Light Brahma's and RIR's for Meat?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by IndianaHomestea, Oct 23, 2012.

  1. IndianaHomestea

    IndianaHomestea Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 20, 2012
    New Palestine, Indiana
    I'm raising 12 RIR's and 13 Light Brahma's for meat. I know similar questions are asked here all the time, but there are many different opinions. I just wanted to know what your thoughts are on these two breeds as meat birds? Particularly the pros and cons.

    I wanted to go with Delewares, but I'm not patient enough, as they are out of stock everywhere this time of year.

    I want heritage so I can constantly breed them without having to buy more chicks all the time.

    I've heard that RIR's don't like to sit on their eggs, while Brahma's do like to. Brahma's are also big, so it seems like the brahma's may be the best choice.

    This is why I'm thinking I may just keep these RIR's as egg layers, keep maybe 6 or so of the Brahma's for breeding and eat the remaining Brahma's.

    What do you think? Is this a good path? Think I should go with another breed?
     
  2. Y N dottes

    Y N dottes Chillin' With My Peeps

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    i dont know much about meat birds etc,. but what u said sounds reasonable.....i have some RIRs and they are a great laying bird, so if u want eggs, they are a good choice. Do u know if the RIRs are all hens or might there be roosters...u can eat the roos if u dont want them for breeding...
     
  3. IndianaHomestea

    IndianaHomestea Out Of The Brooder

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    Both were straight runs, so I'm sure there will be roosters in with them. Yep, that's the plan. :) Any extra roosters that I don't use for breeding will go into our bellies.
     
  4. triplepurpose

    triplepurpose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It kind of depends where you got your stock from too. I've had RIRs from mcmurray that were quite fleshy, and much heavier than my light brahmas, which are SUPPOSED to be a larger bird (bred for meat because of their huge size). Not all strains sold as such live up to their "historical potential." But they will taste good regardless of size.
     
  5. IndianaHomestea

    IndianaHomestea Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the info. I got mine from Strombergs. Have you ever bought any from them?
     
  6. LilyD

    LilyD Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree with what has been said by others. Breeder birds will be larger and better quality but you can start out with hatchery birds it will just mean that they will start out smaller to begin with.

    I raise Light Brahmas and so I can give you the pros and cons on that breed. Others will have to help you with the RIR as I don't have those.

    Pros on raising Light Brahmas for meat birds:

    Roosters are 10-13 pounds
    Hens go broody and tend to like to hatch their own eggs. I have gotten 100% hatches from my hens.
    Great foragers (at least mine are amazing at it.) They eat very little during the spring summer and fall and only have to be supplemented in the winter.
    They are not birds that tend to hang around at the feeder, mine have 2 acres and they are all over the property each and every day and don't go in until dark.
    They are very mellow and non aggressive so are a great rooster to raise without worrying about the family potentially getting attacked by a mean rooster.
    Meat taste and quality is awesome it will be slightly firmer than store bought but the taste is absolutely amazing. There will be lots of dark meat. Their legs and thighs get big and so if you are a dark meat person they are great.
    Being a white skinned bird they look attractive after plucking so it is a bird you can keep the skin on for a roaster.

    Cons of raising Light Brahmas for meat birds:

    Longer growing time. I let mine grow out to about 6 months (24 weeks) and they are good size by then.
    If you feed only pelleted feed and there isn't enough forage than the feed to weight conversion will be much higher than birds like the Cornish X and freedom ranger
    There is less breast meat than CRX birds since standard DP birds do not have a double breast like the CRX and that bothers a lot of people. I personally feel that by 24 weeks there is plenty enough breast meat for what I need for a family of 3 to eat and have leftovers the next day. The look of the birds once plucked though is going to be skinnier than a CRX when plucked but the taste will be amazing.
    Crowing.... need I say more

    I can't think of anything else. I just filled my freezer with the roosters that I had left from hatching this year and I am more than happy with what I have for meat from those I did.

    Hopefully this is helpful.
     
  7. IndianaHomestea

    IndianaHomestea Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 20, 2012
    New Palestine, Indiana
    Thanks for all of that excellent info! The only thing that shocked me was how long they take to mature!! I knew they took longer than CRX's but I had no idea they took THAT long. I'm working toward self sufficiency, so that fact alone makes me think light brahma's may not be the best choice.

    Everything else about them is great though... dang!

    Do you raise any other breeds for meat? Could you recommend another heritage breed that would be good for meat? My main thing is that I can get them in the freezer ASAP, BUT it's also important that they hatch and raise on their own because I don't want to have to buy baby chicks every few months.

    Thanks again!
     
  8. Wax Myrtle

    Wax Myrtle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Six months really isn't that long. ;) Many garden vegetables take about six months from seed to table. Tomatoes, for example. Chickens take about as much time to care for daily, or even less, as a vegetable garden. Harvest is more complicated, obviously, but it's that way whether they grow in six weeks or six months.

    It took me a little bit to see it this way, btw. ;)
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. IndianaHomestea

    IndianaHomestea Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 20, 2012
    New Palestine, Indiana
  10. triplepurpose

    triplepurpose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't know how much of a "choice" it really is with chickens... Six months is the same time it takes any normal chicken to grow to maturity, including cornish x rocks. Except that those are so overbred they cannot really survive that long (they develop enough healthy issues in just the first few weeks). The only difference is that they get bigger faster, but they don't mature faster, and they don't develop flavor in that short window either. Excuse me for splitting hairs, but I think it's an important concept to distinguish: six months (or so) is the NORMAL timeframe for chicken growth to adult size (and for development of some nice flavor). Although you can eat them at any age from 3 months or younger to many years old.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2012

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