Cross breeding


Nov 16, 2020
Bethel, Maine
Hi Folks,
I have read many posts here but have never registered or posted before.
I had a variety of heavy breed chickens for about 10 years, between 1990-2000. I'm on my 2nd year back at it in a different location, Bethel, Maine, where I grew up.
I started out with an experiment in mind, produce better meat birds without buying the "frankenbirds" sold for only meat production and to get a self sustaining supply of birds good for eggs or eating.
I got 24 female Barred Rocks locally from Paris Farmers Union and got 12 Barred Rock males, and 12 Dark Cornish males from McMurray's. I butchered all but 1 each of the males once they were mature. I free ranged 22 of the males but there are too many issues about that unrelated to this topic, let's just say that I didn't do it this year!
I separated the flock in half putting 1 each of the 2 remaining roosters with half the hens. This past spring I got a 48 egg incubator, only 8 eggs did not hatch, 3 chicks died hatching, and I lost 1 more 2 days later. I ended up with 36 birds, 10 were pure Barred Rock(4 female 6 male), 26 were Dark Cornish/Barred Rock mix(10 female 16 male).
I butchered all but 1 Rock rooster and the 10 mixed breed hens last month. I had wanted to save 1 mixed rooster but they were quite mean and aggressive. The mixed breed roosters had almost double the meat on them as the pure Rock roosters! So I think my experiment worked but something odd happened in crossing the breeds. ALL of the mixed roosters were barred like my Barred Rocks, although much darker, and had rose combs. ALL the females were totally black, with that greenish tint in the right light, even their legs are black, and until recently their combs were totally black! Can anyone explain to me why this happened? The mixed hens I kept are laying quite well but their eggs are only about medium grade in size even though they are large birds. Also, none of the 4 pure Barred Rock females layed. I butchered them and they didn't have any eggs in them. Can anyone tell me why this happened? The original birds I started with were from different sources but my mixed hens lay well...
I hope someone can give me some insight here. Thanks.
Hello! Welcome to BYC!! :frow How old were the female barred rocks when you butchered them?
They were just over 6 months old, my Rocks from last year started laying at 19 weeks, and the mixed hens that were hatched at the same time had been laying for over a month. I only have so much room in my winter coup so I had to eliminate hens anyway so I just kept the ones that were laying.

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