Feeding for Flavor?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by jennyf, Feb 6, 2017.

  1. jennyf

    jennyf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Curious about what folks' feeding thoughts are for tastier birds? I'm starting with Cornish X--has anyone had good results finishing for a couple weeks with corn? I swear I thought I read something here about apples here too. Please share your tricks! :)
     
  2. phalenbeck

    phalenbeck Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Flavor to my thinking is free ranging, older birds, getting dual purpose over cornishX. I just finished dark cornish that tasted gamey, and of course dark meat breeds.
     
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I raised up some egg production bred cockerels and finished heavily on scratch/corn. Didn't notice any difference.
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Interesting question. I don’t have any tricks but I do believe we are what we eat to a certain extent. To me the most noticeable taste differences are due to sex and age, those can be pretty straightforward. It may be possible to pre-flavor the meat but I’d think the taste difference based on what they eat would be pretty subtle. You can try adding something to their feed, I’d suggest herbs or spices since they are so flavorful, but I’d think any herbs or spices you add at the cooking process would have a much stronger effect.

    This is just opinion. The best way would be for you to try something, feeding one group one with something to flavor the meat while having another group butchered at the same age to give you a comparison. That way you try to negate the very noticeable differences age makes.
     
  5. SJ

    SJ Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    As stated we are what we eat. IMHO flavor is directly related to more than just the feed inputs but husbandry methods also. In short a happy, healthy, "farm" from the soil on up to the farmer makes for superior table fare. With that said, are there feed stuffs that influence meat characteristics? Yes.

    If one looks into the French production model for "Bresse" meat one may note that timing and housing are also considerations when finishing meat birds along with a specific diet.

    To your question on corn, my experience is that extra corn will "fatten" all age classes of chickens. Corn is an energy rich feed. If the bird's intake of calories exceeds their daily energy requirements a portion of the excess calories are stored as fat. This fat can have a "corny" flavor if the ration is heavily corn based. Not all corn is equal thou. Flint corn is not field corn, is not popcorn, is not flour corn, ect.

    As for apples, they too are diverse. Not only in their available nutrition, but flavor. These differences affect feed acceptance by the birds. I have watched chickens refuse to eat some apple varieties until they sour or the maggots are discovered in the rotting fruit. While the same birds ate every windfall under other trees greedily. To the point of flavor I would claim that a sweetness is gained from HEAVY apple feeding that is detectable in taste and aroma. The fresh apple doesn't "fatten" birds when fed alone because the fiber content is too high and the birds gizzard to small. There is a lot of sugars present but not enough usually to "fatten" birds on.

    As to finishing out an animal to the liking of my pallet, I like a pastured bird (14-30 weeks depends on breed and gender) that has had heavy clover grazing with plenty of insects in their growth weeks. Take this bird and confine it for 10-14 days in cool/shaded housing. While confined, feed a mixed ration of sprouted BOSS, sprouted oats, & fermented cracked corn mash. 1:3:6 respectively.
     
  6. jennyf

    jennyf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you all for sharing, this is interesting! What got me thinking was having access to a decent quantity of pecans. My layers love them, and it got me thinking... Chicken with subtle pecan notes sounds pretty good! :)
     
  7. SJ

    SJ Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    Now there is something I would love to taste. No pecans up here but the hickory nuts do affect the pork flavor to my liking. A nutty note go figure.
     

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