Dels vs Marans vs Dorkings...

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Chickhick, Jan 31, 2011.

  1. Chickhick

    Chickhick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I started in chickens last year, and I LOVE them. I love the eggs and I love the meat and I just love hanging out with them!! I have tried a lot of breeds and I am narrowing it down to some of my favorites. I am trying some more breeds this year based on what I learned last year. (Such as: I don't like crests, I don't like black eyes- they creep me out, and I like the general shape of meaty DP breeds as apposed to the little leghorn types.)

    I have culled/ will cull everything except the Sussex from last year's breeds. So this year, in addition to my beloved Sussex, I am getting Dorkings, Cuckoo Marans, Delawares, Barred Holland, Minorcas, Welsummers, Ameraucanas, and Silver Pencilled Rocks. I'm hoping to settle on "my main breed" this year. That will be the breed that I keep roosters from and breed regularly for replacements and meat.

    I think I'm only keeping the pullets from the Welsummers and the Ameraucanas for their unique contributions to the egg basket, and probably only the pullets from the minorcas, too, because of slow growth rates and little meat. (I still have to see how the eyes are for the Minorcas in person. My silver Campine looks possessed with her beady litttle black eyes, so all the Minorcas will go if they are as creepy-- they remind me of Ford in Stargate Atlantis after he is infected with Alien blood!) [​IMG]

    I'd love to hear advice on which of these are most appropriate for meat. I know Dorkings grow slowly, but they are supposed to be nice and meaty (eventually) and they forage well.

    I'm getting the Marans and more Sussex from Steve of S and S Poultry, the Rocks from Wynette, the Dels and Ameraucanas from Whitmore, and the Dorkings, Hollands and Minorcas from Sand Hill.

    Any and all comments welcome.

    Thanks!!!
     
  2. KatyTheChickenLady

    KatyTheChickenLady Bird of A Different Feather

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    I've been impressed with the marans.
     
  3. Mrs MIA

    Mrs MIA Chick Magnet

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    My personal experience...
    My Dels were good layers, but whenever I had trouble with pecking, it was the Dels that were doing it. They were the best for egg layers.
    The Marans are nice, quiet, unassuming birds, beautiful eggs, but don't lay as well.
    The Dorkings are great meat, smallish on the eggs, but lay a little more than the Marans. And though everything you read says they go broody at the drop of a hat, I've only had one hen try to go broody on me in the 3 years that I've had them. The combs on the roos are magnificent, and require extra care in the arctic weather. Don't know where you are located, so I don't know if that's an issue or not.

    So, it depends on your goals.
    Lots of eggs, Dels.
    Lots of good meat, Dorkings (and the added benefit of increasing the population of a rare breed)
    Dark eggs to wow your friends, and good sized birds for the freezer, Marans. [​IMG]
     
  4. Talihofarms

    Talihofarms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'v had them all, and it seems that the Marans are not only preferd by me, but my customers as well.
    Although they can be speratic with their laying.
    As far a a meat , propably my favorite.








    just my .02
     
  5. Chickhick

    Chickhick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm in Alabama, so we don't usually have a lot of really cold days, though this year we've had more than usual. We do have some frostbite on a few a the roos. Next year I'll try the Vaseline. How cold is cold enough to cause frostbite on those big beautiful combs?

    Talihofarms, why do you and your customers prefer the Marans? -- Meatier carcasses or the taste/ texture of the meat?

    We actually get more eggs than we really need, so although having eggs is important to me, I don't need a super layer because with the number of birds I have there are plenty of eggs and then some. I always want more meat, though. And I've found that I am pretty good at processing. [​IMG]

    Do you have to wait much much longer to process the Dorkings in order to have a reasonable amount of meat?
     
  6. Talihofarms

    Talihofarms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:We are here on the N.Ill/Wis border.
    The BCM we have, are pretty regular layers up till winter. Then it is hit or miss.
    We raise Cornish & Freedom Rangers also.
    Which we sell quite a bit more of.
    The Marans that we sell for Meat are an Organic free ranged bird. We cull quite a bit of roosters.
    Having said that, the meat texture is not tough, but has a real chicken flavor. Marans have a dense breast.
    The Marans are usually harvested between 5-7 months old. These are some large birds. We have very few to sell, customers who have had them tell me that the taste is more like a chicken should..taste.
    Our Marans spend spring through fall in the pasture. We sell between 75-100 every fall.
    I also like the Freedom Rangers, fallowed by the cornish X. (meat only)
    Which cost much less to raise to market size in 8-12 weeks.



    Hope This Helps
     
  7. wood&feathers

    wood&feathers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My one mature cuckoo marans is a great layer, but she did set and raise a brood at only 8 mos old, so was out of action during that time. The up side is that she molted and feathered in after Thanksgiving and has been laying strong all winter while everyone else was off. The only drawback I see with the cuckoo is size, though she makes up for that in being a great forager and light eater of bought feed. From what I can see with Marans, if you want a real dual purpose bird with large meaty cockerels you should go with Black Coppers or maybe wheatens. They really are larger IMO, plus they lay the darkest shades of egg.

    I can never get Delawares because I think they might wind up predator bait around here - white just jumps out at me as a bad idea. I have met some and they are nice meaty birds, seemed friendly enough. I've no experience with Dorkings.
     
  8. AlbionWood

    AlbionWood Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Last year we raised some Delaware, Sussex, New Hampshire, and Buff Orpington cockerels for slaughter. At 18 weeks, the Dels were by far the best carcasses (4 to 4.5 pounds), with shorter and thicker breasts than the others. The Sussexes were a bit of a disappointment; fine-textured meat, but not much of it.
     
  9. Chickhick

    Chickhick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:What variety of Sussex was it... Light, Speckled, or what? My Light, Silver and Buff grew very fast, but my Speckleds and Reds are kinda small. I'm thinking of crossing my reds and speckleds with a bigger roo to put a little more size on them.
     
  10. AlbionWood

    AlbionWood Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They were Speckled, hatchery birds. I suspect they've been bred for color alone and lost the meat-producing character. Very wide variation in size at the same ages. Nice birds though, maybe someday I'll try Light Sussex... but it will be hard to get me off this Delaware kick!
     

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