This seems to be a popular subject, and one I am interested in myself, as my family is unable to purchase meat we are able to eat from any local store (We're Orthodox Jewish, and none of the stores here carry kosher certified meat, there's just no demand here with fewer than 10 practicing Jewish households in town. The only option is to drive 2+ hours and pay $10 a pound for chicken!). Plus, we'd just prefer to raise as much of our own food as we can. We are already raising goats for eating/milk, and we can butcher cattle and sheep that we buy from local farms. I want some chicken though. We're not huge meat eaters, maybe a couple of days a week, so I am thinking 25-30 chickens put in the freezer a year would be plenty for us plus a few to share with friends. I am planning to buy some Cornish cross from a hatchery when I can, and raise them for meat, but I would like it if I could do something more self-sustaining and not have to keep re-ordering those guys. I'd like a bird that can be slaughtered fairly young. I know I won't be able to get another chicken to grow as fast as the Cornish cross, but something more reasonable than 5-6 months of grow time would be great. We're planning on keeping about 15 laying hens (various dual purpose/ heritage breeds) for eggs, and will be eating any excess roosters we hatch from them (and probably some hens too) but I was wondering what sort of breeds/crossbreeds would make the fastest bird to process? They don't have to get super huge, it is more important to me that they are somewhat quick, especially roosters, as we don't want to hear 20 of them crowing all the time lol. And we are limited on space and feed budget, so it would be better not to have to have them so long...the goat we are about to butcher, we've had to feed for a whole year to get him to any decent size, and that just gets expensive, you know? (We accidentally ended up with a mini-goat, he's only 60 pounds at a year old-barely worth the effort to process!) I know that the cornish cross won't breed true as they are a hybrid, but I was wondering if anyone has successfully bred these? Do they mate naturally, or do they absolutely need AI? What kind of offspring did you get? What about putting a regular cornish or Plymouth Rock or Jersey Giant rooster over some cross hens? What about making your own 'cornish cross'? I know it won't be as good, but I'm wondering if it's worth it to try. Anyone tried crossing a regular Cornish with something else for meat birds? If so, what did you use and what did you get? What about just raising regular Dark Cornish? How good are they as meat birds? At what age do you process? How big are they? I'm just wondering what experiments people have already tried.