Help me choose birds for my flock.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Vallen513, May 16, 2009.

  1. Vallen513

    Vallen513 In the Brooder

    Apr 23, 2009
    I am planning on having up to 20 birds. By the 4 sq. ft. per bird, I could have up to 24.

    I would like a mix of egg layers and meat birds. I have a family of 5. Would like enough egg layers to produce enough eggs to sustain us, and if extra, that is ok. The rest of the birds I would like to have as meat birds to put in the freezer. Good taste is the most important factor for both the meat and eggs. For the meat birds, I would like something that would be good to grill or fry, not something that you would have to cook for a long time.

    What would be a good mix of birds to get?

    Also, when do people usually cull their egg layer birds for meat? By the time you cull the egg layers, is the meat tough, where you have to cook it for a long time to soften it up?

    Any other useful tips, link, info. would be appreciated.
  2. Polish Chickens

    Polish Chickens Songster

    May 9, 2009
    Polish chickens are kept more as an egg layer and Jersey Giants are as a meat bird
  3. citrusdreams

    citrusdreams Songster

    May 4, 2009
    I like to get dual purpose chickens. I felt that the RIR, buff orpington, and EE gave lots of eggs and got to be a good size for eating. Mixes among those also gave good dual purpose.

    The last batch of roosters I cooked were RIR and EE crosses, they grew pretty fast. I don't remember how much they weighed dressed but two birds fed six healthy adult appetites. But they were about 5-6 months old when I processed them. Half wound up in chicken and dumpling soup and half were pan fried after being coated with flour and some spices. All were really good. The pan friend ones were not tough or anything.

    I haven't ordered any meat birds, but I'm sure others will chime in [​IMG]

    I would have ordered meat birds if I thought I could raise another batch out of them. But I was told they get too big and their legs can't really support them, and they wouldn't be able to be bred to give a clutch of meat for me, it wouldn't be economical to buy meat birds. After buying your first batch of dual purpose, you could just breed them back and put clutches in the freezer.

    Has anyone here ever kept a few of those big meat birds and bred them for more freezer birds?
  4. Ugly Cowboy

    Ugly Cowboy Songster

    Apr 25, 2008
    Corn, OK
    RIR, BR's, EE's, Buff Orp's, and you could get a couple ducks to, the eggs are great and I think duck's about the best meat wise LOL.
  5. call ducks

    call ducks silver appleyard addict

    Mar 4, 2009
    waterville , canada
    hi And [​IMG] i just wanted to say if you don't want a good looking meat bird go for meat kings. and yes they grow fast wich can be a good thing
  6. kingmt

    kingmt Songster

    May 1, 2009
    Mason WV
    Wow there is just so many birds out there to chose from but I would say look for a dual purpose bird. If you keep hatching every 6 months then you can call your layers for meat @ 1 year for boilers & they could be fried or grilled with only a little chewing. If you use a smoker then that will tender them up. Find a hatchery that you want to use & see what they offer. has a lot you could look at to get an idea.
  7. If you are going to do the meat bird thing.....
    May I suggest you do this first and raise them to freezer camp size and then start on your permanent flock.

    I have a mix of layers and and a few nice roos. My meaties have been in the freezer for over a year now. We are still working on having them over for dinner.
  8. thedeacon

    thedeacon Songster

    Nov 14, 2008
    This spring I purchased 15 different breeds from MM. I am watching them to see which ones will be the best gainers by 16 weeks old. that appears to be the best age for butchering. I will then compare the carcas for size, meat, cooking ease and flavor.
    I prefer my personal experience as you will note everyone on here has their own opinion and before you know it, there are 20 different "best birds".
    It has also been a lot of fun watching and trying to decide which breed each chick is. At 8 wks old, can now ID most of them. I also included some poulets in my order to increase/replace my laying flock. I will also replace my RIR roo as he is overly aggressive. Hope he makes good chicken soup. [​IMG]
  9. Vallen513

    Vallen513 In the Brooder

    Apr 23, 2009
    Thanks for all the suggestions. I'll probably be buying from Mt. Healthy, since I can drive over there. I haven't thought about ducks, I'll have to check them out.

    I won't be getting a rooster, because of neighbors. So I'll have to purchase chicks periodically. Or is it possible to get a rooster sexually mature to fertilize the eggs before it starts to crow?
  10. Quote:Maybe some one on here could "stud" their roo out to you.

    Don't laugh, I have seen it happen.

    roos crow, they crow for no apparent reason, they like to crow, they never stop crowing, they are roos.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by