Delaware's for Meat

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Coles FreshEggs, Jan 21, 2014.

  1. Coles FreshEggs

    Coles FreshEggs Out Of The Brooder

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    Ipswich, Ma
    I have raise thousands of Cornish X Cross broilers. I have found the best ways to raise them, the hatcheries I do well with, and the hatcheries I don't. However, my customer base is now under the impression that it is in-humane to raise these Cornish Crosses. I was wondering if anyone had any experience in Raising Delawares for meat. I am a numbers guy. Any numbers regarding feed intake, the final weight of the bird, how quickly they are raised. They are fairly good for egg production, and if the meat numbers add up I may just switch my entire operation to purebred Delawares, so I can save a few bucks and hatch my own hens. Share some numbers with me, and I'll be happy to share my numbers with you. Us local farmers have to stick together, sharing knowledge and information is hard sometimes, but it's something we all need to do. Best of luck to everyone, and I hope someone can help me!
     
  2. my sunwolf

    my sunwolf Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'm really curious about anybody's responses to this as I am in the same boat! My opinion is that feed conversion is just not worth it; that my prices would have to raise significantly to accommodate slower growth rates and conversion, not to mention my labor, and that the taste and texture of the bird is not going to be what the customer was after in the first place. I've tried to satisfy some customers by agreeing to free range my Cornish X, but we have had so many hawk losses that I am re-thinking that plan.

    Delaware would be my alternative choice of meat bird. I think Delaware cockerels kept in broiler-style pens might be decent fryers at a few pounds each by 12 weeks old. Then the girls could go into the egg flock? Or also slaughtered at 12 weeks for a "game hen" style carcass (pretty small). Sounds like a good idea that's at least worth a try.
     
  3. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    I know Delawares had a place in olden days broiler industry but think a New Hampshire would have better growth rate. Good Shepherd Ranch has a heritage line of New Hampshires. If you contacted Frank Reese directly he may give you some solid information on them specifically or have another breed that outperforms. They maintain many lines of heritage birds and sell meat and breeding stock/hatching eggs.

    http://www.goodshepherdpoultryranch.com/

    Here is the sale list of 2013. You see he has the old meat line of New Hampshire that they obtained in 1956 and have continued as a meat bird.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/735637/good-shepherd-poultry-ranch-sale-list-for-2013
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  4. Coles FreshEggs

    Coles FreshEggs Out Of The Brooder

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    Ipswich, Ma
    I agree completely. People want that "flavor" but are not aware of the huge cost increase to us, and that the falvor wouldn't be what they wanted in the first place!
     
  5. my sunwolf

    my sunwolf Chillin' With My Peeps

    Love the idea of those New Hampshires, really beautiful lines, but the reason I'd go with Delawares is the pin feathers issue! I guess a Delaware or White Rock crossed with the New Hampshire might produce a nice white hybrid?
     
  6. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    If your going to make hybrids than you might as well go with a heritage Cornish and heritage White Rock. This would produce great Cornish cross meat birds that obviously wont perform like the commercial Cornish X but would do very well with double breasted and clean carcass. You could promote heritage birds and still get the best growth rate/feed conversion possible.

    You know, you'd have to maintain both lines of parents then use the Rock Cock over Cornish females when collecting your meat bird eggs to hatch. More intensive than running one heritage breed but definitely a reproducible hybrid from from the parent lines.

    If there is a market for heritage meat birds I'd think it would bear the dark feathers. If not the Heritage White Rocks of today are fast maturing and larger than any other variety of Rocks. I'd think they'd be better than Delaware too but that's all theory and will check back here to see what the #'s are from those doing it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2014
  7. rc4u

    rc4u Chillin' With My Peeps

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    the "indian river cross " is Delaware and new Hampshire hen...and was produced by 30,000,000 in 1948.... Jeff
     
  8. Paul Ewing

    Paul Ewing Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 24, 2010
    Boyd, TX
    I did some experiments with heritage breed cockerels as meat birds at the request of people wanting something besides Cornish Cross birds. They wanted a "natural" heritage breed because of all the marketing the slow food types have done against the Cornish Cross. Well I delivered these requested birds that averaged 3 pounds at 20 weeks or so and had the standard narrow razor breast and large leg quarters and I can say the only number that matter is the 90% of these super foodies that were disappointed in what they got. The only ones that liked them were into stock making, but they still wanted me to only bring them the nice little mini turkeys like they could buy in the store again.
     
  9. Rabid Rooster

    Rabid Rooster New Egg

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  10. Rabid Rooster

    Rabid Rooster New Egg

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    Scratch a lot farms raises Delarware chooks for meat birds.
     
  11. enel 1

    enel 1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    if your already buying broiler chicks but your customers think its crule to raise commercial birds and your looking for an alternative, then what about the ranger type birds, they grow out a little slower but still have good feed convertion, I've been working on a range type roaster and am making good progress, but it still has grandparent and parent lines to produce them. I'll pm you some pics and maybe, over the next several months together we can work something out.
     

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