Can I cross a meat chicken with a dual purpose rooster?

PTA Chicks

Songster
8 Years
Jan 15, 2012
152
192
186
KZN, South Africa
I am toying with the idea of breeding my own broiler birds. I was wondering today,would it be viable to cross a dual purpose bird with a broiler? So a dual purpose like a Koek-Koek rooster (which was bred from I think barred rocks and something else) and a broiler hen. I'd want to do it that way because of the potential size differences between broiler roosters and other hens.
I don't know much about chicken genetics so no idea how the babies would turn out.
 

Cyprus

Master of the 'never give up' attitude
Jan 19, 2018
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I mean, assuming you could get a broiler to sexual maturity and she lays eggs, I believe you can do it.
I know of someone who crossed buff Orpingtons and Cornish X
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,516
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Southeast Louisiana
You might find this thread interesting.

https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/toad-raising.1152440/

Several people have tried this, some successfully but many not. The big issue from what I've read is that the broiler pullets tend to grow so large so fast they break down or just die. You need to restrict their feed, both amount and quality, to keep them from getting too big to live or reproduce but still keep them healthy enough to lay eggs to hatch. It may take some research n your part to learn how to manage that so you can get consistent results.

I'm not familiar with the Koek-Koek but from what I read it was developed from Barred Rock, Leghorn, and Black Australorp. It's been bred to reach a fairly large size so it sounds like a great candidate for your dual purpose bird in that experiment.
 

Compost King

Free Ranging
Apr 19, 2018
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Salisbury, North Carolina
I was about to type out my experience on this but I have it on a thread I posted last week. https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/crossing-my-red-ranger-hens.1281099/
I use Red Rangers and do not ration their feed. I did at first but then stopped to see how long it would take them to get too fat to lay eggs. So far they are still laying like crazed maniacs and not spending all day at the feeders. One of them even lives in a coop with a roosting bar about 50 inches off the ground and gets up and down from it just fine. I have 1 Cornish Cross Hen on order from McMurray (with 24 other birds on the way) I will be rationing her feed.
 

Bryant Redhawk

Songster
May 11, 2015
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Vilonia, AR. USA
It is usual to use a larger hen with a smaller rooster, for this sort of cross you might want to free range the broiler hen so she grows slower than her genes allow when on feed. We just went with large birds (black copper marans) so we don't have problems or need to do any crosses to get the meat quantity we desire from our chickens.
 

PTA Chicks

Songster
8 Years
Jan 15, 2012
152
192
186
KZN, South Africa
If I did this,it would be done free range. It's still a thought. I've read so many threads,it's just hard to always understand when you're talking about breeds that I don't know or have access to. I don't know how to determine which characteristics come through dominant. Only reason I'm considering the broiler hen with dual breed rooster is because my husband does like a decent meaty chicken rather than one that is a bit scrawny and my previous koek-koeks could have been on the not quite plump side. The male was pretty big but not too aggressive.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,516
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Southeast Louisiana
When you say free range I envision your flock feeding themselves through foraging and you not providing any feed. I grew up on a farm like that but we had to supplement their feed some in winter. With your climate even that may not be necessary. So yes your koek-koek's will be scrawnier than ones fattened on a high protein feed with little exercise.

I'm not sure what broilers you are talking about, I assume the Cornish X and not the Ranger type bird. I think either is worth a try. Foraging like that could easily work to limit their weight enough that you can get some egg layering females. There are different threads on here where people have done something similar and gotten a full season of egg laying out of them.

Don't get bogged down in the genetics. Most of the genetic talk on here is about feather color/pattern or other appearance traits like comb. I don't think that is a concern of yours at all. There is no one gene pair that controls whether you get a plump broiler chicken or a scrawny dual purpose bird. There are a tremendous number of gene pairs that determine the birds conformation, food to meat conversion ratio, how fast they mature, and all the other traits you are looking for. The offspring will inherit genetics from both parents. They should be somewhere in between their parents.

Where genetics will come into play is when you decide which offspring to keep for your breeding program if you go that route instead of bringing in new broiler pullets to breed with your koek-koek roosters. There are a lot of different ways you could go with your breeding program. When you breed crosses even to pure breeds you can get a pretty wide range in the offspring. A general rule is eat the ones you don't want to eat and breed the ones you would rather eat.

Good luck, it should be an interesting journey.
 

Compost King

Free Ranging
Apr 19, 2018
3,304
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Salisbury, North Carolina
https://www.freedomrangerhatchery.com I would suggest this hatchery if you want good genetics to start with trying to breed an ideal meat bird for your situation. Some of these might already be exactly what you are looking for. They do not have Cornish X but you can get those from most hatcheries already. I have never ordered from this hatchery but I may get Some New Hampshires and Delawares from them in the future since its they only hatchery I know of that selectively breeds both of them for meat qualities. Their alternative Broilers may be ideal for what you are looking for. Get 2 different types of Their broilers and breed them together for even more Hybrid Vigor. I am just playing around with what I have gotten locally and I doubt I ever make that ultimate sustainable homestead meat bird. I really only have chickens for their manure and since i have them might as well play around with breeding and learns something new.
 

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