Help, what is the best dual purpose chicken for me?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by ReesePAC, Feb 8, 2015.

  1. ReesePAC

    ReesePAC New Egg

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    I wanted a dual purpose chicken for both eggs and meat obviously but also that could be the best at free ranging to cut down feed costs and have broody hens to raise their own chicks so I do not have to keep buying more. This led me to dark Cornish from McMurrays but after 22 weeks (5+months) I butchered them and dressed weight is 2.5-4.3 lbs. Aren't they suppose to be 6-8 lbs at this age? I am so disappointed in because from what I hear most DP breeds dress out to 6 lbs around 12-16 weeks? Only other breeds I'm looking at now are freedom rangers have all characteristic but don't hatch their own eggs.
     
  2. familyfarm1

    familyfarm1 Overrun With Chickens

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    Here are a couple of breeds you may like.
    Australorp
    Egg Productivity: High

    Broodiness: Average
    Dual purpose: GREAT!

    Buff Orpington
    Egg productivity: Medium
    Broodiness: In between average and high
    Dual Purpose: Great!

    Wyandotte
    Egg Productivity: Medium
    Broodiness: Average
    Dual Purpose: Average
     
  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Reese: What part of the country are you in? Will you free range or keep your flock in a coop/run set up? Is it important for you to have large eggs, or would you be happy with medium eggs? There's a huge difference between the Cornish birds you got, and the Cornish x Rocks (which do dress out at around 8 weeks at around 6#). FYI The average dress out wt is about 75% of live weight. Is it necessary for you to have only one breed so you can maintain a pure strain from one generation to the next? Will you only have one rooster? Or would you find it worth your while to raise some birds for meat, and others for eggs?? What about getting a breed that is well known for egg laying, and keeping a silkie, or bantam for brooding? Or an incubator, so you can hatch eggs when it's convenient for you, instead of depending on a broody who may or may not be a dependable setter, or may be a poor Mom??? Sorry for all the questions! But, a lot to think about when setting up your homestead. I'd suggest that you look at Henderson't chicken breeds chart.

    I love my Dominiques: ++ personality, they lay a medium egg. EE: large green or blue egg. Both are excellent foragers, not so big for meat.

    RIR may give you a bigger carcass, good layers, tend to be aggressive. PBR same, but may be a bit more pleasant in disposition.

    I love my home bred black sex links. First one is a brown egg layer, Last year's batch = pea comb, green eggs.

    Believe it or not, my most productive layer right now is a Pioneer (meat bird) hen. Don't tell her she's not supposed to be a good layer! She takes her job very seriously.

    BTW, Love the J in Joy!
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2015
  4. dfr1973

    dfr1973 Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    Add to this ... lots of flavor in the meat.
     
  5. ReesePAC

    ReesePAC New Egg

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    I live in Virginia. I am basically looking for chickens that would be good for a survivalist/ prepper. Free range to cut down feed cost, produce eggs and meat, reproduce on their own. That is what lead me to dark Cornish. I would have chosen buff orpingtons but that aren't as good for free range. I guess it would be helpful to know what the average dress out size of DP breeds is? Most sources say what until 16-20 weeks but I didn't get a size. Freedom rangers seem good but they don't reproduce on their own
     
  6. familyfarm1

    familyfarm1 Overrun With Chickens

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    I live in VA to and the breeds I said have all worked great for me! I agree with lazy gardener about EEs. And I forgot to add to the list that Barred Rocks are great DP breeds!
    All of the breeds I have mentioned I have owned and LOVED them.
     
  7. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    I don't hear of DP birds dressing out 6 lbs at 16 weeks. Between 4 and 5 lbs dressed weight is more like it. I like to cull extra cockerels at 12 weeks and get 3- 3+ lbs. Many DP birds like Orpington, Plymouth Rock have live cockerel live wieght of 8 lbs at 20+ weeks. But then if you rely on them foraging and limit feed they'll be smaller.

    On the note of good foragers, a healthy DP bird will forage well. Active birds are foraging all the time. Why I don't understand peoples desire for Polish and Silkies type birds but to each their own.

    I live in America and whenever anyone asks which breed of DP bird is best I remind them of the American classic- Plymouth Rock of course.

    When Plymouth Rock hit the world venue they turned a lot of heads and were the reason England invented Opringtons. Trying to get a DP bird that could compete with our Rocks. Orpingtons went to Austrailia to become even better utility and evolved to the Australorp. Today's Australorps are not the same as their heyday. I'd stick with the American icon. Best performing Plymouth Rock today is the White hands down.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2015
  8. dfr1973

    dfr1973 Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    Dark Cornish aren't renown for their laying. Plymouth Rocks are usually quick-growing, lay decent, and flesh out ... but I would not free range any breed of solid white bird. My suggestion on the meat side is to look into caponizing.
     
  9. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    From the pics and info posted by Aussie Pete, it seems that most of the birds from Down Under are superior in form to their American counterparts. Our Australorpes look like banties compared to the Australian ones.
     
  10. Sidhe13

    Sidhe13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 2 Australorp hens and 2 Isa Brown hens, my rooster is an unknown breed but he is a big boy from a farm than puts their excess in the freezer. So when the time comes I am expecting to do the same. I get 4 eggs a day religiously, though sometimes we have an afternoon layer, an no brooding yet. I was raising a few Silkies for brooding but a fox got them a couple weeks ago.
     

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