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Heritage meat birds----Your favorites and why

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by flowerchild59, Jun 9, 2011.

  1. flowerchild59

    flowerchild59 Songster

    Apr 25, 2010
    Southern IL
    I am wanting to get a sustainable flock of birds and avoid the franken-type of cornish crosses in the future. I did that once and will never do it again.
    The more I read, the more I can't make a decision. I like the attributes of delawares, favorelles, buckeyes, houdans, etc. What are your favorite birds to raise and eat and why????
    I am thinning out my current flock of mixed brown egg layers now and have plenty of room.
    On the one side I need to stress we have pretty mild stretches in winter with weeks of single digits or worse around here and searing heat and humidity during the summer. I do plan to do some free ranging but mainly will be housed in a gigantic house and run. I have extensive gardens to protect and can't just let them run willy nilly.

  2. KatyTheChickenLady

    KatyTheChickenLady Bird of A Different Feather

    Dec 20, 2008
    Boise, Idaho
    you might try a search on here for the 100+ threads that ask the same question [​IMG]

    otherwise I vote for Idaho Red Rangers
  3. bkolodge

    bkolodge Hatching

    Jun 9, 2011
    I totally agree with you regarding the cornish crosses. After my first year with them I was disgusted and bought barred rock roos the next year. My hubby wined about the "scrawny chickens" cuz they weren't as big as the cornish and I went back to the cornish the next year. Now, I finally have him on my side and I decided on a utility breed that we can get eggs from and raise for meat also. They are great layers of large brown eggs, are cold hardy with a small comb (Minnesota) and dress out just a bit smaller than the cornish. They forage well, but also do well in confinement. They are very calm, mild mannered birds. No matter which breed you choose, you have to accept that the breast just will not be as big as the cornish, but I'm ok with that. Oh--the breed? Wyandottes.
  4. beanmcnulty

    beanmcnulty Songster

    Feb 10, 2011
    Baltimore, OH
    I am a beginner trying to do the same sustainable thing, but so far, I have a hatchery BO cockerel that is 4.5# at 12 weeks that I am eyeing for breeding experiments:) Also I ordered some Del chicks from Whitmore farms and they are pretty huge at almost 3 weeks (vs my hatchery chicks at same age). Also hatched some chicks (Del)from a different farm/breeder so we will see how they all do, I plan on continuing selecting on the meat side of things. I will know more in 12 weeks;) I would hate to eat any of the Whitmore cockerels, they are fairly expensive- I might just sell them so others can get their good genes!
  5. gjensen

    gjensen Crowing

    Feb 22, 2011
    Midlands, South Carolina
    New Hampshires, Delewares, Barred and White Rocks dominated the market before the shift to where we are now. That was the case for a reason. One was we prefer yellow skin though. The strain is important. They are not all equal. For example in the 1940's there was a prominent meat strain and laying strain of New Hampshires. The Whitmore Delewares mentioned in the past post is a good choice. None are as efficient as the modern crosses, or have an equal carcass. I have always been interested in White Wyandottes, but have no experience with them. The right strain of Buff Orpington could work, but avoid the excessively feathered exhibition strains. Alot of protein goes into the feathers.
    Some older breeds have a reputation for flavor, like the Dorkings. Breeds that have them in their development like the Sussex etc. have a similar reputation. Personally I suggest the right strain of New Hampshires, Delewares, Plymouth Rocks, Wyandottes, or Orpingtons.
  6. MyFirstFarm

    MyFirstFarm In the Brooder

    Jan 31, 2010
    The meaties I got from the Hatchery are called Cornish Rock Giants. I doubt very much they are heritage types, but they aren't Cornish Crosses (according to the catalogue). Can anybody comment on this type?
  7. ChickieBooBoo

    ChickieBooBoo Cold Canadian Chick

    Dec 2, 2009
    I use the commercial meat birds, they free range and run around as much as any of my chickens.

  8. gogoalie

    gogoalie Songster

    May 15, 2010
    Are yer birds from a hatchery, or did you create them yerself from a startin' hen & roo? If you start yer own, you won't see the same undesireable traits as you do with hatchery raised Cornish X's as they come from breeders that have been doin' this for 50 years, & selecting for the heavy meat traits you see...

    Your own crosses, though, won't be "franken-type", as you've just started a breeding cross.
  9. triplepurpose

    triplepurpose Songster

    Oct 13, 2008
    Flowerchild, all of the breeds others mentioned could work great for you. It does depend on the strains that you can get too, so ask around. I don't have any experience with cold-hardiness--but it sounds like that is something worth considering too. I have some experience raising Dark Cornish. The ones I got from McMurray are fabulous meat birds with dark meat--big and muscular, like little dinosaurs--and they also lay pretty well and make good broodies. They are also quite hardy and vigorous, good foragers, a little bit wild sometimes--they almost have a bit of a game bird streak to them. But now my flock is mixed--dark cornish, brahma, sussex, rocks, RIR, and various mixes thereof, and while the sizes and shapes vary ever so slightly, quite frankly, I think they are all delicious. Do some research, see what's available, and pick one you like. There are so many great choices, you almost can't go wrong...

    Good luck! [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2011

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