Considering meat birds this summer, want opinions on breeds

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by DavidILoveYou22, Jan 3, 2013.

  1. DavidILoveYou22

    DavidILoveYou22 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi. I'm probably going to get meat birds this summer, and I want some opinions on what breeds to get. This is my first time trying to get chickens for anything but eggs. I was hoping to start out with 1-2 Cornish X, because my parents (who are unfortunantely still the bosses in this house) want to make sure I can go through with the killing part of it.
    Since I'm very sure I can do it, I was thinking that after that I would get more meat birds. Now, here's the question: what breed should I get? I would prefer a shorter time span between the time I get the chicks and the time I slaughter, so that means that more Cornish X would be best, but I have heard that they can sometimes not have as good a flavor as other breeds. Another option I thought of is just plain old Dark Cornish, but I'm not sure what the timeframe on those is.
    I've also heard that Rangers have excellent flavor, but it can take up to 13 weeks or so for them to reach slaughtering size, and that they can be fairly small.
    So, any suggestions? :)
  2. WestVermont

    WestVermont Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 27, 2012
    Bennington, Vermont
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2013
  3. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

    Jul 17, 2011
    North Central Kansas
    If tasty chicken fast is your goal, personally, I would avoid things like the "FryPan" Specials....these consist of surplus male birds from egg laying breeds for which the hatchery has no use. I don't mean to imply they won't taste good - they will - but they will roughly be half the size in twice the time it would take for a Cornish X - which is ready early. By 16+ weeks they are starting to be on the tough side...process them younger than this and they are small. Older and they are tough. Other breeds - like the Dark Cornish - are reckoned really good to eat, slower than the Cornish X but faster than FryPans. I have heard the same about Rangers. I haven't tried the Dark Cornish or Rangers so I can't speak to their qualities. Good luck to you in your choice.
  4. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 31, 2009
    Somerville, AL
    I don't know that I've seen any hatcheries that will ship only 1 or 2 cornish cross. Though you may be able to find some at your local feed store in spring.

    Why not look on craigslist to see about finding free or very cheap adults, like someone with extra roos, to make sure that you will be okay with butchering first. If you are at all unsure you can do it but still want to get some meat birds, I'd go with a dual purpose breed.

    I've raised cornish cross. I may again. They were better tasting than grocery store meat but similar and you can't beat the size. I've processed a few of my younger JG. They were about 18 weeks old and still relatively small but the roos dressed out at probably 5 lbs. The meat was tastier but I didn't notice a huge difference from cornish.
  5. AprilW

    AprilW Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 7, 2011
    north Georgia
    If speedy growth is what you're looking for, I would go for the CornishX. But I agree with a previous response that maybe you should check Craigslist for someone with free/cheap birds for you to practice on and make sure you can stomach the butchering process. I did my first chickens myself over the summer, it took me a long time to get in the mindset to do it.

    I do not suggest "Black Broilers". My friend and I both ordered these over the summer as our first time meat birds. They were advertised to grow as well as CornishX. We both found they grew slowly but ate a ton of feed. This year when I order my chicks I'm going for a "heavy breed" assortment.
  6. WestVermont

    WestVermont Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 27, 2012
    Bennington, Vermont
    Lots of great advice from people who have been there, done that! I glad to know about the frying pan special I did not look at it from a view of a hatchery trying to unload extra birds.
  7. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 1, 2011
    Colorado mountains
    I was going to make the same recommendation regarding finding a rooster or two on Craigs list and proving to yourself and to your parents that you are capable of going through with the slaughtering and butchering. If that goes smoothly, you could go straight to ordering some chicks in a reasonable number. I raised Freedom Rangers. I butchered them at 9, 10 and 11 weeks (about a third each week). My average dressed weight was a little over 4 pounds, with a few coming in over 5. So far they have been extremely tasty and tender. I did save two pullets and one rooster with the intent of hatching out some chicks in the spring. However, my rooster turned out to be a bully and a brute, so I butchered him at around 7 months. He was close to 8 pounds and made a very tasty Coc au Vin.

    Note: if you go the Craigs list route, consider a Cou au Vin recipie to cook your roosters. It is a classic recipie designed specifically for mature rooster.
  8. gg706

    gg706 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 5, 2011
    Wow I am jealous! I have been battling with myself to get the guts to butcher for myself and my family. I have been contemplating getting meat birds and then backing out for over a year!
    I appreciate the fact as a young person you are confident, and strong willed enough to butcher your own meat. Your parents must be proud! [​IMG]
  9. DavidILoveYou22

    DavidILoveYou22 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oh, thank all for the replies! I'll try to take your advice, and keep an eye out of craigslist. Also, I recently heard that White Rocks are good meat birds. Any input? Also, alot of you seem to have suggested Rangers or Cornish X, so maybe I'll try to order a mix of them and try both for myself :)
  10. Brandi Leigh

    Brandi Leigh Chillin' With My Peeps

    Good luck with the meaties!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by