BREEDING FOR PRODUCTION...EGGS AND OR MEAT.

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by hellbender, Dec 27, 2013.

  1. gjensen

    gjensen Overrun With Chickens

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    Their performance would be best answered by someone that has experience with them. Expect all of the answers to be relative. Good, great, etc. means little. People new to them are also caught up in the emotion still. Many that have them, have little experience in keeping poultry. I am sure that some do though, and could give you a good answer.

    If you decide to get them, good luck.

    On the other part of the discussion, some breeds like Welsummers can be sexed semi reliably already. There are Welbars here, but I do not know that they are available. Redridge that stops in this thread is working on an auto sexing breed. I know a couple that are working on Hambars. So there are some options.

    . . . . and the Beilefelder is a fascinating breed. I am put off by the quality compared to the price. Obviously some feel differently.
     
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  2. neopolitancrazy

    neopolitancrazy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sell or give to whom? The people I have personally known who were actually willing to raise day old cockerels to butchering size preferred to raise Cornish crosses or their like, because the CornishX out produce all others for rapid weight gain.

    I have been surprised to find that very few people would accept the gift of fryer-sized chickens, because they did not want the work of butchering.

    I am trying to develop a productive, self-sustaining, beautiful flock, and hatching lots of chicks is a current part of that. I am very interested in early culling to reduce the space and feed requirements. However, I feel I cannot afford to eliminate many cockerels at hatch, as that is too soon to discern which chicks will be excellent, and which will be mediocre.

    Best wishes,
    Angela

    Edited to add: you might find someone who would use day old chicks as reptile food. Just a thought.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2015
  3. Heron's Nest Farm

    Heron's Nest Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is my dilema as well; when to cull cockerels.

    I HAVE to add a grow out pen somewhere far away. 1) I want to see what I have to work with and make an educated choice. In the past I have rushed to cull because of feed expense and fighting. 2) I can't get over the notion of the waste. Killing a little baby is hard! These birds could be used.

    I am hoping to find a market for my stewers and cockerels. I am going to talk to the mission in town. I know they take dear killed on a nuisance permit, but usually butchered. I am going to approach the Asian market in town. I am hoping they will have a community that will want them. I still have to sell cockerels for something if I am going to feed them. Low producing egg hens I feel less inclined to sell for much as I have already made my money. I may work a 2 for deal??? Anyway chicken feet are big in that community and I am looking to sell those off when I butcher. I don't know if I could do snake food. Seems cruel. I would rather chop their heads! I also have a huge hispanic community I am hooked into here because of all the farmers around us. I think I may be able to find buyers that way. I have a few point men to that community. I know many middle easterners buy and kill their own goats, maybe chickens too? Think culturally. Maybe you have some of these communities in your area?
     
  4. DesertChic

    DesertChic Overrun With Chickens

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    Have you checked out the Bielefelder thread on the BYC? I've yet to see a single complaint on the breed, which is one of the reasons I decided to take the plunge myself with them.

    I met with a nearby breeder this past week and got to see her birds. They're huge birds! She told me that all of her 1+ year hens lay daily and the eggs she collected for me averaged 2.43 ounces each. Her pullet eggs weighed in at 1.85 ounces and they'd just begun laying about three weeks ago when they reached 20 weeks of age. Her massive rooster walked right up to me and let me handle him. I fell in love instantly.
     
  5. DesertChic

    DesertChic Overrun With Chickens

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    My husband and I discussed this dilemma as well. I could never bring myself to kill a perfectly healthy chick, and given that we are raising birds for meat as well as eggs it just seems logical for us to grow them out in a "frat house" to butcher for the dinner table. The hardest part for us will be selecting which to butcher and which to keep for breeding, but luckily I have a semi-mentor to help me learn some of the best production traits to look for when selecting my breeders. [​IMG]
     
  6. ronott1

    ronott1 Daily Digest Guru Premium Member Project Manager

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    That is a great report!

