Just starting up! Any info is appreciated!

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Tguilbeau, Oct 31, 2016.

  1. Tguilbeau

    Tguilbeau Just Hatched

    Oct 31, 2016
    Arnaudville, Louisiana
    Coop is currently under construction. It'll be 4'x8' wide and 4' in height. The run is a 12'x12' area the cooonwill sit outside the run to give them more space inside. But the fence will butt up to the coop so nothing can get in.

    My question is I want dual purpose birds. I was looking at opringtons "excuse me if I misspell it". Any opinions? I also thought about maybe mixing in some broilers to get meat quicker but I don't know how these two will react with each other. This is my first run with chickens so any info before I start getting birds is greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance!
  2. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

    Jul 17, 2011
    North Central Kansas
    Hey again, Travis....not stalking you but I saw you posted here and thought I'd chime in. Heritage dual purpose breeds such as Buff Orps, Dominickers, Delawares, etc. are indeed suitable for meat and eggs if are willing to wait, and if you are okay with the fact they will never grow up to be like the chicken you see in the grocery store or at KFC. The taste is different as well. Still tasty....just different. The broilers you mentioned, likely Cornish Cross, are what most people think when they think eating chicken. These are genetically engineered to grow very quickly...often ready to butcher in just 6-7 weeks. There are, however, middle of the road alternatives...birds that get a respectable (though not Cornish Cross) size in a reasonable amount of time...Like 12 weeks as opposed to 16+ as with heritage breeds. Some of these go by names like Red Ranger or Freedom Ranger. I have found with my Cornish Cross meat birds flocked together with my laying birds, the rapidly growing Cornish sometimes bully the smaller pullets. But soon the tables are turned as the more nimble girls will sneak a peck in on the slow Cornish.
  3. Tguilbeau

    Tguilbeau Just Hatched

    Oct 31, 2016
    Arnaudville, Louisiana
    So your Cornish crosses will taste more like chicken that's store bought and be around the same size? When you say Orps taste different, is that a good or bad different? Also won't the Orps be bigger once they are at butchering age?

    I'm kinda trying to figure out which one will give me a good ratio to the amount of food they will consume.
  4. Tguilbeau

    Tguilbeau Just Hatched

    Oct 31, 2016
    Arnaudville, Louisiana
    My theory was raise just Orps and let them hatch their chickens then once they're of age butcher them. Idk if that's really practical though or cost worthy.
  5. bullrunslabs

    bullrunslabs Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 3, 2016
    A lot of people find the slower growing birds to be more "stringy" or "tough". The breasts and thighs are often longer and thinner in my experience also. It does take a lot longer to grow an orpington or similar heritage bird to butcher weight, but I am also curious of the cost difference than with the Cornish crosses. I have not raised meat birds, but most of my birds that I have now are the duel purpose birds for laying and meat. I figure I will have them lay until 18 months or 2 years old, then butcher them. I will use most of their meat for soups and such that will be canned, as opposed to a roaster, which I intend to get the cornish for this winter or spring. If anyone has any information on what I should expect to feed a cornish vs a duel, I am very curious as well!
  6. itsasmallfarm

    itsasmallfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 27, 2016
    i just started out raising chickens this year as well, and from the info i have found online and books.

    Cornish cross chickens offer the best feed to meat ration out of all chickens its like 1 pound of meat per 2-3 pounds of feed something like that don't quote me on that. where other can be upwards of 4-5 pounds of feed per pound of meat again not 100% sure this is what it says in my chicken books i have read. so it is much cheaper to raise a Cornish cross then a dual purpose. again there are many factors involved if you let them out to forge for there own food they again grow slower then just given feed in confinement.

    but if your planning on breeding your birds for future generations of meat and eggs then go with a dual purpose bird, also if you plan on eggs as well a dual purpose is not bad (where they say a Cornish cross barely makes it to 18 weeks of age or first egg laying) but there not as great as an egg breed.

    hope this helps a bit
    2 people like this.
  7. FoodFreedomNow

    FoodFreedomNow Chillin' With My Peeps

    I raise dual purpose chickens, and started with readily available breeds like Rhode Island Red, New Hampshire Red, Wyandottes, Australorps, Leghorns, Orpingtons...since I hatch their eggs, I've eaten a number of roosters. Most of these roosters were RIR or NHR mixes. They reached butcher weight at about 5 months. These birds also tended to have less meaty breasts and very meaty thighs; I prefer dark to light meat, so I consider that a plus. In addition, the cockerels were pastured, so the "terroir" undoubtedly contributed to some of the most flavorful, delicious chicken I have eaten. Not as fast-growing as CornishX, but so worth the wait...and sustainable. I can hatch more of the same when I want to.

    I've recently added American Bresse to the line-up. The chicks are about 9 weeks old now and significantly meatier than the Black Copper Marans and NHRX chicks that were hatched at the same time. AB are also supposed to be good layers, so I plan to only eat "extra" cockerels and hatch their eggs to grow out some meat birds. I'd also like to breed them into my mixed flock to add some size. Ultimately, though, I'm aiming for true dual purpose birds: good layers and good meat birds.
    1 person likes this.
  8. tmarsh83

    tmarsh83 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 16, 2015
    If you want a dual purpose flock you might look at some of the dual purpose breeds that "split the baby" a little more than the orps do. Orps do get big, but most take longer to get there.

    Decent Delaware or New Hampshire stock is generally going to get a little bigger a little quicker.

    If you want to get really adventurous, you could that same pairing to raise your own sex-link birds. It would require at least three pens however. As you would need a breeding pen for your silver hens (white rock, Delaware, white Cornish) and your red rooster (new Hampshire, RIR, buckeye, wellsummer).

    The resulting chicks will hatch red pullets and white cockerels. At which point you can move the pullets to a grow-out/laying pen, and the cockerels to a grow-out/butcher pen.

    You don't want to breed back the sex-linked chicks to the rooster, as you won't get a sex-linked result, so you'll want to keep them separate, but if you want a sustainable, dual-purpose flock, that is one way to go about it.
  9. peterlund

    peterlund Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 29, 2010
    MA Cranberry Country
    Take your coop.... divide it 50/50 put your layers on one side, and your meaties on the other. This is not for "getting along" issues, but for how prolific the cornish cross birds are in making a mess...
    the feed to meat ratio is excellent, and to correct above postings, they are NOT a GMO..... just bred to the utmost side of growth. Do pay attention to how many days from hatch for the meat birds... 40 to 50 days is about right..... any more and they are obviously uncomfortable and more and more unable to move.
    My nephew tried dual ppurpose for meaties. Wished he did cornish cross. When he had to cull a few roos he was certain they would be big tasty birds.... but at 80 days, twice tge time for cornish cross, they were pitiful small boys. My 2 cents.

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