Help requested

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by TNHunter, Apr 9, 2012.

  1. TNHunter

    TNHunter Hatching

    Apr 9, 2012
    East TN
    Hello, I'm an east TN farmer that is looking for some insight into chicken breeds. I have done much research looking for a chicken that fits my needs and desires and have found a breed that interests me. I however, know nothing about this breed other than what I've found on the internet and am asking for some sound advise. I am also entirely open for other breeds that fit my needs that others may think would work better for myself.

    My situation.. This breed must be an active and aggressive forager in that I am going to using either an electric netting and/or a large covered portable chicken tractor to move them around my pasture field after I rotate my cattle through each small divided area. These chickens will serve to scatter the manure, eat the insects, aerate and fertilize the ground and scatter seeds in the process. In a sense I will be using them (small scale of course) instead of my tractors and equipment to do these things. In return I will be feeding my family our farm fresh chickens that we know were raised in a healthy environment, being fed a "real" diet of which only a small portion of that being commercial feed without any antibiotics and then processed by our own hands in a clean shop where we enjoy the family time spent together.

    My needs..... I desire a breed that can brood her own chicks and would prefer her to do so, so that they can be sustainable. I would like a chicken that reaches a butcher weight of (carcass) at minimum 5 lb within a reasonable amount of time and my time frame being, 10-14 weeks. I want a chicken that can be cooked in any manner and have great taste and texture and not a shoe leather breast. I would prefer the chicken to lay atleast 1 egg every 2 days as I can hold back a few from slaughter for egg production.

    My delimma..... I'm not a big fan of cornish chickens because I was given some once and they were rather lathargic, and to be frank just seemed to be waiting on their slaughter day. Maybe it was just the birds that I was given but, they just seem to be a depressed (would that be a fitting word??) bird and never really enjoyed the things that the other breeds did.
    I know nothing about the Freedom Rangers but, from what I gather from my reading they are more active foragers but, still have that "is it my day to die yet" demeanor. I don't believe either of these breeds fill my bill in the egg or sustainability catagory either.

    What I have found..... The New Hampshire breed appears to be the bird that fits my needs and requirements. However, in all my reading I've yet to read how the taste and texture of the bird is. If someone uses these birds for the purpose of meat could they please give me an idea as to where this breed would rank in this catagory. On a scale of 1 to 10 and 10 being the best chicken meat put in ones mouth where would this breed rank? Remember not only on taste but, texture as well.

    I understand that there is a few issues with this breed in that they can be "peckers", aggressive, and flighty but, I have a remedies for taking care of most of that. Scissors for the flightiness and a pot of 150 degree water for the aggression. I understand that the cocks can be down right mean so I propose a question.

    The question.... Being that the New Hampshires' were derrived from the RIR breed would it be possible to keep a RIR cock with good genetics in with the New Hampshire hens and pass over his traits to the chicks?

    The other question..... What could be some of the desired and undesired traits be within the chicks from this cross?

    To finish up this long post I will say that if someone knows of another breed that they feel would better suit me, by all means please let me know so that I can do so research on them. I am open for all suggestions. Thank you for taking the time to read my post.

  2. Chicks on DL

    Chicks on DL Chirping

    Feb 1, 2012
    West Coast, Florida.
    You may want to look at the White Plymouth Rock. They are good foragers and are a multi-purpose breed so they are meaty and good layers but they may not mature a quickly as you like. I have also heard good things about Delawares. They are excellent forages, docile and meat up quicker. They are also good layers. That's all I got. Good Luck!
  3. SowdersHomestead

    SowdersHomestead Chirping

    Oct 9, 2011
    Fostoria, Ohio
    We have a couple NHR in east Tenn. They are great egg layers and lay JUMBO eggs. Ours averaged 5 eggs a week last year. But ours were very finicky when it came to the weather. This past winter was very mild but our hens closed up egg production from Thanksgiving til almost March. Ours did not like the heavy rains we got. It was a sure bet that if it rained we got no eggs.

    We also have Black Austrolorps. As far as egg production goes these girls rock. We get 6 to 7 eggs a week from each one. They are full bodied as well but have not dressed one yet. We do plan on dressing out a rooster who doesn't seem to mate. They are very aggressive foragers though. They love grass, bugs and worms.

    Good luck
  4. BirchHatchery

    BirchHatchery Songster

    Nov 2, 2009
    from my expericen a chicken is a chicken their just diffrent colors ive had everything from game roosters to cornish rocks if i was you just order a mixed batch and let em go that what i do i got golden laced wyandottes ameircanas black austrolopes and rhode island reds and bronze turkeys you get em for cheapier if you order mixed heavys also they all lay eggs they all crow you can eat em all they all scratch and eat bugs Even my cornish rocks which i raised for 3 years laid eggs crowed and foraged well because i only fed em half cup grain a day
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2012

  5. DeerRunFarm

    DeerRunFarm In the Brooder

    Apr 10, 2012
    I hate to be a downer, but there are no broody breeds (breeds that will raise their own chicks, that is) that reach anything near 5lbs. dressed in 14 weeks. Heavy breeds aren't usually broody, and those butcher weights are extremely optimistic for any heritage breed.

    I have Standard Cornish (I believe you were talking about Cornish crosses-- the white ones that reach butcher weight in 7 weeks? Those are a totally different thing) and Buckeyes. The males of both breeds reach about 4lbs. dressed at 14 weeks. They are a bit tough at that point, as is almost any bird of that age. Neither are broody, but both are fair egg producers. Buckeyes have the better temperament, and are slightly more aggressive foragers.
  6. Life is Good!

    Life is Good! Songster 7 Years

    Apr 14, 2011
    suburbia Chicagoland
    I agree - you will have a hard time finding a decent egg layer that matures that quickly.
    You've stated some specific desired traits and gotten some good suggestions on alternate breeds. Good luck trying to figure out what works best for you! Best thing with these breeds, you can change your mind if what you've decided won't work well for you!

    We are just starting our meatie journey and decided on Freedom Rangers for 2 reasons.....1, they grow up quickly but act 'naturally' and 2, if hens are crossed with other breeds the chicks seem to retain most of the meat characteristics we desire for most of these birds we purchased. We will learn as we go!

    We keep Javas - that is my interest, to continue a threatened breed. We eat their eggs. But they take a long while to grow out to desired weight (17wks!). So that we're looking at something different (Freedom Rangers). While there are other good breeds to look at, this is what we decided at this time.

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