Few meat bird questions for non broilers, dual purpose breeds.

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by cupman, Oct 19, 2011.

  1. cupman

    cupman Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 12, 2011
    Portland, OR
    Friend and I were going to do a project of meat birds but it keeps being put off, we've decided to go full into it for Spring with an incubator and we kind of want to try a dual purpose bird we can self-sustain. I asked about the genetics of a broiler making chicken and well it became clear we would not be able to sustain and hatch our own broilers. So I just had a few brief questions and asking for your opinions.

    1) If we hatch them out, in theory we will get 50/50 cockerels to pullets. Can they all live together until age of slaughter or will the roosters kill each other?

    2) What is age of slaughter on your standard LF bird, we were thinking possibly Barred Rock or Speckled Sussex. Would 4 months be too soon, you think?

    3) Kind of in relation to question #2, but opinion time.. what make good dual purpose breeds? What have you personally found to be the best?
  2. justbugged

    justbugged Head of the Night Crew for WA State

    Jan 27, 2009
    1. Yes you can keep them together. They should be still to young, by the time you butcher to getting into trouble.

    2. I would say that you are looking at 4 to 6 months on the breeds that you mentioned.

    3. I am very impressed with my Light Sussex birds at 6 months they are very large. I do believe that they are good layers too.
  3. Illia

    Illia Crazy for Colors

    Oct 19, 2009
    Forks, WA
    1. - Yes. Especially being raised together they'll do fine.

    2. - As said previously, 4-6 months [​IMG] Personally I do it when I feel the bird is right. Sometimes I'll even wait til 7-8 months but those usually go to the dogs. I feed my dogs raw chicken.

    3. - I would recommend French Marans most, but Sussex from imported lines are always really nice too, truly heritage (non-hatchery bred) breeds are really nice, and if you don't want a big eater but still some good meat, Araucanas (real ones, not Easter Eggers) are excellent. It all depends on your personal taste, your climate, and how you want to purchase your birds. (hatching eggs? order chicks? purchase adult parent stock?) Personally I'd steer clear of hatchery stock because they don't breed for dual purpose or size.
  4. cupman

    cupman Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 12, 2011
    Portland, OR
    Right on, thanks guys I'll look into those birds.
  5. homesteadapps

    homesteadapps Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 8, 2010
    As a side note to the comments above. I'd recommend breeder stock especially with the rocks since they normally are a little larger then the hatchery stock. You can find these at poultry shows -- just google APA shows with your state.

    Another good chicken for meat is the Buckeye.
  6. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    For heritage birds that won't be butchered until 4-6 months, I recommend that you pen them separately. The males will be getting quite obnoxious by the time you butcher them.

    If you are keeping the hens for laying, or selling them as point of lay hens, then I would be feeding the cockerels game bird for faster growth and more muscle and the hens would be on a flock raiser, and then have extra calcium made available to them somewhere between month 4-6. Different purposes, different feed regimens.
  7. Tracydr

    Tracydr Chillin' With My Peeps

    You might look at naked necks. The layers lay a huge, brown egg, lay well even when hot, tolerate heat and cold, are gentle, easy going birds. They are big and meaty.
  8. miss_thenorth

    miss_thenorth Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 28, 2007
    SW Ont, Canada
    My DP birds are BR and BR mutts. I butcher when they start crowing, and yes they can be kept together, The roos don't get into fighting for real until after they start crowing. Usually 4-6 months. My DP birds finsih out at about 4 lbs. They don't make nice looking roaster, but they are some tasty birds.

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