Correct "Dual Purpose" Chickens

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by kjmatson, Jun 9, 2010.

  1. kjmatson

    kjmatson In the Brooder

    Jun 9, 2010
    Hamilton, NY
    I am interested in some true "dual purpose" to raise. After reading for days I am finding that most DP birds sold from hatchery's are geared more for egg production. I am looking for a hatchery that sells DP birds which are true to both meat growth and egg production; I don't care if the egg production is a little low, but meat growth is important. Does anyone have any suggestions on where to turn too? I am going to visit a local hatchery on Friday and check out their Barred Plymouth Rocks. A docile rooster is very important as well.
  2. dancingbear

    dancingbear Songster

    Aug 2, 2008
    South Central KY
    You probably won't find true-to-type DP's from a hatchery. As far as I know, they're pretty much all diluted with production layers, and tend to be scrawny. If you want good, truly DP birds, look for reputable breeders.

    As for which ones are the best, that so subjective, just like "which breed tastes the best". Ask 12 people, get 12 different answers. Just read, learn, and experiment. This chart may be helpful.

    Good luck, I hope you find what you're looking for! It's a worthy quest, but not always an easy one.
  3. kjmatson

    kjmatson In the Brooder

    Jun 9, 2010
    Hamilton, NY
    Thank you for the good advice dancingbear. After reading your post I called a local breeder of many different chickens, and will be looking at them tomorrow afternoon. He has been doing this for years and has also been doing the State Fair in Syracuse for a number of years. I can't wait to see his birds; I have a feeling they are going to be top notch!!! [​IMG] [​IMG]
  4. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Brahmas are supposed to be good "dual purpose" chickens. Good layers and good for meat.
  5. Buster52

    Buster52 Songster

    Jan 28, 2009
    Geronimo Oklahoma
    I'm the opinion that the whole hatchery-birds-aren't-true-to-breed thing is a bit overblown largely promulgated by breeders. There may be a tendency to favor birds that lay more, which would skew the breed, but I don't believe they purposely dilute the stock.

    That said, breeders do tend to have better stock because they have worked at it. That and it is more likely to be local and less likely to be factory farm produced.
  6. dancingbear

    dancingbear Songster

    Aug 2, 2008
    South Central KY
    Quote:I don't remember where I read it, it's been several years. I do know what I've gotten from hatcheries, and what I've gotten from breeders. The differences between for example, the BO's I got from a hatchery, and the breeder birds at the fair was huge. Mine were about half the size, and even the body type was slimmer, proportionately. The colors were the same, mine looks mostly like BO's, if you ignored the size and meatiness. I've seen plenty of other examples, too, not just the BO's. Hatchery RIR's are not much like they used to be.

    The thing I read said they occasionally cross in a layer breed, to increase production. Then breed back to thr right colors, etc. Over time, they get more like layers.

    I'm not a breeder, but I don't want hatchery birds anymore. I'm trying to get back to a more really dual purpose bird. I know you've read this from me before, Buster, but to clarify those who are about to jump in and tell me it can't be done: I'm not looking for the most meat the fastest, or the most eggs possible on the least feed possible. I'm looking for a reasonable amount of meat, in a reasonable time frame, and hens that lay a reasonable number of eggs, and birds that I can keep to breed without AI.
  7. Jeremy Parker

    Jeremy Parker In the Brooder

    May 25, 2010
    Some good information here!!

    I used to raise the rockX 200 at a time.

    I have now gone to dual purpose birds and will use some for eggs for self only now.

    My decision was to go with Plymouth Rocks. they are not as big as the original PR, but run about 6lbs at 16 weeks and roos run about 7.5lbs.

  8. TimG

    TimG Songster

    Jul 23, 2008
    Quote:I think we've all been spoiled by the size of the chickens in the grocery store and the availability of Cornish Crosses for home growers.

    100 years ago, no one was roasting their 8 pound, 16 week old, dual purpose chickens. Such things just didn't exist. If you do a little research, I think you will find that the industry grown chickens of the early 20th century were smaller (shockingly small, actually) than what most people expect (or want) out of modern dual purpose birds with good meat qualities.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2010
  9. Bossroo

    Bossroo Songster

    Jun 15, 2008
    The notion that the dual purpose were at one time much bigger is just a myth. Yes, they were the meat birds in their day only because there was no competition. However, the market was more in favor for egg production , so the hatcheries scewed their selections for better egg production to the demise in size. I raised a line of pure mostly RIR, as well as some BR, NHR + their mixes for 6 decades . I selectively bred the biggest roosters to my flock of hens every year. Then 3 years ago I switched to the CornishX as I found my dual purpose birds, while being quite a bit heavier ( about a pound) than those from the hatcheries but didn't even come close to the Cornish X's. It was like comparing the size differance between an average high school football player to an NFL lineman.
  10. I had New Hampshire Reds from Ideal Poultry, I butchered them off this past weekend they were 2 years old and they were 1-2 pounds heavier then the buff orpington and americanas I butchered of the same age.

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