Breed suggestions again because I just can't make up my mind :)

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by jasmer, Mar 22, 2013.

  1. jasmer

    jasmer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hey guys, the hubs and I have been talking about chicken breeds again. We're really considering Dorkings but thought I'd pop in and see if I can get some more breed suggestions before we take the plunge and buy a bunch.

    We live in North Idaho. Until last week we still had over a foot of snow on our property, most of it's gone now, but we still have some patches that should be gone by the end of the week. We're still getting daily snow flurries as well but it doesn't stick. We live on 5 acres of pine forest that we will be cleaning out and grooming to grow some kind of pasture.

    So that's the gist of where we live--long, cold, snowy winter, warm spring, summer, and fall. We also want to completely free range our chickens--no fence except what goes around our property. We have open areas on the property where I want to grow a nice pasture blend suitable for chickens, sheep, goats, and rabbits. We let our current potluck of a flock free range all day, and it got me to thinking about meat or dual purpose (but preferably meat) breeds that are actually adapted to the kind of area we live in. Good foragers, alert, hardy birds, coloration that doesn't stick out like a sore thumb, etc. Anybody have any suggestions on some meat or dual purpose breeds that would do really well where we are?

    Dorkings seem like they would do well. Maybe Buckeyes, too. Any other suggestions? We want to maintain our own self-sustaining flock of chickens so I don't think commercial hybrids will be an option (yet), but we're probably going to raise Freedom Rangers this summer to get our freezer filled. Any suggestions greatly appreciated. Thanks guys :)
     
  2. AlienChick

    AlienChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Black Australorps are excellent foragers, docile, large enough for dual-purpose, and do well in the winter.
    Barred Rocks are just as good (although may not be as docile).
    I would also check out the heritage breed section for good dual-purpose birds.
     
  3. jasmer

    jasmer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I forgot all about australorps. We have a couple black australorps and we really like them. We also have a few buff opringtons, and we thought about raising them for meat but they just stick out like a sore thumb. Hoping to find something that isn't so...orange lol.

    I wasn't aware there was a heritage breed section, I'll go check it out :)
     
  4. jasmer

    jasmer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just thought of Plymouth Rocks. I'm having a hard time finding out what they dress out at, though. Also what about marans? Do very many chicken breeds vary in size and meat quality from one color to the next as well? Cuckoo marans vs copper marans, for instance? Partridge rocks vs barred rocks?

    So far dorkings and buckeyes are on our list, opringtons might stay on the list as well. We're looking for a decent dress weight, is 4 lbs expecting too much from a non-hybrid meat bird? Since we can free range from March until it snows--late October or well into November) should we just go with Jersey Giants since their actual feed conversion would still be pretty darn efficient? How are they for free ranging?

    Basically our short list is down to Dorkings, Buckeyes, Jersey Giants, Orpingtons, or Plymouth Rocks. We will likely eventually try most or all of these out, but if anybody has input on which we should try first..... ;)
     
  5. rwdeets23

    rwdeets23 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    i like the buff orpingtons but i never had the dorkings buckeyes or the giants lol.. but i like opingtons i'm thinking about getting some more again this year... i have a couple bantams and they are nice birds and i get a few little eggs out of them 2 lol... the big ones are my fav. dual purpose though [​IMG]
     
  6. jasmer

    jasmer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yeah we really like our australorps and buff orpingtons, so they're definitely up for consideration. :)
     
  7. enel 1

    enel 1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How about dark Cornish? They have excellent meat quality plus they are great free range birds and very predator savoy plus they have great camp. And mine lay about 5 eggs a week. I live in the LC valley and have eggs ready to hatch if you're interested PM me[​IMG]
     
  8. enel 1

    enel 1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Great camo... not camp lol
     
  9. jasmer

    jasmer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Looked into the Dark Cornish and added them to our little list lol. For some reason I had gotten the impression that they were smaller than they really are. I'll do some more research on them.
     
  10. jasmer

    jasmer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Also, has anybody had any experience raising partridge chanteclers for meat?
     

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