Dual purpose breeds as meaties

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by fwschrom, Jul 29, 2010.

  1. fwschrom

    fwschrom Chirping

    Jun 20, 2010
    Hayden Idaho
    Some observations at eight weeks.

    I ordered Plymouth Rocks, White Rocks ( all Pullets ), Light Brahma, Orpingtons, Jersey Giants, Australorps and Dark Cornish this year from Cackle. Egg production was my main goal with a couple of fun breeds thrown in, with a few meat birds as culls. On the Rocks I ordered all pullets but I got one White Cockrel by accident. I purchased 5 Buff Orpington Cockrels as meat birds. No don't get me wrong they are growing and doing fine, but next year it won't be Orps. The white rock at 8 weeks is considerably larger, and even the hens are bigger than the rest of the hens, except the Brahma's. The accident has saved himself from the freezer camp by being so much larger and having a very large breast and I am going to us him for breeding ( dumb luck on my part). If I did it over again I would have gotten all white rocks, the buffs might catch up but they seem smaller and slower growing than the rocks.

    I know this sounds wierd but my Light Brahma cockrels are my biggest birds right now, and I am really suprised how much bigger and heavier they are than all the rest of my birds.

    The dark cornish are coming along fine but they are slow growers, I will say I have some males with massive legs and breasts but at 16-18 weeks these guys are no way going to be ready to process.

    Lessons learned, I would have never figured that the Brahmas would be putting on weight like no tommorrow, I only have two cockrels and I am keeping them for breeding.

    Looking back I would say Brahmas and White Rocks are the best meat birds right now. My brooder is full of Delawares and Delaware crosses but they are 6 weeks behind the rest and its too early to tell how that will work out.
  2. MrChicken207

    MrChicken207 Chirping

    Jun 4, 2010
    Caribou, Maine
    Sounds like youve got a pretty good plan going on there. IMO that's how chickens are supposed to be raised. You could keep some of the cornish and cross them with some of those rocks (experiment with a rock rooster and cornish hens, and with a cornish rooster and some rock hens) pick the match-ups that work best for your purposes and repeat the next year. You'd have some pretty decent sized birds a few months after hatching. If your delawares (non-cross) grow as fast or faster than your rocks, keep some for this crossing as well.
  3. momdrinkstea

    momdrinkstea In the Brooder

    Oct 3, 2009
    I've done Barred Rocks, New Hampshires, Cornish X, Australorps, & Auraucanas this year.
    All started the same age, in early April. The Cornish X, of course, grew fastest, but the Rocks grew almost
    as quickly and now they're HUGE! I'd love to try the Brahmas next year, looks like they get almost as
    big as a Jersey giant! Good to hear they grow quickly, were they as fast as your Rocks?
    Did you like raising them? Do they eat A LOT?
    Raising Silver Cross Cornish now, I like them much better than the white X we did earlier.
    Good luck with your new flock! [​IMG]
  4. KatyTheChickenLady

    KatyTheChickenLady Bird of A Different Feather

    Dec 20, 2008
    Boise, Idaho
    another strike against the BO's is they eat sooo much more. I can never understand why they are called DP unless someone was going to eat old layers.
    one thing I found with the Light Brahma was that A LOT of the weight was bone.
    I'm with you on the white rocks for DP. and agree with the other poster, keep back your cornish hens and cross with that white rock roo next year and you are on your way!
  5. petrelline

    petrelline Songster

    Feb 13, 2009
    Los Gatos, CA
    I've grown rocks, BOs and brahmas for meat. The rocks grow really fast, but the BOs do catch up around week 16. I found the BOs had slightly larger legs and thighs than the rocks but the body shape is pretty much the same. I didn't find that BOs eat much more, but I was raising them in a mixed flock so I can't be sure.

    The brahmas I grew were enormous, but I was warned when I got them and found it to be true that they put on size and weight in the skeleton first, and then fill out. But it's 24 weeks+ before they start putting on real meat. That's an awful long time to wait.

    I like rocks a lot. It helps if you can find true rocks rather than hatchery production lines; the latter are smaller and narrower so they're not as good for eating.

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