also have to butcher them when they are ready. The dual purpose cockerels cost more to feed but are require less maintenance. Some people consider them an inferior product but I personally like that flavor.
     
  8. fadedracer

    fadedracer Out Of The Brooder

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    If I might add a suggestion, I would raise pioneers. Murray McMurray hatchery sells them. They have a very desirable carcass when processed, and they grow fast with no leg problems etc. They have got to be the best forager of all the meat birds I have raised. I have raised chickens for 46 years now, and they are better than the cornish cross chickens, you don`t have to hold feed or process them asap, as they don`t die of heart attacks etc. But be sure to process them early because they will grow extremely large fast. I would not suggest you keep them for layers, because the hens get too big and fat to lay properly. But for wonderful foraging meat birds you just can not beat the Pioneer chicken.
     
  9. Kildare49

    Kildare49 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It sounds like you are settled in the idea of dp cockerels. Do you live in a area with a lot of chicken folks?

    I do. And most can not bring themselves to cull cockerels. You may have a good supply source for your meat birds.

    I do Cornish x & dp cockerels. I have never had leg or heart issues on either. Both require mgmt & study.

    If you want to grow a lot of meat with minimal mgmt then you may want to switch your game plan to meat rabbits.
     
  10. familyfarm1

    familyfarm1 Overrun With Chickens

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    I planned on getting hens to add on to my flock and might just get some straight run DP breeds and keep the hens for laying and cull roosters, that's why I asked if it was a good idea. Thank you everyone for you fantastic advice!:bow
     

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