1. Come check out hundreds of awesome coop pages (and a few that need suggestions) in our 2018 Coop Rating Project!

Delawares as meat birds?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by FarmerCarl, Feb 11, 2009.

  1. FarmerCarl

    FarmerCarl In the Brooder

    Jan 28, 2009
    West Michigan
    Anyone raise Delawares for meat birds? I'm thinking about getting some, hoping the hens will go broody, raise more and free me of having to buy chicks every spring.

    I was reading up on rare breeds and decided on them. I like the Delawares, they were originally bred as meat birds, but are now considered rare. From what I've read, they sound like a good dual purpose bird too. Along with the meat, I would get eggs too. Sounds like a win win to me.

    If you have Delawares, are the hens broody? Do the birds make enough meat to make it worthwhile raising them?

  2. CovenantCreek

    CovenantCreek Chicks Rule!

    Oct 19, 2007
    Franklin, TN
    Only one of my Delaware hens has gone broody, and that happened only once. Maybe someone will think about it this spring. Mine aren't the best representations of the breed, though. They're more typical of the hatchery birds. However, I can say that my roo grew fairly quickly and probably would've been a nice dinner "guest". Maybe you'll want to invest in an incubator & brooder to help the less broody hens.
  3. crperdue

    crperdue Songster

    Oct 30, 2008
    Lake Waccamaw, NC
    I'm currently raising Deleware pullets with a New Hampshire Rooster. I plan to hatch out the chicks (red sex links) and use the males as broilers and the females as layers/stew hens.
  4. estpr13

    estpr13 Songster

    May 18, 2008
    Lexington, Ky
    I raised some Delies from egg to dinner. The hens didn't go broody but laid well enough. The roosters constantly fought among themselves and their white feathers would be stained with blood after a knock-down, drag-out fight. So several got invited to dinner. They tasted good. A single roo isn't too bad. Two or three penned together and they will fight. They never attacked me.

    They seem to forage well. Can fly a bit. They are a bit independant, tending to do what they want even tho they know what you want them to do.
  5. kenman

    kenman Songster

    Jul 10, 2008
    Southwest Missouri
    I am using Delaware roos to cover my RIR's, NH's, and BO's. I am looking for roosters that have enough meat for supper and hens that can lay. I raised several batches of CornishX this last summer/fall and got sick of the constant mess. They were massive and good to eat, but man, they could make fertilizer! I know I am giving up meat potential, growing rate, so forth, but I think I can use close to the same amount of feed to get a nice sized bird. And yes, the two I have fight like cats and dogs!
  6. fasbendera

    fasbendera Songster

    Jan 30, 2009
    I am into my fourth year of raising meat birds. Last year my husband asked if there was any other kind of meat bird. I remembered my parents raised Indian Rivers and it was the new meat bird way back when with fewer leg problems. No hatchery I contacted had heard of them. A little web searching and I found they had been renamed Delawares. I don't remember my parents having any problems and we raised 200 at a time. I am sure the meat to feed ratio isn't as good as the Cronish X but they used to be the meat bird of choice.

    I am tempted to try a few this year just to compare.[​IMG]
  7. dancingbear

    dancingbear Songster

    Aug 2, 2008
    South Central KY
    Why not keep a few broody type hens, such as dark Cornish, Light Brahma, Cochin, or some other that tends to brood well, just to hatch your Delaware eggs? (I did not suggest Silkies, because they may be a bit frail to keep with Delawares, but if you had a separate place for them, they'd work fine) The dark Cornishes that I have, (not good breeder stock, just MMH stock) lay fairly small eggs, easy to tell from the others, so easy to avoid hatching by mistake. For that matter, you could isolate the hens you want eggs from, for just a few days, when one of your broodies gets broody. Then mark those eggs and stick them under the broody. The hens don't care who laid them, they'll hatch anything when "the broody spell" is upon them.

  8. FarmerCarl

    FarmerCarl In the Brooder

    Jan 28, 2009
    West Michigan
    Quote:What you're doing sounds good to me. I have RIR hens, plan to bring home some Buff Orpington pullets, and want to get some Black Cochins to brood and raise chicks along with the Delawares for eggs/eating.

    I raised the Cornish X last summer and just want something a little more independent and self sufficient, not to mention the smell!

    My next question is where should I buy my Delawares? How about the Black Cochins? I already have a source for the BO's.

    I also don't know how to deal with having a rooster around fertilizing all the eggs when you sell eggs to people for eating. What's the best way to manage that?

    All my chickens free range for now. My dog keeps them safe.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2009
  9. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Breeder Delawares are more likely to give you the deep body that they're supposed to have. And the Dels I am raising come from very broody lines, which I think has been bred out of most hatchery strains.
  10. FarmerCarl

    FarmerCarl In the Brooder

    Jan 28, 2009
    West Michigan
    Thanks for the info Cynthia. Where would I find the breeder Delawares with the deep bodies?

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by