Dual purpose flocks, eggs and meat?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Noymira, Aug 4, 2011.

  1. Noymira

    Noymira Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 9, 2011
    Chittenden County, VT
    We want to harvest some birds for meat next year. What I'm going back and forth on is how to do this.

    We have a 10'X10' coop and a 12'x19' + 9'x10' run, as well as almost an acre of grazing that can be dedicated just for the chickens. Right now I have 15 chickens; 7 pullets, 7 hens and 1 cockerel. The breeds I have are: White Rock, Partridge Rock, Barred Rock, Rhode Island White, Rhode Island Red, New Hampshire and Black Copper Marans.

    Can I use my flock to raise chicks in the spring and just harvest the extras we don't want to winter over? I have a tractor I can modify for freedom rangers if I need to, but I was wondering about just keeping a dual purpose flock that replenishes itself. Has anyone kept a mix of breeds like mine and harvested them for meat? I could actually care less about large breasts, I like and prefer dark meat personally on my birds. I just don't know enough about harvesting for meat yet to know if I'm better off ditching the DP flock idea for two separate flocks. I just kind of like the idea of having one large flock rather than separate pens, but I have the space to keep them separate if needed.

    Any thought or stories of your flocks would be helpful! Thanks!
     
  2. bigredfeather

    bigredfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What breed is your cockeral? Is he a big guy?
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2011
  3. Noymira

    Noymira Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:The cockerel is a Barred Rock. I've also been offered a Black Copper Marans cockerel from the same place I got the Black Copper Marans hens, but am still thinking on that since I'm not sure I want two roosters.

    The cockerel is 12 weeks old, so he's still growing, but a good size.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2011
  4. homesteadapps

    homesteadapps Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Good breeder stock White Rocks will make very good table meat.

    If you want comets breed the RIR to the WR for a good laying hybrid.

    Just look for the traits you want and keep breeding for those traits.


    Meat birds may be the best way to make meat quickly, but the dual purpose are very worthwhile in a backyard setting. The old hen slow cooked and shredded make delicious shredded chicken sandwiches.

    Check this link too:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=442602
     
  5. bigredfeather

    bigredfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yorkshire, Ohio
    You have some great DP breeds for eating. Although you will never be able to produce anything like a Freedom Ranger or CX, crossing your BR roo with any of your hens should produce a nice eating bird. If you have the patience, finding the right cross could result in a faster maturing bird. I think the first cross I would try is your BR with you BCMs. I have butchered quite a few of my purebred BCMs and they are good eating bird. Skin is really white and the LQ are quite meaty. If they are all running together already, maybe try hatching out some and see what you get.
     
  6. Noymira

    Noymira Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Thanks for that link, very informative!

    I'm not so concerned about meat quickly, and I'm not even sure I want to harvest and freeze 20+ birds at one time. I guess maybe I'm leaning more towards a backyard DP flock, that way we can harvest a couple at a time as needed. I've still got a lot of research and thinking to do, I feel lucky to have BYC as a resource!
     
  7. Noymira

    Noymira Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Chittenden County, VT
    Quote:I'm not too worried about a fast maturing bird, the cornish X kind of freak me out a bit. I am kind of excited to see some barnyard crosses from the birds I have. I was thinking the same about the BCM's, I've heard they are good eating. I may just leave them all running together and put eggs under a broody in the spring to see what happens. I may still pick up the BCM cockerel and decide which cockerel to keep in the fall and eat the other one.

    I think I'll be spending a lot of time browsing the meat birds forum this winter! Thanks for your thoughts!
     
  8. AlbionWood

    AlbionWood Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Albion, California
    We do both - some CX to fill the freezer, and we let the hens hatch some chicks to replenish the laying flock and eat the cockerels. One thing to keep in mind about those cockerels is they will be crowing for about 2 months before they are ready for slaughter... you get pretty sick of that if you have several of them. Last year we started with 12 cockerels and had to build a separate pen, with visual barriers so they couldn't see the girls; that way they didn't fight, but they still crowed all the time.

    Otherwise it works fine, just takes a long time (and lots of feed) to get meat. We like the flavor and texture of the DP birds meat. The breast filets are wonderful fried, the thighs take more cooking, and the rest makes incredible soup.

    I wouldn't tractor FRs, seems like that kind of defeats the purpose. In fact we raised our CX under broody hens, so they learned to forage a little, and we didn't really tractor them either.
     
  9. In His Service

    In His Service Wise Men Still Seek Him

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    We raised some Cornish X and liked the result. Now we are trying the DP method, both with broodies (3 at once) hatching eggs, and using the incubator. We have in mind to have all excess cockerals butchered before winter, so only keeping one rooster/cockeral per coop/run for breeding in the spring. We have a lot of crowing, but I like it and the neighbors have yet to complain. Next spring will be the first year we have hens over 2. We have found them new homes in the past with people who want lawn ornaments, not tons of eggs. We may be butchering old hens next year [​IMG] just don't tell the kids yet. If we get Cornish X again, it will be when it gets cooler.
     
  10. Noymira

    Noymira Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 9, 2011
    Chittenden County, VT
    Quote:Thanks, all good things to think about! The coops aren't close to the house, and we do not have any close neighbors who'd complain (my close neighbors have 3 very NOISY sheep, so they've already promised no complaints about roosters), but the noise is something to think about. I do have another pen I could use as well.

    If we did FR's I would modify the tractor I have just so I would use it to just secure them at night, otherwise they'd be let out into the semi-enclosed pasture to range.
     

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