Jersey Giants: "slow growers" - what does that mean?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by BeaverQB, Jan 27, 2016.

  1. BeaverQB

    BeaverQB Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm considering getting some White Giants to try out as heritage meat birds this year. I've seen a ton of posts/reviews about how they're "slow growers". How slow? What does that mean? By 20 weeks will they be fully grown?
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    IMO, Jersey Giants are considered medium in growth rate (16-20 weeks). The will continue to grow over time but much slower.
    That's similar to breeds like buckeyes, chanteclers, australorps, Sussex, wyandottes, RIR, RIW and Faverolles.
    Fast growing (12-16 weeks) are breeds like Delawares, Plymouth rocks, New Hampshire.
    Slow growing are Welsummer, Cochin, Java, Dorking, Penedesena, Orpington.
    Extra slow (24+) Langshan, LaFleche and Cornish.
     
  3. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    While Jersey Giant pullets will reach their adult size by about 6 months old, cockerels won't be completely done growing and filling out until they are about 9 to 12 months old.
    When you are comparing dual-purpose breeds to Cornish Cross meat birds, just about everything is slow growing in comparison. Most dual-purpose birds reach a decent table size by 14 to 16 weeks. Cornish Cross are ready for the table by 8 weeks.
     
  4. BeaverQB

    BeaverQB Out Of The Brooder

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    Where would you put Brahams in on that scale?

    We're going to try getting roosters from Giants, Orpingtons, and Brahamas this year and see if we can't get to 4+ pounds dressed weight by 20 weeks.
     
  5. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    I'd say about like Cochins.
     
  6. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

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    X2 on junebuggena's post. Jersey Giants, Brahmas, and Cochins all generally take close to a year to finish growing and fill out completely.
     
  7. BeaverQB

    BeaverQB Out Of The Brooder

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    McMurray Hatchery's website says that Jersey Giants "weeks to maturity" is 20. So is that incorrect?

    If I'm being persuaded by you folks (not sayin' that I am [​IMG]), should I swap out my White Giants for, say, Delawares? I've heard people say good things about the meat yield on Delawares, but McMurray's website says that the top weight for a Delaware rooster is 8.5 pounds.

    I'm only nervous because we just did White Rocks last year and didn't get the weight we wanted (though McMurray says that adult roosters should get to 9.5 pounds!). So we're interested in experimenting with different breeds, just to see if we get better weight. We had planned to do White Orpingtons, Light Brahmas, and White Giants.
     
  8. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Top weight is not the same as processed and dressed weight. What they are referring to is the adult weight of a live bird and it's based on birds that meet the breed standard. While pullets reach reproductive maturity by 20 to 25 weeks, they keep growing until about 9 months old and cockerels can take even longer to finish growing completely. "Weeks to maturity" really means 'weeks until pullets can be expected to start laying.' Hatchery sourced birds are bred for egg production, so they don't get as big birds that have been bred to meet standard. You aren't going to get really true dual-purpose birds from hatcheries. Hatcheries put egg production above everything else.

    If you aren't opposed to breeding your own, you might want to get a Buff Rock or Buff Orpington rooster and a few Light Brahma hens. Then you can breed your own red sexlinks. The cross breeding results in birds that mature and grow faster than the parent breed and the pullets will lay a bit better. You will also be able to sex the chicks fairly easily by coloring.
     
  9. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

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    X2 on junebuggena's post.
     
  10. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Excellent explanation.

    They're right. It depends on what you mean by maturity. They're mature at 20 weeks but they aren't full size yet.

    I'm just wondering something though. You're getting into a huge monetary tradeoff trying to get a larger bird as opposed to butchering at a younger age. You'll get more weight if you wait longer but the tradeoff will be a LOT more feed to get an extra couple pounds and tougher meat at the same time.
     

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