Delaware Meaties

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by WV_Chicken, Jan 11, 2011.

  1. WV_Chicken

    WV_Chicken In the Brooder

    Sep 18, 2010
    Augusta, WV
    Do any of you out there raise delawares strictly for meat. My understanding is they were the original commercial broiler back in the 40's. I don't really want to go the Cornish X route and would like to have a flock of meaties that I can raise self-sufficiently.

    Do they pasture well?
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Crowing Premium Member

    The Dellie is still a good meat bird, as are the White Rocks. These birds were the meat bird leaders until the frankenstein types took over.
    They won't have the freakish growth of the X's, but if you bought straight runs, you might keep a few of the ladies for eggs and a roo or two for next year's stock. Just an idea.
  3. Cindiloohoo

    Cindiloohoo Quiet as a Church Mouse

    Dec 19, 2009
    Southwest TN
    I get great meat and eggs out of mine, but it takes longer for the boys to grow out than it does for the commercial broilers.
  4. CDennis

    CDennis Songster

    Apr 1, 2009
    Where is a good place to get Heritage Deleware chicks or eggs? I would like to add some to my flock.
  5. Wegs813

    Wegs813 Songster

    May 5, 2010
    SE Minnesota
    We are going to try using Del's as a DP bird and see how we like them. I have 4 chicks right now, and 12 more in the incubator. We have also talked about crossing a Del with a white rock and seeing what we get!!
  6. AlbionWood

    AlbionWood Songster

    May 24, 2010
    Albion, California
    I got straight-run Dels last year, kept the pullets for layers and put all but one of the cockerels in the freezer. Dels do forage quite well, and the cocks are generally very well-mannered and good flock leaders. We slaughtered at 18 and 20 weeks (I think) and got 4 lb carcasses (one was 4.5 lbs). The breast filets are still tender enough to fry at that age (and exquisitely delicious). Thighs and legs need a little slower cooking. The carcasses are nicely proportioned. I think they are an ideal dual-purpose breed for a self-sufficient flock; the hens lay well and reportedly will brood (haven't tried that yet).

    All that said, be aware that you'll be raising the most expensive chicken meat you've ever eaten. They just don't convert feed to meat at anything like the rate of the CornishX. To get a nice plump carcass in 4 or 5 months, you will go through a lot of high-protein feed. If you want to wait longer, you might be able to let them forage more and gain weight slower, but then you'll have to manage a flock of cockerels for many weeks after they think they're mature.... not much fun! We had to make a separate pen, where the boys couldn't see the girls (so they didn't fight... much), and the constant crowing was really annoying. And, if you go straight-run, half will be hens; which won't grow as fast or as big, and are better kept for egg production anyway.

    CornishX are in the freezer at least a month earlier - before any of the annoying crowing etc. - they are like a field crop that you just harvest all at once.

    I got Delawares from Privett Hatchery (through my local feed store). I've heard good things about some of the breeder lines, but honestly, the hatchery birds were pretty good for meat and character.
  7. WV_Chicken

    WV_Chicken In the Brooder

    Sep 18, 2010
    Augusta, WV
    I'm not too concerned about the 4-5 month waiting period. I'm more concerned about finding a meatie that I can raise self-sufficiently. Its more important for me to know where my meat came from and know that I raised it in a healthy, caring environment and that I raised it not some commercial broiler hatchery.
  8. TimG

    TimG Songster

    Jul 23, 2008
    You might have a look at Whitmore Farm. I believe they have been breeding for size.
  9. KatyTheChickenLady

    KatyTheChickenLady Bird of A Different Feather

    Dec 20, 2008
    Boise, Idaho
    Quote:hey cari, I know you said heritage, but I thought I would mention Dunlaps. They are just a local hatchery and they sell hatchery stock. BUT they are local and I have raised more than a few of their Delawares for 4-H ers adn I gotta say they are BIG birds. again they probably won't meet SOP or come even close but if your looking for a bird to butcher does that really matter? anyway it would be an affordable place to start from, just thought I would mention it. also if you are looking for a sustainable meat bird you have another nearby option of woodenanimals BCM's he has some really nice stock.
  10. Brunty_Farms

    Brunty_Farms Songster

    Apr 29, 2007
    Just about any DP breed will pasture well...

    Here's a link with pros and cons for DP's which included the Delawares. Keep in mind these are no where near a bird that has been bought from the store or a cornish x rock raised by a backyard enthusiast as far as shape, taste, or foraging characteristics.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2011

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