Creating Meat hybrids

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,694
21,377
907
Southeast Louisiana
In most respects, no. The offspring gets one of the genes at the gene pair from each parent so both contribute equally, except for the sex linked genes. There is always an exception when talking about chicken genetics just to make it confusing. For all practical purposes though, sex linked genes do not matter in what you are talking about so ignore them.

When trying to breed a hen for egg laying you generally look at the hen. You can see what she is contributing genetically. A rooster doesn't lay eggs so you can't be sure what he is contributing, but he is contributing as much genetics toward egg-laying as the hen. If you know what the rooster's mother and grandmothers were doing egg-laying you can make a good guess at what he might contribute but the hen is easier and more reliable.

It's pretty much the same if you are talking about only eating the male offspring. The males and females grow differently. You can tell a lot more about what the rooster will contribute meat-wise to his sons more than what his mother will contribute. Again, if you know what the hen's father and grandfathers looked like you can get an idea what the hen might possibly contribute. Both parents will contribute genetically equally for all practical purposes.

This applies to where you have several Dorking roosters to choose from, choose your best one. But a Dorking hen will contribute just as much to the conformation of the offspring as a Dorking rooster would. It's just easier to tell what the Dorking rooster might bring.

I hope that makes sense.
 

NatJ

Free Ranging
Mar 20, 2017
6,761
13,380
596
USA
I'm guessing people mostly use the Cornish rooster because hens of any other breed will tend to lay more eggs and eat less feed.

If the cornish is a typical cornish-cross hybrid, then it's also hard to keep them alive long enough to breed (they get too fat and die unless kept on a strict diet.) If you use the cornish rooster, you only need one of him, vs. probably wanting several hens--so that's fewer birds that need special care.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,694
21,377
907
Southeast Louisiana
I'm guessing people mostly use the Cornish rooster because hens of any other breed will tend to lay more eggs and eat less feed.

If the cornish is a typical cornish-cross hybrid, then it's also hard to keep them alive long enough to breed (they get too fat and die unless kept on a strict diet.) If you use the cornish rooster, you only need one of him, vs. probably wanting several hens--so that's fewer birds that need special care.

Actually the opposite. The males get so big they are not able to mate, you may need to use artificial insemination. A dual purpose rooster can breed the hens.

The Cornish X are raised commercially. Part of that is they are feeding the hens that lay the eggs which costs a lot, so they want them to lay a lot of eggs. They are actually bred for good egg production. Some people get pretty good sized eggs others get smaller eggs. The eggs don't have to be big, they just have to hatch.
 

Mr D

Songster
5 Years
Feb 25, 2015
61
20
101
SETX
I’m referenceing Cornish, as in Indian Game, not the commercial Cornish X. I’m patient, so I won’t need a super quick growth rate and I prefer going the more natural approach.
 

Egghead_Jr

Crowing
10 Years
Oct 16, 2010
7,494
3,569
436
NEK, VT
Traditionally speaking, the faster to mature and most conforming to the desired body type has been the Dam in making of meat hybrids. I'd think there is something to that trend but as Ridgerunner pointed out both parents are contributing equally so it doesn't make a lot of sense in theory.

In the case of Cornish Game the obvious reason to have the cock over another breed is Cornish hens don't lay many eggs. Good production in Spring season only. But if we go back to traditional meat industry hybrids like the Plymouth Rock over New Hampshire and other such meat crosses made prior the late 1950's it's always the male for frame structure and female for quick maturing.

Edit to add- The stock you start with will mean most to any gains. Hatchery stock simply does not compete in size and breadth to breeder stock. In the case of Cornish you definitely want to attempt to obtain standard bred Cornish. @Compost King has more insight to the state of Dorking, believe he states they are under standard weights and is working on improving that.

Dorking is a small bird by standard but matures very rapidly with excellent fleshing. CK implies they are even smaller than the standard weight when mature. You should look for his posts in this meat forum or drop him a line to get some of his thoughts on Breeder stock Dorking in the U.S.

The meat industry butchered birds as broilers 12 to 14 weeks of age. 4 lbs carcass weights with good fleshing was the goal of hybrids at that time and still is today for backyard meat birds that are not the CornishX commercial bird.
 
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Compost King

Free Ranging
Apr 19, 2018
3,304
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Salisbury, North Carolina
Dorking is a small bird by standard but matures very rapidly with excellent fleshing. CK implies they are even smaller than the standard weight when mature. You should look for his posts in this meat forum or drop him a line to get some of his thoughts on Breeder stock Dorking in the U.S.
Its actually the Opposite, Dorkings are a large bird that takes a long time to Mature and fill out. The Reason why their flavor is so good (and I have not had a male live long enough to process to find out) is because of the slow maturing process. The current problems with Dorkings.. or the ones I have is that very few survive to adulthood. 90% mortality rate. They start out good the first week then some start getting Lethargic, eventually a few weeks later the Lethargic ones die, in the mean time even more of them get lethargic and they die a few weeks later. By the time they reach maturity 10% are still living and in my case only females have made it to adulthood. @LilyD has stated she had similar results but I can't remember exactly what she said about them. I get the feeling she did better than 10% as far as survivors go.
To improve them I crossed them with Red Rangers, although i will admit I was just clowning around with breeding Red Rangers to different heritage breeds to see if I can make respectable semi-sustainable meat birds. The Dorking x Red Rangers turned out so well that I kept some around to breed back to the Dorking's in an attempt to improve the Dorking's.
 

Mr D

Songster
5 Years
Feb 25, 2015
61
20
101
SETX
Its actually the Opposite, Dorkings are a large bird that takes a long time to Mature and fill out. The Reason why their flavor is so good (and I have not had a male live long enough to process to find out) is because of the slow maturing process. The current problems with Dorkings.. or the ones I have is that very few survive to adulthood. 90% mortality rate. They start out good the first week then some start getting Lethargic, eventually a few weeks later the Lethargic ones die, in the mean time even more of them get lethargic and they die a few weeks later. By the time they reach maturity 10% are still living and in my case only females have made it to adulthood. @LilyD has stated she had similar results but I can't remember exactly what she said about them. I get the feeling she did better than 10% as far as survivors go.
To improve them I crossed them with Red Rangers, although i will admit I was just clowning around with breeding Red Rangers to different heritage breeds to see if I can make respectable semi-sustainable meat birds. The Dorking x Red Rangers turned out so well that I kept some around to breed back to the Dorking's in an attempt to improve the Dorking's.
Where are y’all getting your birds from to have such a high mortality rate? This doesn’t seem natural.
 

Compost King

Free Ranging
Apr 19, 2018
3,304
11,502
707
Salisbury, North Carolina
Where are y’all getting your birds from to have such a high mortality rate? This doesn’t seem natural.
Its an ancient breed with a very limited gene pool. I got mine from some off gird homesteaders in my area. At first I thought maybe they gave me siblings and that's why they had such horrible mortality rates then as I did more research I found others had this problem with that breed. Some had better results than others though.
 

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