Best rooster for MIXED flock???????

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by C1RCA, Aug 12, 2011.

  1. C1RCA

    C1RCA New Egg

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    I have a quick question guys, I have a pretty mixed flock of Production Red, rhode island red, americuana's., I want to also integrate a few more egg laying hens i.e. ( white leghorns), and some for meat i.e. (australorp's and Cornish Rock Cross). What would be a good dual purpose roo for all of them and hopefully the upcoming hybrids.... [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2011
  2. cubalaya

    cubalaya Overrun With Chickens

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    cubalaya
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  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I'm a bit confused on the Cornish Rock Cross? Are you talking about keeping the Cornish Cross broilers on a restricted diet to try to keep them alive so you can breed them or just adding pure Cornish for the increased breast meat as compared to the normal dual purpose chicken. Or do you mean you have access to some some that have already been crossed between Australorp and the CX broilers?

    For your basic question, any of the standard dual purpose roosters should meet your goals of egg laying and meat. That is why they are called dual purpose. I'd suggest any of the Rocks, any of the Wyandottes, Australorp, Sussex, Orpington, Delaware, New Hampshire, and I'm sure I am forgetting a few. I'd suggest you not consider the Brahma or Jersey Giants because they grow and mature so slowly and are not real efficient at an eggs per pound of feed or pounds of meat per pound of feed basis, unless you pretty much let them forage for their own food so you can afford to wait.

    Since you want them for meat, I suggest you consider light colored breeds, like the white, buffs, Delaware, or New Hampshire. When you pluck a chicken, it is real hard to get all the pin feathers. On the light colored birds, you can't see the pin feathers that well so you get a prettier carcass. Those dark pin feathers really show up. That's why commercial broilers are white and the main commercial breeds before the broilers were developed were the Delaware, New Hampshire, and White Rock.

    How much white meat do you want as compared to dark meat and what are you willing to give up in egg laying to get that? The Cornish have bigger breasts but they are not known for being great egg layers. This is the pure Cornish, not the broilers.

    Hope this helps a bit. Good luck!
     
  4. johnsons-r-us

    johnsons-r-us Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow, Ridgerunner, you have been around the block with chickens! [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I have similar questions as we will try to do the same thing....mix eggs and meat birds. I love a mixed flock though. It's great having different colors, shapes and personalities around. We got our pullets this past spring for eggs. Had a roo in the bunch. Spent so much time on this forum I'm very interested in raising some meat birds. I would like a sustainable flock, not just buying the CX and processing them. I know many are searching for the perfect crosses to do this. I don't need perfect. Just good enough. It was interesting to know about the pin feathers and skin color. I had wondered why people preferred the lighter skin. Though maybe it was taste.

    I would like to integrate some cornish. Don't they provide more white meat? At the risk of sounding ignorant here, with so many having years of experience and me just a few months with a handful of chicks, this is my thought process. I would like hens for eggs, both to sell extras and eat for our family, hatch out chicks to sell and some to keep, save money from chicks and eggs to pay for processing of my own meaties a couple of times a year. Flock needs to be sustainable on it's own with the exeption of adding new birds as existing birds age. I cannot process my own birds, not because of attachment but the gross factor. [​IMG] I can't ask hubby to either. However, I want to get a process down where the chickens kind of pay for themselves. Am I making sense or dreaming? As far as feed cost, my chicks currently free rang from dawn to dusk. Locked coop at night. I need to be able to let them do this for my own peace of mind. Can't stand to keep them locked up.

    Would this be possible with only one roo? Does having a mixed flock matter for: Eggs, selling chicks, long-term meat options?

    Yes, I'm taking advantage of your knowledge [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Thank you!
     
