1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Breeding your own meats

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Blue Smoke, Jan 3, 2015.

  1. Blue Smoke

    Blue Smoke Out Of The Brooder

    45
    4
    24
    Mar 6, 2014
    Wisconsin
    I am wanting to raise meaties this spring but don't want to buy commercial cornish x rock crosses. I was hoping to get a layer/meat bird that still gets fair sized by say 12-16 weeks instead of 8 and bypass any physical ailments and sudden deaths and have the option to keep some back as breeding stock. What are the best crosses for this? My FIL tried keeping a cornishX pullet back but never got an egg from her and heard they are sterile, but I think they just need AI right? Any info related to breeding meats or layer/meats is greatly appreciated!
     
  2. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

    16,482
    4,500
    481
    Mar 9, 2014
    Oregon
    My Coop

    I would suggest taking a read through this:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/438262/what-meat-chickens-should-i-raise-whats-the-differences

    It sounds like for what you are looking for the dual purpose breeds are right up your alley.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2015
  3. RIR0BCM

    RIR0BCM Chillin' With My Peeps

    242
    4
    71
    Nov 7, 2014
    I also want to raise my own meat i have rhode island red hens this breed is dual purpose they can get very big and fat and they are good layers mine are less than a year old and i get a lot of large eggs from them and they are big girls too
     
  4. Blue Smoke

    Blue Smoke Out Of The Brooder

    45
    4
    24
    Mar 6, 2014
    Wisconsin
    Thanks OGM, that was very informative! I do think the DP breeds are best suited to me, but I was hoping to hear about successful crosses for something that matures a little faster than the dual purpose. I had my wyandotte cockerels processed but they weren't ready until well after 20 weeks, I had a RIR cockerel that was still not ready at 24+ weeks. FIL wants to get specific meats or meat crosses (Sagitta?) that are self sustaining (can breed) but still process in 12 weeks at a good weight. I think he may be dreaming but I told him I'd do some research.
     
  5. RIR0BCM

    RIR0BCM Chillin' With My Peeps

    242
    4
    71
    Nov 7, 2014
    Oh i dont think i can help you with that i am not an expert but you can ask at hatcheries if they have a breed for meat
    Right now i am hatching rhode island chicks and i plan to eat all the males :drool
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    19,936
    3,093
    476
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    You might find this interesting. It shows how they get the hatching eggs for the Cornish X broilers. They have four different flocks, each of these four flocks producing a specific grandparent of the broilers. They limit the feed because the genetics are such that even the grandparents would get oversized and die from overeating if they did not. They do not use AI because the breeder chickens are not allowed to get so big they cannot mate. The crosses are not sterile. They don’t mention it but the hens lay pretty well. After all, they are being raised to produce a lot of hatching eggs so good egg laying is in their genetics.





    Do you want to work this hard and set something like this up to get your hatching eggs?

    You cannot beat the efficiency of a commercial layer hybrid in producing eggs. They are specially bred with four grandparent flocks to produce a hen that has a small body so the feed they eat goes to egg production, not to maintain a big body.

    You cannot beat the efficiency of the broilers in producing meat. They are specially bred to pack on meat especially fast. They grow meat so efficiently that their skeleton or internal organ development cannot keep up unless you highly regulate how much feed they get.

    The dual purpose were developed to fill another niche. These are the birds that can feed themselves if the forage is good (hardly any of us have forage that good and factor in winter). That makes them extremely efficient if they can feed themselves during the good weather months. They can hatch and raise their own replacement chicks without any help from us. Since they feed themselves in the good weather, you don’t need to butcher them at a specific age but can just butcher one as you need it for the table. Just alter your cooking methods to account for the age of the bird. It costs you nothing to feed the bird in the good weather months. How efficient is that? The hens will not lay as well as the commercial layers but if feed is free why not keep a few extra? They still lay fairly well. They are very efficient in their niche but hardly any of us have the proper forage and settings to provide this niche. I sure don’t.

    Since the Cornish X broilers and commercial egg layers are hybrids they will not always breed true. You will still get the majority of the growth and efficiency traits but they will not consistently match the commercial chicks you buy. The more generations you go through the less like the original they will get, but through selective breeding you could get a really nice bird. Since they are hybrids they are not genetically sustainable. They are going to lose some of their edge in production efficiency. The production can still be impressive compared to the dual purpose though. And you need to watch out to not over feed them. They are bred to be very efficient in converting feed to meat or eggs, whichever specialty you are looking at. Overfeeding can lead to medical problems.

    You could even cross a dual purpose bird with one of these to create your own strain. If you select your breeding flock carefully in several chicken generations you can develop a strain that fairly well suits your goals. But I’m not sure you will ever get a bird that gives what you consider a “good weight” at 12 weeks without medic al problems from growing too fast.

    Back before the Cornish X were developed, Delaware, White Rock, and New Hampshire were developed to be meat birds. The breeding that went into them to make them meat birds has long been lost. Now instead of meat birds they are just dual purpose birds. Back then a good strain of Delaware was advertised that it could give a good 4 pound bird at ten weeks if fed properly. I’m not sure your FIL would consider that a “good weight”. You might find a breeder somewhere that has developed a flock that can come close or maybe exceed that goal but you are not going to get that from any hatchery. The hatcheries we buy from are not breeding meat birds. That’s not their market.

    There is an old thread on here where people tried to raise the Freedom Rangers to be a sustainable flock. Different people posted about their experiences over a long period, two years I think. It was a massive thread. Most people gave up on the idea, deciding they could not do it. A few were OK with their results, but those were few.

    Good luck!
     
  7. Blue Smoke

    Blue Smoke Out Of The Brooder

    45
    4
    24
    Mar 6, 2014
    Wisconsin
    Yeah that's the info I was looking for. I know they have grandparent and parent stock in the commercial industry, I think he's thinking he could create his own by crossing 2 birds and doesn't understand there would need to be a minimum of 4 flocks to be maintained. He wants the flock to be self sustaining AND be dressed out at 12 weeks so he doesn't need to keep buying chicks every year, and could hatch out 25 here and there instead of getting 200+ at once to get the deal he wants. Perhaps if he got a flock of white rocks and started breeding for the larger birds, crossing on other large bodied birds. I am personally getting some meat/layer crosses that are production reds/blacks/barred rock/buff orp crossed on white rocks.
     
  8. CrazyTalk

    CrazyTalk Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,384
    305
    148
    Jun 10, 2014
    They're not sterile - they're just a carefully planned terminal cross - and heterozygous for a lot of traits - you'll get a lot of variation in their offspring (which doesn't mean you'll get bad birds) - some dwarfing, a lot with health problems, and they won't grow as fast.
     
  9. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    Check into some of the Heritage bred dual purpose breeds. Dual purpose breeds from the hatchery are not nearly as productive (meat) as heritage bred dual purpose breeds. Hatchery birds will probably lay more eggs, but will not come close to carcass quality of heritage bred breeds.
     
  10. rudy6482

    rudy6482 Out Of The Brooder

    35
    0
    24
    Mar 19, 2014

    I wanted the exact bird I think your wanting. A bird that grows faster than a heritage breed and will breed true. I ordered pioneers from McMurray last spring hoping to breed them. Their site now says they won't breed true because they're a hybrid. I'm going to try anyway, they grew fast, are active and friendly.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by