Help me pick my meatie breed!

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by AshleyFishy, Dec 28, 2010.

  1. AshleyFishy

    AshleyFishy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My husband and I are wanting to have a self-sustainable meatie flock to keep.

    I know there are alot of DP out there that are pretty good for meat but with slow growth. We are looking for a breed we can put on the table between 10-15 weeks or if need be let them pasture until time. A breasty breed is very important!

    Please help. All the breeds I can think of that are DP are best at 20+ weeks. Is it possible to cross a Cornish to a DP to get a breasty chicken? Or is there a slightly faster growing DP out there? Or a heritage meatie?
     
  2. Country Parson

    Country Parson Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ashley,

    I don't have an answer to this, but I just got 6 full-grown Dark Cornish chickens (5 hens, 1 Rooster). I got these because they are a meaty bird, but I don't know how fast they grow out. I'll be hatching out chicks this Spring and will find out.

    But, this breed is self-sustaining (e.g. can reproduce itself), and since I free-range I do cut down on feed costs. My guess is that I may not get the nice, large meaty white breasts of the CornishXs, but I think the meat I do get will have more flavor. We will see.
     
  3. AshleyFishy

    AshleyFishy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We recently did 3 of our FBCM Roos and they were very tastey at 6-7 months old! But yes compaired to a 'market' chicken they were mostly dark meat, but very tastey. Just very disappointed in the breast size, even on a 10-12 pound chicken [​IMG] I have some Orpingtons of the same age about to be processed come Jan, they do look more breasty thankfully.

    I had considered the Cornish also, they look very interesting. I had read awhile back that a BYC member was crossing the Freedom Rangers with a Cornish Roo and getting some nice broilers. If anyone has any up to date info on that as well?
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    I'm not aware of any heritage meat bird that finishes with a big breast at 10 to 15 weeks. Maybe the Freedom Rangers would work for you. I am not familiar with them.

    Some of the heritage meat birds are the Delaware, New Hampshire, and maybe the White Rock. They were bred for size and for light colored feathers so the carcass would look good when plucked, not necessarily to finish real fast. Of course, you would have to get birds bred especially for the carcass from breeders. I guarantee you that you would be disappointed with hatchery birds. They are bred for egg laying, not for meat.

    Crossing a Cornish with one of these should give you a relatively big-breasted bird but don't expect it to finish all that fast. A lot of breeding has gone into developing the Cornish Cross broiler to finish in 8 weeks. I think you may really have trouble meeting your goals as stated.

    Good luck!
     
  5. imthedude

    imthedude Chillin' With My Peeps

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    last night i butchered a 19wk, 6 day old delaware rooster. while his breasts weren't overly huge when compared to a store-bought bird, they were OK. his overall size was good, and the legs and thighs have a lot of meat on them. i'll tell you tonight how he tastes after a couple of hours in the oven on 275. sort of changed my mind on wanting to raise freedom rangers next spring. maybe i'll do some straight runs and butcher the males.
     
  6. JoAnn_WI_4-H_Mom

    JoAnn_WI_4-H_Mom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We have been impressed with the size of dark quarters on DP breeds in 10-15 weeks. Breast meat is always a disappointment at that age.

    We pasture and it really does seem to cut down on feed needs and improves flavor, but it also slows growth. We are willing to go a bit longer as we have the room.

    We are experimenting. We will cross our Buckeye Rooster to Delaware Hens this spring to produce our own sex-link (white roos, red hens)

    If that is a fun project, I may look for a dark cornish rooster to put over the Delaware hens, to see what that produces.

    I know I am discussing crosses here and you wanted a self-sustaining flock, but you may get closer to the eating results you want by keeping a small flock of breed A (ex Delaware, and hatching a few pure-breeds each year for replacements) and a small flock of breed B (example Buckeye or Cornish, and hatching a few pure-breed each year for replacements) and when you are ready to hatch specifically for meat, put your B roo on your A hens (and possibly yout A roo on your B hens) and see what you get. You may find you get a better meat result that way, while still getting the free-range capability you are looking for.

    On the Cornish, I understand they lay very few eggs. If that is true, you might need a second breed to get enough eggs year round for the table. In which case you are all set up for your meat cross....

    So I do not think the idea of two breed flocks is all that unthinkable, if your physical surroundings allow for it.
     
  7. AshleyFishy

    AshleyFishy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I have a laying flock already so not to worried about the egg part [​IMG]

    But I love your idea about flock A and flock B! I do think we will have to cross breeds to get something that fits our needs. Hubby says he isn't dead set on the 10-15 week mark and would go up to 20 weeks for a good bird. Would really like to stay away from the rangers, I heard that they are hybrids and do not breed true. If I was breeding my own hybrids from the parent stock that to me is self-sustaining, but thats just me [​IMG]
     

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