Good meat bird besides the Cornish X?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Buster52, May 7, 2009.

  1. Buster52

    Buster52 Songster

    Jan 28, 2009
    Geronimo Oklahoma
    I'm new to this meat chicken stuff, and want to do this right not only for what is best as a grower, but what is best for me and my family. Our big thing is to raise and kill our meat (rabbit, fish, turkey, chicken) as humanely as possible.

    I'm reading all of these horror stories about the Cornish X and have decided they aren't for me. No offense to those of you who raise and love them, but I feel for me it is raising an unnatural creature that probably suffers through its last days even if butchered at 8 weeks.

    So, is there a good meat bird (preferably a heritage breed) that gives good meat, has a good size, an efficient feed-to-meat ratio that could work for us?

    What is your favorite non-Cornish X meat bird?

  2. SoJoChickens

    SoJoChickens Songster

    Mar 9, 2009
    Fountain Green, UT
    Nothing converts feed to meat like the Cornish X. Your best bet is one of the "dual purpose" breeds like Australorps, Orpintons, Faverolles, Plymouth Rocks or Delawares (if you can find them). These are all fairly early maturing breeds.

    Edit: I forgot to mention Wyandottes [​IMG].
    Last edited: May 7, 2009
  3. Harp Turkey Ranch

    Harp Turkey Ranch Songster

    Dec 18, 2008
    McCleary, WA
    you can try colored rangers

    far as fcr's Cornish X's win that hands down, but for the quality of life and free ranging colored rangers win that hands down
  4. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    One of the dual purpose breeds or the newfangled (old school) French range breeds should do. As mentioned, nothing will flesh out like a Cx at ten weeks, but before there were Cornish X's, these were the birds used.

    They often went with the white feathered varieties of birds like Rocks or Wyandottes, as they give a cleaner looking carcass after slaughter.
  5. Buster52

    Buster52 Songster

    Jan 28, 2009
    Geronimo Oklahoma
    Excellent. I just happen to own a buff orpington rooster (my hens are all small breeds, though) and there is a hatchery here in OK that sells chicks. I'll order some pullets when I get a chance.

    The other reason I'm looking for an alternative to the CX is because we want to be as self sufficient as possible, raising as much of our own food as possible. Shipping in birds every season kind of defeats that purpose (it makes us just slightly less self sufficeint), so we want a bird we can keep and breed long term.
  6. Judy

    Judy Crowing Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I'm hoping to do the same. I bought several dual purpose breeds this year and will slaughter most of the roo's in a few weeks. Want to breed chickens that will reproduce on their own, so I bought breeds that tend to go broody. They are only 11 weeks now so I will see how it goes, and keep watching here for threads like this.

    When I was a kid in northern Illinois, LONG time ago, we would get a bunch of RIR or BR chicks each spring, use them for meat, and keep a few hens for a while for eggs. But I think we used to eat even the layers before the winter really set in; can't remember really, and my parents are long since gone.

    Colored rangers, like Cornish X, are a cross and will not breed true. Not to put them down, but it's not like you can buy 25 and just let some of them breed more. You can only do this with the "dual purpose" breeds, like BO, BR, RIR, Wyandottes, etc.

    I agree with you, I don't want any Cornish X. Regular old Cornish are an alternative, as are Plymouth Rocks. You might also look into Cobbs, not easy to find, here is a link, but I know nothing about this person:
  7. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    Keep in mind that any bird will be a "meat bird" once prepared for the table. Feed them well and properly, and once they have fufilled ther normal life span they are fit for the eating.
    If you want a bird especially to be bulked up, then you have to do some special things. Otherwise, fattening them for 3 weeks prior to slaughter is about the norm for regular fowl.

  8. TimG

    TimG Songster

    Jul 23, 2008
    Quote:The Orpingtons you order from the hatchery are unlikely to reach the breed standard weights (Cock-10 pounds; hen-8 pounds; cockerel 8-1/2 pounds; pullet-7 pounds). It seems that since the advent of the Cornish cross for meat, there is less emphasis on size in the dual-purpose breeds. Or, perhaps even 75 years ago it was just the exceptional specimen that lived up to the breed standard.

    Anyway, you should not expect your Orpington cockerel to grow to over 8 pounds (and thus produce a nearly 6 pound dressed bird).
  9. maf2008

    maf2008 Songster

    Feb 19, 2009
    What is the BEST duel purpose and why? Barred Rock? RIR? Orp?
    I am looking for a breed that can be bred and I can ahtch the eggs. I do not want to buy chicks either.

    What to do to "fatten up" before slaughter?
  10. ssledoux

    ssledoux Songster

    Mar 14, 2007
    I'm raising Cx and some free-ranging meat birds. I don't find the Cx to be bad to raise and they certainly grow quickly. Of course, there is certainly no breeding them. However, even my barred silver free-ranging meat birds (that are at least 2-3 weeks older) are no comparison in size.

    My Cx are out in a large dog run (10x10). I only have 6, and we move the cage every couple of days. I let them in the pasture as well. Just this morning these guys were running all around and flapping their wings. They are at least 6 weeks, if not older (I'm not quite sure because I bought them not knowing their exact age). I find that by letting them do some free-ranging (and they WILL do it, even if people say they won't), they seem to be doing much better. I put one of the longer red feeders out in the morning and that is all they eat for the day. They never even have it empty by the evening. They pick at the grass, run around, and are enjoying life.

    It just makes me sad that as human beings we have controlled the breeding of something until it can't live a normal life. I doubt I will raise them again, even though I find them easier overall.

    This is all new. I may have a lot more issues with the butchering and everything else than I realized. This may wind up making me a vegetarian!! [​IMG]

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