The old "standard" table bird was the Sussex in Britain. I have several of these girls for laying, and three roosters. Before the advent of the hybrid meat birds, this was THE choice meat bird (along with the Dorking, although less so with Dorkings after the 1850s when they started being selected for show rather than utility qualities). Sussex would be ranged until 13 weeks or so, then fattened by "cramming"--ugh!--force feeding for two or three weeks to add an extra pound before slaughter at around 16 weeks. (I have a book on the history of the Sussex and Dorking by J Batty.) Mine are just over 16 weeks old at this point, and I have to say I'm amazed at the size of their fat little bodies. I don't "cram," of course. Mine free range, true free range, and they're very active foragers, VERY friendly, and surprisingly quiet for such energetic birds. I have too many roosters, technically, but haven't had to thin anymore out because these guys are non-aggressive, even less so than my genteel Faverolles. Occasionally, they'll face off with one another for 10 seconds of so with their hackles up like a fancy ruff, then they'll both simultaneously (seemingly to me) back down and go back to preening or foraging or whatever else they were doing. I'm really surprised by how nice they are. These I didn't even order from a breeder... they're just hatchery birds. I had intended at one point to butcher all the Sussex roosters, but the birds have impressed me so favorably, I finally named my favorite Sussex rooster "Lazarus," and decided to keep him to breed. I've been considering ordering Sussex males for meat birds in the spring... either that or some variety of the Freedom Rangers. To me, the Sussex have the advantage of my being able to reproduce them on my own (by incubation or by letting a broody hen hatch out her clutches), as opposed to hybrids that I'd have to order every time. On the other hand, they're so darn friendly, it will be hard for me to butcher. I also don't know if they're broad-breasted enough to have a lot of commercial appeal anymore, but I'm not intending to sell them commercially. Still, I put it out there for those of you that are in a similar situation: Speckled Sussex are very nice, plump birds that really do make a good dual purpose selection.