    Has the price for them come down to a reasonable amount yet?
     
  7. apteryx

    apteryx Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Are they any good - this depends on your objectives (almost sounds like the tagline for this thread!). At the moment I have not committed to a particular breed as I want to get a feel for what works in my area/system, etc. Here is my take on this breed compared to other breeds.
    - Bielefelder vs. Legbar - they both seem to do well in the heat and the cold. Laying is about even, although the bielefelders lay bigger eggs - most of mine are in the 70 - 73g range compared to 64 - 68g for the legbars. In terms of chick sales, the legbars are easier to sell due to the blue eggs. For carcass size the bielefelders take this hands down, but time to a reasonable meat yield (meat to bone ratio) is about the same. The autosexing feature is helpful with chick sales as 1) I can guarantee pullets and therefore charge a premium and 2) selling as straight run I always have folks who ask to return the roosters - some even asking for an exchange or refund [​IMG]
    - vs. wyandotte - bielefelders seem to handle the heat and cold better as judged by egg laying, panting in summer and ranging in cold weather. Bielefelders lay better then my wyndottes and lay bigger eggs. In my area the wyandottes sell ok, but I have to deal with the straight run issue mentioned above. For meat, while the bielefelders were bigger, but the wyandottes processed probably had slightly more breast and leg meat at the same age.
    - vs. orpington (lavender). Both are similar frame size, but for heat/cold tolerance, eggs, and meat I would say advantage bielefelder. The egg size is comparable, but the bielefelders lay more per week. I suspect that if I was comparing to buff orpingtons, this would be closer or even advantage orps.
    - vs. white bresse - heat/cold tolerance is about even. Egg laying - by numbers the bresse has an advantage, but this is balanced by size. The bresse eggs are in the 60-63g range.
    - vs. barred rock (non hatchery for those who want to know) - slight advantage in the heat/cold tolerance to the bielefelders but could be called a tie. Meat production would be slight advantage to the barred rocks. Egg laying, due to predators and very small initial number of pullets I do not have enough information on egg production for a fair comparison.
    - vs. speckled sussex - heat/cold tolerance is comparable, seems like the bielefelders do a little better in the cold and the SS do a little better in the heat. Meat - I found the bielefelders did a little better in this area. The carcass was larger and yielded more meat.
    - vs. Marans (black copper) - bielefelders handle the heat better, it is a tie in the cold. Egg production is slight advantage in number to the bielefelders, even on size. Meat yield advantage marans.
    - vs. easter egger - heat/cold tolerance is about even. Egg laying is tough to compare as I have some EEs that outlay the bielefelders and some that do not. Meat yield is generally superior on the bielefelders, but I have had a couple of EE's that had great carcasses.

    For the meat comparison, most of the animals were processed at about the same age, or within 1 or 2 weeks. Also, the egg laying was a comparison once they started laying. The bielefelders that I have had seem to start laying about 2 - 4 weeks later than most of the other breeds. All of these breeds have been raised in the same conditions (free choice pelleted ration with free range and vegetable garden scraps/trimmings/waste when available).

    As I said at the beginning, this is my experience, in my system. At this point in time I have not spent time selecting for any characteristics as I wanted to get an idea of what does well to begin with. Are they as good as or better than other breeds? Maybe, maybe not - everyone evaluates things differently.
     
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  8. DesertChic

    DesertChic Overrun With Chickens

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    Unfortunately, no. That's why I bought eggs instead of chicks. Around here the chicks are being sold for $45 each for pullets and $30 for cockerels. Too rich for my blood.
     
  9. dfr1973

    dfr1973 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    On the excess cockerel issue, I now have caponizing tools and my next step is to gain proficiency with them. I'll still need space and feed for them, but successfully caponized eliminates the fighting issue. Just a really old-fashioned solution to an even older situation.
     
  10. jbkirk

    jbkirk A Learning Breeder

    I've been thinking about getting the starter flock from Omega farms, Would the full flock be better?
     

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