Best Reproducible Meat Bird

LilyD

Crowing
10 Years
Jan 24, 2011
3,286
4,270
452
Bristol, VT
My Coop
My Coop
Quote:
I process more depending on size than age. I like my birds to dress out between 5 and 6 pounds. With Dellys Usually that can be any time between 18 and 24 weeks (around 4 and 6 months). Roosters are usually between 8 and 10 pounds live weight hens closer to 7 or 8. They are usually fully grown by then. Since I keep the ones that grow fastest with the best feather pattern(has to be a good looking well rounded bird) right now the birds I am processing are not quite what I am looking for (they are basically culls, the smaller slower growing birds) but the more that I keep the best birds and cull out the less perfect, the closer to perfect my meaties will get. I am hoping for having them process ready between 16 and 24 weeks and to get larger meatier birds as I go but I'm not to that stage yet. I am still kind of in the beginning of the program, just feeling my way but I am liking the results I get so far. I do rest my birds after processing until they are less stiff and I salt water brine them or marinate them with my cooking seasonings before cooking them which makes the meat much more tender. The article I read on processing Heritage birds said that you can process roasters ( which is what I mainly use) any time between 6 months and a year the only difference is that you would cook the older roasters slower and at a lower temp, 300 degrees for 30 minutes per pound versus 375 for 20 per pound which is what is suggested for store bought birds.

I would also like to add to the list of breeders (Love Whitore birds and their look) for Delawares:
1. Paul Harter who sells chicks but not hatching eggs for his birds,
2. Sandhill is another good source they do both Dellys and Brahmas and their birds look really good.
3. Stacy Tate also does nice heritage Dellys

My program for my Brahmas is similar to the Dellys. Boys are between 12 and 13 pounds live weight and girls between 8 and 10. They can be processed at around 18 weeks and will dress out 5 to 6 pounds (7 to 8 pounds live weight). My boys seem to grow a bit slower than the girls but they are both seeming pretty large and well built. Haven't processed them yet but this is what I have gotten for information from the breeders who sold me the eggs for my birds and it seems right on the money. My birds by 8 weeks surpassed my other large fowl birds in size and weight but kept the temperament of a lap chicken. The only negative is that they are very shy of new people and take a bit to warm up but they will follow me around for treats wherever I go.


I hope this helps.
 

GoChick

Songster
9 Years
Sep 16, 2010
375
17
126
Thanks, LillyD!

I just bought Delawares from Stacy Tate - 4 pullets and a cockerel, from some she got from Whitmore. she's been great I haven't gotten them yet, but she told me she'll choose nice pullets, knowing I want to breed for meat.
 

LilyD

Crowing
10 Years
Jan 24, 2011
3,286
4,270
452
Bristol, VT
My Coop
My Coop
Quote:
I have been chatting with her since this spring and she sent me some hatching eggs and is sending me more either Monday or Tuesday. She is an amazing person and great to deal with. Does she live close to you or is she shipping your birds to you? She would be a great person to have as a mentor if you have questions as you get going.
 

chickened

Crowing
9 Years
Oct 2, 2010
6,398
92
263
western Oregon
I have found that by crossing a good size fast maturing strain of Australorp with my DC you will get a plump bird in about 4 months that will weigh about 5 to 6 pounds. I have crossed DC with several good layer breeds and the Ausrtalorp seems to do best but I got my stock from a hatchery that promoted quick maturity in his strain. The hens that I have now from that strain are 8 to 10 pounds at 1 year old.

A good heavy S&E quality Cornish will put some meat on most any DP layer.
 

GoChick

Songster
9 Years
Sep 16, 2010
375
17
126
Quote:
I have been chatting with her since this spring and she sent me some hatching eggs and is sending me more either Monday or Tuesday. She is an amazing person and great to deal with. Does she live close to you or is she shipping your birds to you? She would be a great person to have as a mentor if you have questions as you get going.

Oh, I wish she lived close, but she's almost 6 h away. We plan to meet mid way or so, for me to get the birds.

I plan to let my Brahma rooster and the new Delaware free range together. In your experience with both breeds, do you let them together? My Brahma is so sweet, I'm afraid he'll be hassled by the Delaware. How's the Delaware's temperament?
 

LilyD

Crowing
10 Years
Jan 24, 2011
3,286
4,270
452
Bristol, VT
My Coop
My Coop
Quote:
I have been chatting with her since this spring and she sent me some hatching eggs and is sending me more either Monday or Tuesday. She is an amazing person and great to deal with. Does she live close to you or is she shipping your birds to you? She would be a great person to have as a mentor if you have questions as you get going.

Oh, I wish she lived close, but she's almost 6 h away. We plan to meet mid way or so, for me to get the birds.

I plan to let my Brahma rooster and the new Delaware free range together. In your experience with both breeds, do you let them together? My Brahma is so sweet, I'm afraid he'll be hassled by the Delaware. How's the Delaware's temperament?

They are both such sweet breeds I think you will be fine letting them run together. Actually right now mine are together as well and both the brahmas and dellys are lap chickens. So far I haven't had any issues with them. My layers can be brutal though so I would have a hard time pitting all of them together. When I am not collecting eggs for hatching I plan to let them all run together since I free range my birds in a really large fenced in enclosure but right now I am trying to get better birds which match what I am looking for so a lot of my birds are younger. I havent had any problems with either breed being mean and the littler birds can run right with the older ones without getting hurt, in fact they do escape frequently and I find them in with the brahmas eating and running around like they are big birds already lol.
 

ijon1

Songster
10 Years
Jan 26, 2009
342
2
131
gaines, michigan
I have three chicks that hatched this spring. They are a cross with a freedom ranger hen and a dark cornish rooster. They are very dense and heavy even though they had no special feed. They are very hardy birds. Good luck.
 
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chickened

Crowing
9 Years
Oct 2, 2010
6,398
92
263
western Oregon
I have done this cross and they get huge and had no health issues. You get better results by breeding the offspring back to the DC.
A.T. Hagan :

Quote:
This is the very cross that I am seriously considering doing myself. Please keep us updated on how those birds do for you.​
 

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