Bresse, vs Delaware vs ???

Burdi

Chirping
Oct 30, 2020
54
80
51
I am building a new flock after a 15 year hiatus. Dual purpose, already started cream legbars and bielefelders incubating. Still have room for one more dual purpose variety and assorted hens for nice colored eggs. For the last dual purpose I am considering Bresse vs US heritage, particularly Delaware’s. The Bresse are a tempting choice but they appear to have a shallow gene pool. Delaware’s sound great in theory but I don,t know of sources that have flocks with really good consistent genetics. I am only finding hatchery stock which might not have the meat side of the intended Delaware standard covered. I am still open to other varieties as long as they have white or light colored feathers. Any input, particularly first hand experience with Bresse or Delaware’s would be highly appreciated.
 

aliciaplus3

Free Ranging
Oct 24, 2016
2,908
10,467
562
Colorado
I am building a new flock after a 15 year hiatus. Dual purpose, already started cream legbars and bielefelders incubating. Still have room for one more dual purpose variety and assorted hens for nice colored eggs. For the last dual purpose I am considering Bresse vs US heritage, particularly Delaware’s. The Bresse are a tempting choice but they appear to have a shallow gene pool. Delaware’s sound great in theory but I don,t know of sources that have flocks with really good consistent genetics. I am only finding hatchery stock which might not have the meat side of the intended Delaware standard covered. I am still open to other varieties as long as they have white or light colored feathers. Any input, particularly first hand experience with Bresse or Delaware’s would be highly appreciated.
I ordered some delaware broilers from murry mcmurry and they defiantly are filling out Much faster than other hatchery stock!
I have a few of the bresse left but was not as impressed with them as I wanted to be, in all fairness I may have been more impressed if I had gotten them at a better time of year(we received them in nov) I am currently mixing the bresse with some of my other meaty birds and have been happy with those crosses.
I do agree with you on the "original" delaware theory being closer to what I want. I will be selecting my delawares going forward for early maturity and meat qualities.
best of luck
 

Burdi

Chirping
Oct 30, 2020
54
80
51
Starting with suboptimal genetics is a sure fire way to fill your freezer with tasty small carcasses. LOL. I am hoping to find a line close to the standard, if it is available. The thought of essentially creating my own line is tempting to my inner chicken monster but I might regret it.
 

Critter721

Chirping
Feb 26, 2020
99
202
78
Ohio
What about light Sussex? Very similar appearance to Delawares and pretty pink eggs. If I ever get my dual purpose flock, they'll be top of my list.
 

Burdi

Chirping
Oct 30, 2020
54
80
51
Yes Sussex are really nice dual purpose birds. I had them in a prior flock and need to keep them near the front of my list. With Sussex finding a good stable line is easier. Both light and Coronation Sussex would give me predominant white feathers.
Plus I liked their flavor. Have not tasted Delaware or Bresse.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
28,055
22,736
907
Southeast Louisiana
I think you are in the UK or maybe Australia but I just don't know. This is another case where if we knew where you are it might help us understand your options. It would not do you much good for us to mention a source on a different continent, let alone a different side of the equator. If you modify your profile to show your general location that information will always be available. It comes in handy in many different ways.

I am only finding hatchery stock which might not have the meat side of the intended Delaware standard covered.

I don't know about hatcheries in other countries but I suspect it is the same. When the Cornish X too over the meat industry in the middle of the 1900's, hatcheries in the US stopped breeding what had been the meat breeds for meat. That was mostly Delaware, New Hampshire, and some strains of White Rock in the US. I suspect different countries' hatcheries did the same with whatever breeds they were using for meat. In the US if you want meat quality birds you need to find a breeder that is breeding for the qualities you want. That can be hard to do and the initial stock can be expensive but starting with good stock can make a big difference in how fast you get where you want to go. Even if you start with good stock it is up to you to selectively breed the ones that maintain that quality. And you have to feed them in a way to meet their potential or you will probably be disappointed.

Any input, particularly first hand experience with Bresse or Delaware’s would be highly appreciated.

The only experience I've had with these was Delaware from Cackle Hatchery in the US. They made a nice dual purpose bird, good egg laying and a decent meal, but were not like what I would expect to have gotten in the 1940's. I did not see that much difference between Delaware, Sussex, Orpington, and Australorp in meat or egg laying. These suited my goals fine. If you are looking for a specialized bird instead of a generalist you need to find someone breeding to your goals. That's not always easy.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
28,055
22,736
907
Southeast Louisiana
Thanks for that. I really expected UK. But you are looking in the US.

I believe @Egghead_Jr did some research that might help you. I think he settled on a certain flock of White Rock.

I haven't seen her on here for a while and can't remember her screen name but a lady in Missouri, I believe Kathy, made a lot of progress getting New Hampshire where she wanted them. Maybe someone on here remembers her.

Another possibility is to look at the American Poultry Association website to find breeders of the breeds you are interested in, maybe even near you. If you can contact a breeder and tell them what you are after they might be able to help you. Hopefully this link lead you to their site.

Home Page - American Poultry Association (amerpoultryassn.com)
 

Egghead_Jr

Crowing
11 Years
Oct 16, 2010
7,535
3,678
476
NEK, VT
https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/delawares-from-kathyinmo.777172/

@kathyinmo recreated Delaware using Barred Plymouth over New Hampshire. One of those was Frank Reese if not both or at least birds with Reese line. It's been awhile and can't recall exactly. The thread above will take you through the journey of those that obtained this new line of Delaware. If you wanted this breed I'd suggest looking for contacts in that thread or even see if Kathyinmo is still active on here to provide her stock, if she still keeps them, or contacts of those that do. Her birds were certainly better than other strains as per potential for quick maturity and all round dual purpose. If my memory serves I believe there were still some smutt in feathers. Plumage needed work and that's expected as it was just created.

I don't use White Rock. I breed Rock of a different variety and no, they are not what I would recommend for all round dual purpose. I do promote Buckeye and New Hampshire as best choices for a dual bird. The Delaware are hard to find and not up to snuff unless you can obtain Kathy from Mo's strain. And in reality the Delaware was just a white sport of the meat industries Rock over New Hampshire hybrid. What is was prized for was good carcass and early maturity. Well, those traits were obtained from New Hampshire. It was breed to be basically a white NH. Frank Reese poultry is an old stock of NH that has been maintained for meat only, not to standard. Jeremy Woepel (sp?) has great NH stock. The German NH that came to this country not too long ago were bred to our NH to bring their plumage back to standard. Jeremy and other breeders did this. As for Buckeye, a ton of work was done to conserve that breed about a decade ago. It brought the stock out of critical designation of it's flock numbers and with that breeders program brought it back to it's standard a dual purpose with meat, fast maturity, etc. With some legwork you could find breeders from that program with the birds. What was sold to hatcheries would have been great stock to obtain but since I'm sure has gone downhill as keeping birds to standard or any sort of meat to a dual purpose is not what they do. Find a breeder.

Good luck.
 

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