Can I hatch my own meat crosses?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by calgal98, May 17, 2009.

  1. calgal98

    calgal98 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Okay, I'm all about self sufficiency or as close as I can get to it. I've always been country and the lifestyle just makes sense to me. Hubby on the other hand ---not so much.

    I'm wanting to add to my daily lifestyle by adding some meat chickens. I'm buying a brooder and wondered if anyone raises their own crosses or if there are strictly meat breeders and egg breeders. I want to do both. So other than killing just the roos, is there a cross that works BEST for dual purposes or should I have a pen that I raise just for meat? I can certainly do both, but if they can all co exist its much less work. Now that I've thoroughly confused all of there a chicken that I can keep to provide eggs/chicks for meat production? I see a lot of talk about the ranger variety, but can I get hens and roos to raise my own? What about the Cornish fowl, they HAVE to have brood stock to get the babies. So what breed to look at? Anyone with direction for me?
  2. saddina

    saddina Internally Deranged

    May 2, 2009
    Desert, CA
    If I'm understanding this correctly, you want to do both meat and egg chickens, and breed your meaties instead of buying them from the hatchery?

    The short answer is, you can, but it's a whole lot more work to do it one way than it is the other.

    Long way: Breed your own cornish crosses: raise a group of cornish chickens. Raise a group of Rocks. Breed cornish roos to rock hens, eggs will be meat crosses. (requires 3 distinct flocks to get the end product).

    Short way: pick a dual purpose breed and raise them as a flock. Keep 1 or 2 roosters, keep some hens for eggs, eat the rest.

    List of common dual purpose birds:
    Rocks, Wyandotte, rhode island reds, austrolops, sex links (these are ONLY color sexable the first year, but will breed just fine).

    Disclaimer, this is not all floating in my head, I have storey's guide on my desk.

    On a personal level, I've got RIR & Barred rocks both are doing equally well for me.
  3. calgal98

    calgal98 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks. I have Partridge rocks, ameraucans, light brahmas, cuckoo marans, wellsummers and can add whatever I need. If I wanted a breeding pen of meaties, it would be a rock roo and ? Or just eat the excess youngsters. I'm hoping for a meatier bird...V.
  4. saddina

    saddina Internally Deranged

    May 2, 2009
    Desert, CA
    A rock roo and a cornish hen (not cornish cross, regular cornish breed). The eggs resulting from this pairing will be your cornish cross chicks, but you'll need to keep the parent flocks of cornish & rocks pure to make the cross work (way to much work for me).
  5. calgal98

    calgal98 Chillin' With My Peeps

    I learned something tonite....cornish is different from the meat bird? I thought they were one and the same?
  6. Kezzie

    Kezzie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 15, 2009
    Coastal Georgia
    Quote:I always thought it was the other way 'round- a Cornish roo over a Rock hen...
  7. TimG

    TimG Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 23, 2008
    Crossing a regular Cornish and Rock will not result in the plump, fast growing Cornish crosses offered by the hatcheries. The breeding stock used by the hatcheries has been selectively breed for generations and is carefully maintained to produce the Cornish cross meat chicks.

    The colored rangers that you are hearing so much about are also crosses -- they will not breed true. I read one report from someone with offspring from some colored rangers, they said the offspring looked like colored rangers. But, that was the extent of the report.

    Any chicken can be used for meat, but none is going to measure up to the commercial Cornish crosses for their combination of quick growth and size.

    The two breeds I see mentioned most often for good dual purpose use are Buckeyes and Delawares. But, with either breed you will have to be careful with your initial purchase and with your breeding program if you want to consistently get a larger meat bird than your typical backyard chicken.

    How much effort you put into the breeding and selection will be determined in part on your expectations for a meat bird. If you're looking for a bird to go into the crock pot for soups and pies, you don't need to do anything special. If you're looking for 5-6 pound roasters that you can harvest at 12-16 weeks, you'll have some work to do.

    You might be interested in this thread.
  8. deerman

    deerman Rest in Peace 1949-2012

    Aug 24, 2008
    Southern Ohio
    Quote:I always thought it was the other way 'round- a Cornish roo over a Rock hen...

    Yes its a white cornish rooster X white rock hens. Hard to find the white cornish rooster. Best to AI to get a good hatch rate.

    Have hatch them and yes they grew just like the ones from the hatchery. 8 weeks to butcher.
  9. calgal98

    calgal98 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Tim, thanks for the link. It is really interesting. Bottom line for me is to be able to have a flock that produces its own replacments and is meaty. I want it all in one bird!! LOL. I don't want to HAVE to depend on a hatchery for my meat birds.
  10. TimG

    TimG Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 23, 2008
    Quote:As you can see, I'd like the same thing. I think you'll have more luck with the "meaty" requirement if you maintain two lines and use the crosses for meat. The results might not be quite as good, but you can probably get what you want by being selective with a single breed (some of which have been suggested in the other thread). Whatever you do is likely to require some effort on your part, it's not going to be as simple as buying some chickens, letting them lay, and incubating the eggs.

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