Good dual purpose?

ConchRepublic

Looking For My Marbles
10 Years
Jan 22, 2010
616
5
129
Dunnellon, Fl
Okay, did a search and all I get are ones focusing more on meat or more on eggs. I'm looking for one that is good in both fields.

We live in an area where the temperature can get up to 105* with humidity, and the winter temps can be in the teens. I'm looking for a hardy breed that can handle the range without much issue and still lay a good number of eggs and also be excellent meat birds.

The breeds we've been looking at were BRs, BOs, and Delawares. We aren't looking for RIRs to much as the ones we seem to always get typically aren't big enough for an eating bird unless they are a show quality RIR. Any suggestions on what to get? We are looking for more of a pure breed as we plan on breeding these as well.
 

Freeholder

Songster
11 Years
Mar 23, 2008
410
11
151
Klamath County, OR
I think if I was in your area, I'd probably go with the Delawares. I don't know if you've looked at the Sand Hill Preservation Center catalog, but they have a list of how well their birds lay, and the Delawares are consistently in the top ten or so. None of the dual-purpose breeds will be as good for meat as the Cornish cross, but they'll have more meat than an egg-laying breed. You could select for better meat type as you breed over the years.

Kathleen
 

NYREDS

Crowing
12 Years
Jan 14, 2008
5,644
438
303
All of the breeds in the American class were intended as dual purpose fowl so I'd say go with the one that looks best to you.
 

patandchickens

Flock Mistress
12 Years
Apr 20, 2007
12,520
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341
Ontario, Canada
Bear in mind that no dual-purpose breed is any good as a meat bird when compared to what you get in the supermarket. The carcass of ANY dual-purp will have a lower ratio of meat to bone, and far less white meat, than you are used to. (The flavor is also better, and they make most excellent soup stock from the bones that are left!)

Because of this, there really is no "best for both". If you care about egg production, get something with a good laying reputation. If you could care less about eggs period, and don't mind rather expensive slooowwwww-grown meat, get something like Cornish (not CornishX, *actual* dark or WLR Cornish) or Turkens or a meat-type strain of NHR. Honestly it will not make a giant difference in how much meat you get, although rapidity of maturity/growth will make some real difference in the economics of producing that meat.

FWIW the best-tasting chicken I have et so far was a Chantecler cockerel. Mmmmm! However his surviving sisters turned out to be lousy layers (this may not be true of all Chanteclers, but this line was).

Good luck, have fun,

Pat, raising Speckled Sussexes of a fairly heavy-bodied strain for eggs and eating, although any other breed would serve about as well
 

Davaroo

Poultry Crank
12 Years
Feb 4, 2007
5,517
109
308
Leesville, SC
Quote:
Tall order: heat hardy, egg laying, table hefty 'chicken machines'. That sums it up, eh?

Almost all DP birds run in the same weight range and are the same in terms of chickeniness - there isn't a spittins' worth of difference between them. Delawares do have the added benefit of a light skinned carcass and white feathers, which makes for a more appealing table bird after processing. There are also White Rocks which offer the same.

The Buff Orpington has a creamier, butter-colored skin and you can also get Buff Plymouth Rocks, with the same attributes.

Lighter coloring is better in hot climates and large single combs help regulate body temperature better than other types. Chickens don't perspire, they pant. Anything you can do from proper color selection and combs to cooling aids like water misting will help.
They wont care nor be bothered unduly by humidity.

In terms of 'eatin' size', you are likely to find the same "problems" with any dual purpose bird as with the RIR's you have thrown from the running. They aint all that big, and they tend to be longer than squatter.

In terms of eat-a-bility, range run, dual purpose fowl are going to be hard-pressed to approach the mass, weight and tenderness of store bought chicken. Common dressed weights are in the 4+ lb range, with all the fibrous musculature you would expect from a running, jumpin, fightin' chicken.

Your best bet is to separate males from females as soon as they show themselves - then butcher all but the few best breed males at about 12-14 weeks for use as "young broilers." As you select and cull over the season from the pullets for next year's breed stock, the "selectees" become the makins' of stew, soup, chicken salad, etc.
 
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Freeholder

Songster
11 Years
Mar 23, 2008
410
11
151
Klamath County, OR
We do need to keep in mind that leghorn cockerels were our great-grandparents Sunday fried chicken in a lot of cases.

From what I've seen, just from pictures so far, Buckeyes do make a fairly decent carcass by the time they are four or five months old. You might also try the slow white broilers from Welp -- a friend has some, and she says the hens are actually very good layers. She lost all her roosters, and is going to get some more and see if they can be made to breed true. (They are a crossbreed, I'm sure.)

Kathleen
 

ConchRepublic

Looking For My Marbles
10 Years
Jan 22, 2010
616
5
129
Dunnellon, Fl
We're not really wanting to get into Cornish X Rock bids mainly because of the ones sold by hatcheries now aren't expected to live past the "prime butcher" date, which ours will. I knew some people that had them and almost all ended up with really poor legs and were hardley able to walk.

Quote:
This is pretty much what we were planning on doing. We were going to order 40 straight run chicks and separate the males and females. The prime 3-4 males would be kept for breeding stock and the rest would be sold of to friends, family, and the like as eaters, or if they want, as pets. Females would be kept to give a good supply of eggs except for culls which would end up as the same way as the males. The best of the females and best of the males (mainly largest of both, probably best layers of hens too) would probably be kept as breeding stock for new generations and eaters.
 
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Davaroo

Poultry Crank
12 Years
Feb 4, 2007
5,517
109
308
Leesville, SC
Quote:
This is pretty much what we were planning on doing. We were going to order 40 straight run chicks and separate the males and females. The prime 3-4 males would be kept for breeding stock and the rest would be sold of to friends, family, and the like as eaters, or if they want, as pets. Females would be kept to give a good supply of eggs except for culls which would end up as the same way as the males. The best of the females and best of the males (mainly largest of both, probably best layers of hens too) would probably be kept as breeding stock for new generations and eaters.

You should select hens based on the following:

Early sexual maturity (onset of laying)
Persistence of laying (keeping it up without interruption)
Low tendency towards broodiness
Good rate of lay (1 egg every 2.02 days)

Personally, I'd add short molting periods with rapid restart of laying. This is an obvious and clear sign of persistence.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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http://www.journeytoforever.org/farm_library/ppp/ppp6.html

and here:

http://www.journeytoforever.org/farm_library/ppp/ppp8.html

When you're done, download the rest of the book - it's FREE!
 
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BarredBuff

Songster
10 Years
Dec 6, 2009
1,924
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I would say Barred Rocks without a doubt I havve 7 pound hens putting out jumbo eggs four times a week
 

MANNA-PRO

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