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Heritage whites from S&G experience

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by DStewart PDX, May 25, 2013.

  1. DStewart PDX

    DStewart PDX Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 25, 2013
    Portland, Oregon
    Greetings, all. I wanted to try my first batch of meat birds, and considered both red rangers and heritage whites. The whites were easier for me to get. I got only six. One did not develop properly and died at about 4 1/2 weeks. The remaining five are now just over five weeks old. These chicks have been a steep learning curve. I wanted to share my experience.

    The chicks start out as classic yellow fuzzballs. They soon distinguish themselves by their insatiable appetites. They eat constantly. They eat more. They eat still more. Basically, if they are awake, they are beak down in the food bowl. These chicks were also quite rambunctious. They overturned every water container I put in with them. They required a full size water container at three weeks just to stop them tipping it over. They routinely flip over their food bowls, too, including the long metal type. They seem to be full-tilt chickens, eating and growing and partying as fast as they can!

    The one thing they are slow at is putting on feathers. Now at five weeks they are huge, stinky, and not fully feathered. I had a real housing crisis on my hands when they quickly outgrew the brooder before they were ready to be outside. The weather turned unseasonably cold at an inconvenient time. An emergency cardboard box was secured, onto which they promptly dumped their water. Sigh!

    They have just now been outside for a couple of days, and the layer hens are hazing them, of course. They are also starting to show some signs of growing faster than their legs can handle. They are not lame, but they sit down a lot more than any of the layers ever did. Their legs are wide apart, and they have an awkward gait. Still, they enjoy scratching and pecking, and will occasionally flap their wings to take off running across the yard. They are also the most poop-covered birds I have ever had, routinely having poop on their feet and wings.

    I wanted to post for anyone who is planning to get heritage whites and has no prior experience with meat chickens. If you are set up for small batches of layers, that is likely to be inadequate for these guys. If possible, you may want to get them during much warmer weather to be able to move them out sooner. And plan to buy a lot of feed. Mine needed to have their feeders filled twice daily. I will let y'all know how they taste in another few weeks.
     
  2. MrRushed

    MrRushed Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 6, 2010
    Dudley
    I wonder why the call them Heritage?
    There is nothing heritage about them.
    They look like X Rocks in the picture too me.
    Thanks for sharing your experiences with us.
     
  3. fisherlady

    fisherlady Overrun With Chickens

    Thank you for sharing your experience... I think you have encountered what many have when they first get a small flock of 'meaties'. They are certainly not like other chicks that people are used to brooding and raising.

    Meaties should come with an instruction booklet! LOL

    Having extra space and time are just a couple of things they need differently than most other breeds of chickens!

    Good luck with the rest of your time with them, hope the processing goes well!
     
  4. DStewart PDX

    DStewart PDX Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 25, 2013
    Portland, Oregon
    I guess they call them "Heritage" to distinguish them from the Cornish X, which doesn't do the chicken work. And it is true that these guys will range and forage, and still be ready in eight or nine weeks. So I guess I can't begrudge them that. Marketing! I'm sure they are capitalizing on all the fervor over heritage breeds.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2013
  5. DStewart PDX

    DStewart PDX Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 25, 2013
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    Update: The chickens are now 7 weeks old. They are getting plump, but they are still not feathered under their wings. They are also starting to show more and more the strain of their size. They do move from their lounging place to the food and water, but have shown little ability to forage in the yard. Two are pretty good, getting themselves out of the coop and walking toward the coop at sunset. Two are really lacking, not getting themselves out of the coop and staying put at sunset. All in all, I cannot recommend this breed for raising side by side with layers. Though billed as "truly free-range foragers", and "superior to Cornish X", they don't even come close to being as active and independent as a heritage. If I do meat birds again, I will choose one of the true heritage breeds recommended on the forums.
    [​IMG]
     
  6. mstricer

    mstricer Overrun With Chickens

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    Next batch you do try feeding them only in the morning and making them freerange for the rest. My did fine on this diet and topped of at 8 lbs withe smaller girl at 7
     
  7. DStewart PDX

    DStewart PDX Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 25, 2013
    Portland, Oregon
    Good idea. They run out of food plenty of times during the day, and just sit there. This is a very small sample size, only six birds to start and now four, so maybe my experience is not representative. They also do things like get themselves stuck in a corner and need help getting out. And maybe this batch is just not a good quality batch, and not representative of the breed. Thanks for the suggestion.
     
  8. ChickenJerk

    ChickenJerk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    "Heritage Breeders LLC, a subsidiary of Perdue Farms Inc., offers birds that deliver the highest white meat yields available. The company offers the Heritage 32 broiler breeder female and the Heritage 78 broiler breeder male to the U.S. broiler industry."

    The Perdue Heritage bird is known for producing a very efficient smaller dressed product. In the industry it is known as a good choice when supplying the "tray pak" market for smaller cut ups in grocery stores or for concise portion control in retail chicken parts sales such as KFC and the like.

    Perdue was calling their line "heritage" before the anti industrial food movement adopted the name and made it a fad.

    This might be what S & G is selling?
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2013
  9. mstricer

    mstricer Overrun With Chickens

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    I do 11 at a time, and make them free range. They have been known to go from coop to coop trying to find food
     
  10. DStewart PDX

    DStewart PDX Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 25, 2013
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    Well, at the ripe old age of seven and a half weeks, these chickens are getting some skills. They can now get themselves in and (mostly) out of the coop every day. They have also started venturing a bit further in the yard, and are doing more preening. Yes, the description of the Purdue heritage breed sounds about right for these guys. I'll let y'all know how they taste.
     

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