Creating A Self-Sustaining Meat-Bird Flock

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Rabbitman2012, Nov 19, 2012.

  1. Rabbitman2012

    Rabbitman2012 New Egg

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    Nov 19, 2012
    Tampa, FL
    My latest time-consuming project is figuring out how to create a Self-Sustaining Meat-Bird Flock! I have researched and understand that it is relatively easy to purchase Cornish X chicks from a hatchery and then raise them to processing weight but that isn't my ultimate goal. I want to produce those Cornish X chicks on my own with the help of a Cornish chicken and a Plymouth Rock chicken. Does anyone have experience with this? Should the hen be a Cornish hen or should the hen be a Plymouth Rock hen? What about the rooster? Please share with me your experiences, thoughts, and ideas! [​IMG]
     
  2. heavygear88

    heavygear88 Out Of The Brooder

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    you know i would also like to add something to your question. every time this question is asked people seem to act as if it can not be done. they always say "it takes years of specialized breeding of chickens and know how that only the hatcheries have." well i commend you because i really think that we should strive to be independent from hatcheries that tend to corner the market on these specialized meat birds and drive prices to the point that the small scale farmer cannot make profit or affordable food for himself/herself. the only way that we wouldnt be able to achieve this goal is if these chickens were GMO and theyre not so im sure it can be done. and honestly id like to know how myself. so i guess the question id like to add is can someone give an answer that is not one of these generic ones ive mentioned above.
     
  3. kizanne

    kizanne Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I too am working on a meatie flock. However the nay sayers have it partly right.

    A cornish cross has been made by years of selective breeding and is a 4 way cross. Most farmers just don't have this time and ability so it is going to mean birds that are not a fast growing as CX.


    HOWEVER, Some nice size, fast growing birds are possible they just won't be as... fast, big, whatever as the cornish cross.

    My understanding from my readings are the Cornish would be the roo for a couple reasons. First being cornish aren't prolific layers and eat lots of food so that would make the hens expensive to maintain if they were the cornish. The hens would be the white rock. You want to start with large fast growing representative of each breed. I got some dark cornish earlier this year for this purpose but they were only 4 lbs after 6 months which is small for the breed so they became dinner.

    Currently crossing a black broiler with black broiler, red broiler, dominiques, astralorpes.

    currently crossing a black english Orp with barred rock, red production, americauna

    Will let you know how it turns out. I have a thread for these experiments called My Next Great Experiment. I will also let you know how my capon efforts go.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2012
  4. Rabbitman2012

    Rabbitman2012 New Egg

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    Nov 19, 2012
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    I am planning on beginning this experiment at the beginning of March since I live in FL and the last "freeze" usually takes place at the end of February. Although I may be unsuccessful with the crossing of the Cornish and White Rock I am going to experiment with a few other breeds as well. I have unfortunately been conditioned by the large corporations that sell poultry in the grocery stores in regards to the skin color of the bird. Therefore I am going to limit my experiments to birds with white/yellow skin. I have read up on other "heavy" breeds that just might be big enough and tasty enough to consume. These breeds include the White Wyandottes, White Orpington's, and White Giants. If you have any experience with these breeds feel free to clue me in on any pros and cons that you have experienced. Thanks!
    [​IMG]
     
  5. Heres how I'd do it.

    Get about 10 cornish, and 10 plymouth rocks (I would've chosen brahmas, barred rocks, orpingtons and cornish). Raise them out (I would get assorted colors for cornish tho, for eye appeal), and get 3 bird raising sections. 1 section will be cornish, 1 PR's, and 1 with both PR's and cornish. I would put 2 PR roos in with 6 cornish hens. The others will be needed for other purposes. So gather the eggs for a 2 weeks or so. (after 4 days set each batch of eggs you have in the bator) Once the chicks hatch prepare to cull - Cull the slow growers , the ones who put on barely any meat, and the sickly ones. (Do NOT want to breed in weak genes). I would use the PRs as the roos because although cornish are NOT profilic layers, a cornish roo will injure the hens, due to size, and have lower fertility chances (from what I've read up). And from there I would breed back the thinner birds (but fast growing ) to the cornish again, and the fatter birds (perhaps slower growing) to the PR's, until you have a bird of decent size, hardyness, and growth rate. Also try to breed for good laying genes as well.

    This is I'D DO, but experts might have a better plan :p,
    When I get older and have my own house / flock, I will try to make my own meattie (I'm sure by then meatties will be for sale, but I still would rather make my own cross)
     
  6. kizanne

    kizanne Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I see your predicament. I skin so the color doesn't bother me. [​IMG]
     
  7. delisha

    delisha Overrun With Chickens

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    My Coop
    I started a long time ago with Cornish x. You have a couple of things you need to consider.
    1. Sexual maturity.
    The hens lay eggs way before a male is ready for breeding. The males have a hard time mounting and copulating. They are uncoordinated and quit before they finish on more occasions than completion. They can't fertilize very many hens. They have feed on the brain more than breeding or predator petrol. You always need a bird who is great with predator petrol when they are free ranging.
    2. Fat content
    The biggest thing to consider is fat content on all the birds. Hens live only about two years with out complications. Free ranging at a young age is very important. They need exercise more than other breeds and a variety or foods to choose from.
    3. Weather
    Cornish X's are very weather sensitive. I lost more birds to heat than any other issue.

