Crossing dual purpose breeds?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by Fenika, Nov 3, 2010.

  1. Fenika

    Fenika Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 25, 2010
    I have to wait until next year to get my chickens, but I'm still wondering how many of what breed to get [​IMG]

    I want a dual purpose flock that has some great egg layers and good to great meat birds (though I know they aren't as great as the non dual-purpose birds).

    Breeds that appeal to me most are: Black Australorps, Buff Orphingtons, Delawares, Barred Rocks, and RIRs.

    Do any of these cross really well? Any not-so-well?

    I want to have a closed flock (after adding some French Guineas), so I need to plan who to breed and cross breed down the line. Mean roosters won't be tolerated, so I might end up with some RIR roosters or they might all go to freezer camp!

  2. HaikuHeritageFarm

    HaikuHeritageFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 7, 2010
    Anchorage, AK
    Christina, I may be biased but I feel really strongly that the Delaware has the potential to be the best dual-purpose breed on the block. Since being developed in the 40's as THE preferred broiler breed, it has turned into a fantastic laying breed, being a very reliable producer of large to jumbo light brown eggs.

    If you're choosy about where you get your stock from on the outset, you're also still going to get dense, meaty cockerels in addition to good laying hens.

    The Barred Rock is perhaps a close second, but hatchery BRs have been even stronger selected for strictly laying capabilities, so I don't know how much good the BR cockerels would do for your freezer.

    Depending on how you look at it, the advantage of either of these breeds over the others is that the hens can be used to produce sex-links with a red rooster. Delaware hens and a red roo create a very good red sex-link. I've heard many swear that this cross is great for meat birds, too. Barred Rock hens and a solid color roo will make black sex-links.

    Good luck in your planning!
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    I recommend American dominiques. They are not terribly good at anything but they used to be!
  4. Fenika

    Fenika Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 25, 2010
    Thanks for the quick reply, Haiku and Centra [​IMG] Clearly I'm going to have to order more Delawares. I didn't know you could get a sex link from them, and the fact that the offspring should make good meat birds too is very encouraging. If I wanted to sell some chicks it would also be handy to have sex-links.

    I plan to get my chickens from McMurry's. They say their Barreds are good roasting birds, but I'll see how that goes.

    I'm not too familiar with the Dominiques but I'll look into them.
  5. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I've had all these but Delawares, and what the other poster said about Delawares I'm sure is correct. They all lay pretty well and I think you will find you prefer the taste of a DP, once you eat a few and get accustomed to the difference. Certainly there is nothing like the broth these birds produce.

    BR's I have found difficult to dress and the hatchery ones I had were short on perosnality as well. RIR's were good eating and easy enough to dress but, again, personality was lousy, and the roos were awful in the behavior department. We had these two breeds when I was a kid and even then (a LONG time ago) the roos of both breeds were awful. Of course you can get a good roo of any breed but I think these do tend to be not-so-good, at least the hatchery ones.

    Orps are probably the best DP breed if you want a lot of dark meat as their legs grow quite large.

    I would love to cross buff orps and black australorps for the colors. Australorps are much like buffs in that they grow to a really good size.

    Of course these are hatchery birds that I'm talking about. If I had to start over, I would have RIR and Sussex for the simple reason that they are good DP birds and I can buy breeder quality locally. (Sussex were bred for meat in England, before the days of Cornish X.) I would encourage you to check out the possibility of finding a breeder near you. There is a remarkable difference in the quality, and I predict you will wish you had, when you start crossing and processing.

    I don't think you will run into any problems crossing them. I have a bunch of mutts now, interesting multi-colored things. Though if I had an orp roo (never got one) or australorp roo (he got killed) I'd separate them out to breed their own kind, or put them together to cross breed.

    If you go with hatchery birds, I'd strongly recommend getting New Hampshire Red rather than Rhode Island Red. Appearance is similar but they are much larger and nicer birds.
  6. can you hear me now?

    can you hear me now? Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 18, 2008
    Southwest Missouri
    Here is my suggestion. Barred rock hens and Rhode island red hens. Then a Rhode island red rooster. The offspring are black sex links from the barred rocks. The little roos will have dots on heads and pullets not. They are also awesome dual purpose and really early egg layers. At least the ones I have had.
  7. Fenika

    Fenika Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 25, 2010
    Thanks Dawn and CYHMN.

    Will NH Reds create a sex link like the RIRs or are their genetics not up for it? I don't have to have sex links, but it would be handy [​IMG] BRs with RIRs and then RIRs again sounds like a fun mix.

    Where do I go about finding a local, reputable breeder? Are there listings on BYC? I'm in North Carolina...
  8. Chickanmanfromarkansas

    Chickanmanfromarkansas Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 18, 2010
    Black Australorps, Buff Orpingtons, Delawares, Barred Rocks, and RIR. I have had experience aith all these breeds except for the Delaware. Al are good breeds. Good egg layers and fairly good meat birds, but hope you know that it will take longer to growe them off.

    As far as crossing ( most are pretty good still at laying and meat). There are hatcheries that are cross ing the Delaware rooster over New Hampshire hens and calling them Indian Rivers. They say that they were one of the first to bew developed for the broiler industry.

    If you are wanting to keep pure bred chickens just pick one of the breeds. If you don't care order a few of each breed and decide for
    yourself what you like. Everyone on this forum will tell you to get what they breed, but I say go with what is appealing to you and decide if you like them or not.
  9. Cowgirl71

    Cowgirl71 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 5, 2010
    Missouri Ozarks
    All of the breeds you mentioned sound good. You can make a lot of sex-links. [​IMG]

    Black Australorp x Barred Rock=sex-link (barred males and solid black females)
    Rhode Island Red x Barred Rock=sex-link (this is the classic black sex-link hatcheries sell)
    Buff Orpington x Barred Rock=sex-link (males barred and females... scroll down for pics;))
    Rhode Island Red x Delaware=sex-link (white males and red females)
    Buff Orpington x Delaware=sex-link (males Delaware colored, females sorta like a buff columbian)

    These are the same breeds I've chosen to have and breed in the future, except for the Delaware, and only because it's white (more susceptible to predators).

    Here are some pics of my BO x BR sex-link pullets...



    Here's a pic of how to sex them as babies... Far left and third left are females (gold face) and far right is a male (silver face). Chick second from left is a purebred Buff Orpington.
  10. Cindiloohoo

    Cindiloohoo Quiet as a Church Mouse

    Dec 19, 2009
    Southwest TN
    For what you are wanting, the Delaware's for meat & eggs, and some RIR's for sex linked offspring would be perfect. I have them and they are great birds. You WILL want to seek heritage lines though as the hatchery...well you could get anything. The traits you are seeking breed true in the heritage lines and you will have better results with personalities, and dual purpose abilities. There is a new Delaware site, with breeders list, and I am sure you could find heritage RIR breeders as well. The Delaware site is here You should join if you go with Delaware's! It is a brand new club, so may be a bit quiet starting out [​IMG] Membership is FREE...for now. [​IMG]

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