  5. C1RCA

    C1RCA New Egg

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    Good suggestions, thanks. I was just wondering what was the best roo for both egg laying and a pure meat. I'm considering keeping the leghorns seperate with a rooster of thier own kind as to not lose any egg production. The others would just have a good dual purpose roo to keep them laying a plentyful amount of eggs, and also kept very meaty. In your opinion what would be next in line from the cornish, in terms of growth rate? I know the Cornish hens mature at 10 weeks, any other hens closer to that, with better laying production?
     
  6. kinsey228

    kinsey228 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wyandottes are a good dual purpose breed.
     
  7. chicken crazed 1o1

    chicken crazed 1o1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    you should get Black sex link roosters as the hens lay 300 plus brown eggs and the roosters and hens r big and hardy .
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2011
  8. C1RCA

    C1RCA New Egg

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    johnsons-r-us you read my mind, thats the perfect question in my situation.....[​IMG][​IMG]
     
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Would this be possible with only one roo?

    The main problem with a sustainable flock and one rooster is that you lose genetic diversity. You need to replace your rooster every couple of years because as they age, they can lose fertility or the vigor to keep all hens fertile. I generally replace mine every year with one I've hatched out, but every three or four years I bring in a totally unrelated one to get that genetic diversity back. As long as you don't see anything weird showing up in the chicks, you can do OK for a few years without bringing in new blood, but it does catch up with you eventually. It's not always the visible things. The flock can lose fertility or productivity over time due to inbreeding unless you know enough about what you are doing to actively select for the traits you want. I add new blood by either getting new chicks from a hatchery or getting hatching eggs from other chicken owners around here. I don't bring in new chickens from anywhere other than a major well-known hatchery because of the biosecurity reasons. Hatching eggs are pretty safe too. If you have more than one rooster, you can keep that genetic diversity much longer, but only having one rooster makes that rough.

    Does having a mixed flock matter for: Eggs,

    Not really. As long as you actively select your breeding flock for good egg layers, a mixed flock does not matter. The best laying flocks in the world will not remain good laying flocks for many generations unless you actively select the breeders to maintain that trait.

    selling chicks,

    This one could be a factor. You can usually get a higher price for "purebred" chicks than for mutts. This one can get touchy. I think ethics get involved. At the top are the breeders that know what they are doing and are very actively breeding for show quality chickens. The can get and deserve to get a very high price for their chickens. Some people that don't even know what is in the Standard of Perfection for the breed take hatchery chicks and try to sell the eggs and chicks for show quality prices. To me, that is wrong. But some people take hatchery chicks and sell the eggs and chicks for more than they would mutt eggs or chicks, but at a more reasonable price. I see nothing wrong with that. As long as yiou are honest and upfront about this, I don't see any ethics problem at all. And you can get more for purebreed chicks. So if you are going to sell eggs and chicks, this should be a consideration.

    long-term meat options?

    Again, not really. The trick is to select your breeders for the traits you want. I generally eat my smaller ones and breed the larger ones. Over time, the basic rooster size increases so you are eating larger roosters. I don't worry about hen size. I eat my excess hens and pullets but they are not there really for the meat, but the eggs. And I usually find that my smaller hens lay better than the larger ones.
     
  10. figsonwheels

    figsonwheels Out Of The Brooder

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    We have a mixed flock with an Americana Roo. He does a great job in protecting and servicing the girls.

    Our leghorns have never gone broody and we've had them for 3 years, so if you keep a roo with them, I'm not sure of the breeding potential unless you incubate them. They are still laying big beautiful white eggs after 3 years (we get about 35 a week from 9 hens-we used to get 60+). Our Buff Orpingtons have been our most reliable broodies, but we've sold most of her chicks (at mutt prices), so I can't testify to the chicks' sustainability potential.

    We hatched 6 more mutt chicks last month and we'll probably keep those as we thin the rest of the flock for meat. I can tell you that we incubated 13 eggs, including many from the Leghorns, but none of those hatched. Five of the chicks came from Easter Egger eggs and one came from the Buff. We did have an incubator problem, so that may contribute to the low hatch rate too.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2011

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