    [​IMG]
    Every one of these chicks is from several pure cornish x hen
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    all from pure cornish x hens
    [​IMG]
    pure cornish x rooster
    [​IMG]

    these are chicks from RIR, BR hens bred to pure cornish x roo
    I no longer keep a cornish roo. They are unthrifty, lazy, and feed aggressive. I have had a few that were OK, however I have not found one in years.
     
  8. Rabbitman2012

    Rabbitman2012 New Egg

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    That's interesting. Is the art of skinning the bird difficult to learn? How does the lack of skin during the cooking phase affect the taste?
     
  9. Rabbitman2012

    Rabbitman2012 New Egg

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    Good info! So you are actually able to breed a pure cornish x roo with a pure cornish x hen? You don't continuously breed a cornish with a white rock? Also, at what temperature did you lose cornish x's? I am in FL and it does get in the upper 90's (100's with humidity factor).
     
  10. kizanne

    kizanne Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The 'art' of skinning is laziness. I don't want to pluck or scald. I like have little to no equipment needed for my processing . My set up and tear down are 5 to 10 minutes so I can just do a few when I run out in the fridge.

    There are many video's available on you tube and some threads here I'm sure.

    The basics of what I do. slit throat and drain. Cut off head, feet, wing tips. pull a few feathers about 1-1.5 inches above the vent. Pinch skin insert knife (sharp paring knife though I'm sure there is better available). Just don't puncture the gut since you didn't gut (you can we just don't). Pull skin up and run knife where anything sticks all the way up to neck and over to sides. Peel off leg skin, I use the knife to stab a hole through the attachment at the bend in leg to make it easier. Being a girl I chose not to just pull really hard like my hubby. Slit skin at throat so it isn't a circle. Cut any thing hanging on like the esophagus. Use knife to peel skin off back, peel wings similar to legs (it is like taking off a sock). now it is only attached at the butt. I can at this point filet the breast, legs, thighs and wings off. I'll cut and keep the neck. Then unless I want giblets I throw the rest out. Take my bowl up to the kitchen and rinse meat and trimming any excess fat or missed feathers at leg joint. Packaging them how I like for storage. I like to put breast together in 1 lb packages. I like to put the legs, thighs and wings in pack of 3 (there are 3 of us). I'll cut and keep the neck.

    One of the benefits of this method is in the same amount of time I spend doing other methods I get cut up in dinner sized portions chicken and we don't do a lot of spraying with the hose which is great on cold days.

    Of course we have also went the other way with cutting at the vent first and gutting, rinsing then skinning and keeping the chicken whole.

    Things I have learned after about a year of doing this. I like my chicken fresh not frozen cause I forget to defrost stuff for dinner. I like mine already cut and bagged for dinner so I don't come home at 5:30 and face having to cut up a chicken before making dinner.

    We don't eat the skin and don't do a lot of roasting. I use the crockpot for whole chickens and they come out just fine. I like to simmer chicken on the stove if it is a younger chicken in dishes like cachatorie, curry and such.

    I save giblets for every chicken we processed for a long time. I found I rarely use them. I tried making stock only had that work twice. I don't like chicken liver. The dogs do but it isn't worth the effort of gutting especially in the cold. I did save some right before Thanksgiving for the stuffing. I like gizzards but now one else does so....

    We aren't the people you see in the video. I am never going to be able to process a chicken in 2 minutes or what have you. We don't want to set aside whole saturdays to process 25 chicken. For us this system works great, for others they have different goals. We'll get up one Saturday morning, set up a plastic table, bring down two paring knives, spray the table with a bleach cleaning solution, wash it off. We have gloves, papertowels, a big bowl and ziploc bags. Takes about 5 minutes to set up. We'll kill two chickens, me and hubby will both skin a bird. He'll part it out. Set the meat in a bowl. Kill another while it is draining I'll run into the kitchen clean up the meat pop it into a bag, date it throw it in the fridge. He'll spray the table with bleach solution scrub and spray it down. We'll do 3-5 chickens that day in about 1 - 1.5 hours. While I'm cleaning the last bowl of meat he cleans the table and kill bucket. We are done and have enough for 2 weeks (which is how long fresh chicken lasts in our fridge, well about 2.5 weeks). Then in 2 saturdays we do it again. It doesn't take all day we don't have to plan to do it. We can do it in the cold, heat, early in the morning before our sensitive 14 year old daughter wakes up, and the neighbors get nosey.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2012

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