Dual Purpose Birds?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by City Gardener, Jan 25, 2010.

  1. City Gardener

    City Gardener Out Of The Brooder

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    We are getting ready to start a flock of dual purpose birds. I'd like to keep them for a couple years for eggs, and then use them as stewing birds. I know they'll be tough, but if you cook them for a long time in the stew pot, I'm thinking they'll be okay.

    Also, we'd get a straight run and slaughter the roos earlier. I've got my eye on Speckled Sussex, Plymouth Rocks, Jersey Giants, and some others...

    Does anyone do this? It seems like most people are doing Cornish X.
     
  2. Cindiloohoo

    Cindiloohoo Quiet as a Church Mouse

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    I'm in the process of doing this with my Delaware's. The culled birds from my breeding program will be eaten. The eggs get hatched and eaten. That way I have a constant supply of meat and eggs and a safety of not losing my entire flock to predation. I always have some in the bator [​IMG]
     
  3. Neil Grassbaugh

    Neil Grassbaugh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:You will be disappointed in the meat aspect of this plan other than using the spent hens as stewing chickens.
    If you ever have sexlinked brown egg layers you will then be disappointed in the egg laying ability of the breeds mentioned above.

    Most efficeint way to go-
    Sexlinked brown egg laying pullets for egg layers and stewing hens.
    Meat type chickens for meat.

    But if you just want to have fun and a lot of colors follow your plan and expect to spend a lot of time, feed money and cooking fuel for a little bit of meat off the males. Oh - and the agravation of having them around for some time after sexual maturity. The pullets could be laying before the males get big enough to slaughter.
     
  4. TimG

    TimG Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 23, 2008
    Maine
    Quote:Yes, some people do this. I know of a family that is very happy doing this with Brahmas, they tell me that the six month old roosters that they slaughter are fine for roasting. I've also read about people taking this approach with Buckeyes. I'm sure those are not the only breeds people do this with. The trick is getting a strain of the breed that grows large and lays well (or deciding which characteristic you are willing to compromise more with).

    People who do this often claim that their chicken is more flavorful than the quick growing Cornish Crosses and prefer the texture of the slower growing bird. Of course, that is personal preference.
     
  5. JoAnn_WI_4-H_Mom

    JoAnn_WI_4-H_Mom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There is not yet any true breeding chicken that grows like a CornX or looks like it in the pan. If that kind of result is what you are looking for, you will be disappointed with the heritage dual purpose breeds, as the earlier poster said.

    This summer I raised Speckled Sussex and Delawares, heritage breeds often touted for their meat qualities. I raised mine on rotated pasture so feed costs were not too bad. However, they had to get to 20 weeks to be of a butchering size, and they never developed the breast meat that a CornX would have. Howwever, if you like dark meat, the legs and thighs were very well developed and the meat very dark from all the fresh plant matter.

    We will raise more heritage breeds (trying Buckeyes also this year) alongside the CornX broilers. We will remember to have a separate pasture for the boys as they get bigger, as they beat the pullets up something fierce towards the end.

    If you want to be super efficient with your birds, it will be difficult to get away from reliance on hatcheries stock every year. I, like you, are looking for the combination of qualities I can live with, and one of those is less reliance on hatcheries and hybrid breeds. As other posters have said, that trait comes at a feed-efficiency cost.
     
  6. City Gardener

    City Gardener Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 22, 2009
    I do want -- sometimes! -- a more flavorful, older bird. There are recipes like coq au vin, which are specifically intended for scrawny old roosters. You just don't get the same flavor with a younger bird. In general I am a fan of tough meats that have to be cooked slow and long.

    However, I realize I might not want a stewed bird all the time... But the Cornish Xs seem a little weird to me, from what I've read on these boards.

    Appreciating all your input.
     
  7. fla_native

    fla_native Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Haines City Fla
    Quote:This is the approach we have taken and it works quite well for us. We use Delawares and Jersey Giants. Both breeds lay 6 out of seven days-large to extra large eggs.
    The Delawares mature fairly early ....heck, until the Cornish cross' came along, they were THE commercial meat bird!
    The Giants are just that...giant! Longer to full maturity great stewing birds and if you learn to caponize them the roosters ,especially the Giants, will produce a roasting bird comparable to a small turkey.
     
  8. kooltex

    kooltex Chillin' With My Peeps

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    NE Tx
    IMO, I think it's well worth it....you just can't beat the flavor of those heritage breeds! Especially an older Roo or hen. There may not be as much meat, but it has 10x the flavor. Yum!
     

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