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Heritage Hens as Meat Birds?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by mhschafer, Mar 23, 2013.

  1. mhschafer

    mhschafer Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 1, 2012
    Hi--We've been raising laying hens for two years now. We have hens only (order day old chicks) because my husband doesn't want to deal with a rooster. We have Barred Rocks, RI Reds, Black Australorps, and Speckled Sussex. We are ordering chicks now and want to order some specifically for meat. But we don't want Cornish X--want to be able to raise them all together.

    Two questions:
    1. Is is OK to raise just hens for meat? (no roosters)
    2. I was thinking of using a different breed than our four to keep them distinct and psychologically to know which ones are destined for the freezer, if that makes sense. We are thinking of Orpingtons or Delawares or Dorkings. But are open to suggestions. But we want a breed that won't go broody.

    Any thoughts/suggestions?
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    1. Is is OK to raise just hens for meat? (no roosters)

    I hatch my own and eat the roosters and pullets. The pullets don’t have nearly as much meat as the roosters. If you buy most of what they eat, you cannot raise them nearly as cheaply as you can just buy the chicken at the grocery. It’s only my wife and me, but we easily get two meals out of a pullet.

    2. I was thinking of using a different breed than our four to keep them distinct and psychologically to know which ones are destined for the freezer, if that makes sense. We are thinking of Orpingtons or Delawares or Dorkings. But are open to suggestions. But we want a breed that won't go broody.

    What difference does them going broody make? Eat them before that is an issue.
     
  3. Chucknbob

    Chucknbob Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 20, 2012
    Yes you can eat pullets, but roosters are cheaper, grow bigger faster, and you'll be eating them long before they're old enough to do "roostery" things.

    If you are buying a heritage breed only for meat, my vote is for Delaware, but there are many good options.
     
  4. mhschafer

    mhschafer Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 1, 2012
    Thanks for your thoughts, Chucknbob. Delaware cockerels it is!!!

    We had already decided to buy some Delaware pullets, and we added some cockerels to our order! From your comment and my reading, it seems they are earlier maturing than some dual purpose breeds. I appreciate your taking time to offer your thoughts.

    Thank you also, Ridgerunner. You are of course correct re. the pullets--broodiness wouldn't matter if they went for meat before laying age.

    What age would you suggest to slaughter the Delwares? 16 weeks? 20? Other options?
     
  5. Life is Good!

    Life is Good! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you're keeping cockerals for meat - you'll want to process them before any 'roostery' behavior sets in...in our Black Javas, the FR's and the CX we've raised before, that was somewhere between 13-18wks, depending on bird and breed. Not all boys mature the same - so pick the one(s) that are giving you trouble and process those first! The choices become fairly obvious once you get into it.
     

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