Heritage Large Fowl - Phase II

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by juststruttin, Oct 20, 2013.

  1. catdaddyfro

    catdaddyfro Overrun With Chickens

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    good post and info here (i'm out of ovations once again) haven't figured out the alottment system for those yet? BYC?[​IMG] OK I'll be good now don't want to start the New Year off with a spanking or a tongue lashing [​IMG]

    Jeff
     
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  2. catdaddyfro

    catdaddyfro Overrun With Chickens

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    Thumbs up! [​IMG] oh yeah here LOL[​IMG]

    Jeff
     
  3. Yellow House Farm

    Yellow House Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    Well, here are some of our birds at 6 months:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Here's are a couple of comparison photos between our Dorking and our Ancona:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    The idea of keeping two breeds, hatching out your quota for each breed and then hatching out some crosses for larger meat production, is a good one. I bet putting one of your Light Brahma cocks over our Dorking hens would be an interesting project. It would be a terminal cross but an interesting one to watch develop.


    I'd say with meat, though, it is important to some keep in mind certain reality checks:

    1. Old-fashioned meat expectations were different from today's ideas. It is imperative to remember that these birds were to food source of a time period. To understand them, go to that time period. Read cookbooks that were written with heritage chicks in mind, and you'll discover facts. First of all, the designations: broiler, fryer, roaster, and fowl, actually meant something. Many chicken recipes where written for 2.5/lb. birds, i.e. fryers. Most roasting recipes aim at 3.5/lb roasters, what I would estimate to be males killed under 22-weeks old. A heritage chicken cookery has nothing to do with a broiler industry cookery, if you cannot separate the two in your mind, you will not be satisfied with heritage birds. May they never look like modern broilers!

    2. We slaughter at 24-26 weeks old. We do an old-fashioned slow roast in a Dutch-oven, and it's delicious--absolutely elegant. We served them for two Christmas parties this year, and they're exquisite fare. Our birds probably average 4-ish/lbs. dressed, maybe a little more. I imagine over time they'll get a bit larger, but larger meat isn't necessarily better meat. There is the threat with larger that it will become too stringing. Our birds right now are right on the mark. My experience is that most people establish some sort of weight demand before they are proficient in cooking heritage meat, before they understand the various traditional preparations and how the meat is allotted out in appropriate portions. Whatever their criteria are, they are not the demands of the kitchen. If one considers my #1, one can imagine why "egg-breeds" actually can offer quite a bit to the table. We eat Anconas all the time. They make great little spatchcocks for the summer grill.

    3. If one wants ready made meat, go commercial stock. Your stock will only be as good as you're ready or willing to make it. It's all about individual breeder responsibility. If you want good birds, breed good birds. However, to do this you must submit to the strictures that lead to good birds. One idea in your particular case might be to stick with what you have. Ditch the Buffs, and stick with the Lights. Use all of the floor space you would have dedicated to a second breed to your Light Brahmas, and then raise out a doubly strong number. Weigh them out at 24 weeks keep the best weight and type, and with you're increased numbers you should also be able to consider color; then put all of the rest on fat-n-finish and slaughter at 26 weeks. If you do this for four or five years, you ill have outstandingly different birds at that point than you do now.

    4. "Feed conversion" simply isn't a breeding concern that can be effectively addressed by the vast majority of small-scale breeders. Given, your breed of choice is an eater, but actual selection for feed conversion is a whole system. If feed conversion is a true concern, then use corporate chicken stock.
     
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  4. Piet

    Piet Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have my showbirds for layers, because they lay real well and for meat we run 100 broilers. 8 weeks to butcher a great carcass there is nothing that compares to it. The farmers run only 38 days on them now, but we take a bit more time and try to get them to graze a bit more also. Those We take to the hutterites and they butcher for 4 bucks a bird and have a gov. Inspection tag. That we we can sell some also. Pure breed culls I do myself and mostly boil for soup. Piet
     
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  5. gjensen

    gjensen Overrun With Chickens

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    Anyone interested in raising their own poultry meat should listen carefully to what this guy says. He practices what he preaches. That is more than most.

    YH, I prefer them younger if possible. That is probably as much to do with my ability as practical economics. Then again, I am raising different birds.

    I admire they way you do it.
     
  6. ocap

    ocap Overrun With Chickens

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    I found a processor in eastern Kansas, USA that stamps the packaged bird USDA. Worth a drive if you want to sell your produce.

    Always fun to read the posts by "Yellow House Farm", I keep coming back to BYC because of posts that I can apply to my flock.

    reducing my flock to two breeds this spring and if my numbers are satisfactory in Buff Brahma with only one pullet then 2015 will have only one breed. Incubator gets powered up in six weeks. Hoping my (June) pullet is laying by mid February. 5 Silkie pullets are wanting some fertile eggs!
     
  7. ronott1

    ronott1 Daily Digest Guru Premium Member Project Manager

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    My Coop
    Wait, you can run out of Ovations?
     
  8. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    Yep. I try to use mine up each day on good posts but sometimes I run dreadfully short and can't give the proper ovations. [​IMG]
     
  9. Yellow House Farm

    Yellow House Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    I would imagine that your Catalana program runs a lot like our Ancona program [​IMG]; what I was addressing above favored more a Dorking approach to things.

    The reality is that, once one becomes intimately acquainted with one's stock, one can cull all along the way, thus obtaining, broilers, then fryers, then roasters, and finally fowl. We cull out Anconas more heavily up front, but I retain Dorkings longer that, were they Anconas, wouldn't make the cut, but that's just to put size on them.

    Piet's point, is exactly what I was getting at. If the modern broiler is what you actually want, then raise modern broilers and be done with it. We raise and consume Dorkings because it is actually what we want to eat. I prefer the richer flavors and more toothsome meat, which are the result of a longer growing time and stronger muscles. You will establish your actual, real-time, personal cookery around the meat that is in your freezer. Raise meat that corresponds to your culinary goals and expectations, and/or have culinary goals and expectations that match the meat you want to raise. Then, once you have that meat, cook that meat in an appropriate fashion. The results will be delicious. Difficulties disappointment arise when we place the expectations of oranges on the flesh of an apple.
     
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  10. bnjrob

    bnjrob Overrun With Chickens

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    EXACTLY! I read a lot of antique cookbooks and am even cooking from them - particularly the cookbooks from the mid 1700s through the 1800s. Their idea of meat is definitely different from ours. Many of the cookbooks from this time period include things like the weight of a bird to be used in the recipe, how to raise the meat, how to slaughter the meat and how to cut it up and use it. And they used everything, not just a small portion of the animal that they butchered.

    They didn't go through the drive thru and ask them to Super Size their chickens.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2014
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