Dorkings, Orpingtons, or Bresse

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by cukooformarans, Dec 26, 2012.

  1. Bresse

    2 vote(s)
    15.4%
  2. Colored Dorking

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. Red Dorking

    1 vote(s)
    7.7%
  4. Silver Grey Dorking

    7 vote(s)
    53.8%
  5. Orpington

    2 vote(s)
    15.4%
  6. Other- Please Specify :)

    1 vote(s)
    7.7%
  1. cukooformarans

    cukooformarans Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am trying to decide whether to go with dorkings, bresse or orpingtons (or some other breed that I have yet to discover if anyone has suggestions). We are looking for a dual purpose bird, but at this point the primary emphasis is for quality and amount of meat. (We will have enough hens that any decent layer should provide enough eggs for our family of three. More eggs to give away is a bonus, of course)!

    Several articles indicate that the dorking has a better texture and breast, and I have read outstanding things about the breed for meat production. The fact that they tend to go broody is a bonus for us since, again, we should have plenty of eggs with 10-15 hens and not having to artificial brood is awesome. However, some articles, including the BYC dorking thread, indicate that these superior qualities have been greatly reduced and there are only a small number of breeders trying to get them back into their glory (for utility). I have also read that the colored dorkings are the largest and best for the table, but can't find any for sale. I know that careful selection must be made for any breed, but would prefer to start with the best flock I can afford and improve from there or at least try to maintain. Our set up is so small it would be difficult and take a long time if I had to start with low-quality stock.

    On the other hand, I already have some very nice lavender orpingtons and am on a waiting list for 75-100% English BBS to get some quality blacks to further improve size. (The rooster is already larger than any hatchery bird, IMO. A friend who raises several breeds of chickens came over the other day and couldn't stop taking pictures he was so impressed.) I had two hens that started laying in July and they have not laid a single egg since sometime in October/November. (While meat is my primary focus at this point, no eggs is not going to work). Of course, the 75-100% English Orps I am waiting on should increase weight, I don't know what it will do for egg production. I also wonder how much of the extra weight is meat and how much is bone, etc.) I should note that these girls laid an egg a day until the days started getting shorter and we are not supplementing light. I do, however, have one turken hen that is laying consistently so I am disappointed about the Orps. Unfortunately, the turken is the smallest bird I have so that breed is not on the table right now.

    As a novelty, I have also considered the Bresse but would like more information on how they are working out for folks in the USA before giving them much serious consideration. It may be a great experiment to feed them out they way the French do, but I would only be able to do a few per year that way. The rest would be regular free range chickens. If the feeding out is all that makes them special, they probably wouldn't be practical for us. Especially since the white would stand out to hawks.

    If you have read this post, thank you, It is rather long and I apologize. But any opinions/advice would be greatly appreciated! And if you know any good breeders of the breed you suggest, that would be awesome, too!! Thanks, everybody!
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2012
  2. flowerchild59

    flowerchild59 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 25, 2010
    Southern IL
    I don't know about you but I think I would consider a naked neck. They are considered a delicacy in europe and I have eaten them and they are easy to raise, lay pretty well and make good table birds.
     
  3. cukooformarans

    cukooformarans Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for your response! I couldn't believe no one had any input at all! We have raised the turkens/ naked necks. We really enjoyed them, they have been very consistent layers , and they tasted great. My husband loves the way they look. However, the ones that we have had have been much smaller than our orpingtons and I was hoping for a little larger bird. Are there breeder quality naked necks that would be larger than the ones around here?
     
  4. punk-a-doodle

    punk-a-doodle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 15, 2011
    Have you tried S & G? I've been told they have birds with some meat on them. No idea if that is the case or not. Haven't been able to find photos for Urch NNs. Where did you get yours from?
     
  5. cukooformarans

    cukooformarans Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We bought from someone around here but the birds originally came from Murray McMurry.
     
  6. cukooformarans

    cukooformarans Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What is Urch ? :)
     
  7. LilyD

    LilyD Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 24, 2011
    Bristol, VT
    I can't speak to the Lavender Orps but I have Silver Gray dorkings and their size is amazing. I have not hatched any colored Dorkings but if they are anything like the SG one in my avatar then they will be winner. I am not processing him because I am hoping he will breed me some wonderful babies once we get some warmer weather. Everyone is on strike right now because temps just went down to single digits. The ladies are not happy with that. When I pick my boy up (or the girls for that matter) you can feel the breast through the feathers and you can barely feel the keel bone at all. Keep in mind that he hatched in the beginning of May so is only 8 months right now, but starting when he was around 4 months or so he had a fairly muscled body. I can't wait to get some boys to try next year. I might even order some boys when I order more layer girls so that I can have some ready mid summer for processing.

    I have eaten orps before and I can tell you that they were okay but nothing to write home about. They take a while to get to processing weight and I had a really hard time with them being aggressive towards me and anyone else who went within reach. I ended up processing them early so that I could have a little peace rather than waiting long enough for them to get really meaty.

    My choice right now would be the Dorkings just based on personality and size alone.
     
  8. pascopol

    pascopol Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Tampa Bay
    I went trough same dilemma, so far from many "dual" purpose breeds I kept over the years Light Sussex meat was standing outi, even 6 month old rooster was tasty and tender.
    But since I always want to know and experiment I decided to get into Dorkings, started with Colored (from Mary Wetterstroem Fl) now hatching eggs of Silvers and Reds.
    I am also getting Dark Cornish to play some crosses with the above. As for Naked Necks I had them, good birds and layers, but I do not see any Necks superiority as their meet over other common duals.

    Apparently all meat chickens in UK until about WW2 were Dorkings, Sussex and Indian Games, before the onslaught of "fast" Cornish crosses. Also personally I like white skinned bird better than yellow skinned.

    I was thinking about Bresse, but I have a suspicion that their fame as a gourmet bird in France has more than breed to it. Perhaps the way they are raised, prepared and the region factors in? Who knows. What made me think, reading hundreds of threads about Bresse nobody in US seems to have any opinion or reports tasting their meat here. That's a red flag to me!

    I would still give them a try but not at current prices. Little too rich to me for sake of experiment only.
     
  9. cukooformarans

    cukooformarans Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Pascopol- "As for  Naked  Necks   I had them,  good birds  and layers,  but  I do not  see  any  Necks  superiority  as their meet  over  other common   duals."

    This has also been our experience with them. The meat was good but there wasn't as much of it. If you could get a really nice sized one, the naked necks do have the advantage of fewer feathers to pluck, though! :)
     
  10. cukooformarans

    cukooformarans Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It is interesting to me that the silver gray dorking is winning on the poll. My previous research had indicated that they were smaller than the coloreds or the reds, but I find the silver grays to be much more attractive so would love a utility reason to justify them over, or at least call them equal to the others. right now i am leaning heavily toward dorkings and colored dorkings don't appear to be available so it will probably be red or silver gray. Some of y'all who voted for silver gray, can you tell me why? Also, what are the best sources currently available?
     

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