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Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by SweetCountryGirl, Mar 19, 2018.
What breeds of chickens work well for meat and eggs?
Both meat and eggs, or a breed for meat and a breed for eggs?
Dominiques get pretty decent sized.
Buckeyes are supposed to be decent meatbirds.
Orps are supposed to be really sweet and decently large
White Plymouth Rocks are more meat than eggs, but still good.
I really like Australorps, personally. If someone imports some of the ones from Australia, this cheapsKate might actually shell out some money.
And, of course, there's the ever-popular heritage RIR.
I'm sure other people have their own suggestions for dual-purpose breeds.
Hope you enjoy your (mini?)farm!
Sylie's suggestions are all solid choices for dual purpose breeds. I own Buff Orp x RIR and have been impressed with the growth of the cockerel but haven't seen any eggs from the pullet yet so I can't comment on her laying; however, I have a RIR hen from the same line of RIRs that contributed to that cross and she is a good layer of medium brown eggs, perhaps 3-4 per week right now during her first laying cycle. My Black Australorp is a heavy and compact bird that would look great on the table but she is a poor layer, although I know that some lines of BA's are excellent layers so its important to keep in mind that different lines of the same breed can vary widely in their abilities to gain weight and/or lay eggs.
I'd like to suggest that you look into the Coucou de Malines and Bresse breeds as well. They are all well-respected meat-type utility birds and my Malines at least are large, heavy birds and good layers of large cream-coloured speckled eggs. I've heard that the Bresse are also good layers but once again, its really important to get a look at the parent stock (or mature siblings if you can see the parents) and handle them if possible so you know what you're getting is going to be a good utility bird.
Case in point, when my excellent Malines cockerel died before he could sire any chicks I went looking for new stock and found two cockerels, had them shipped almost 900 miles, went through the process of quarantine and flock integration only to discover over the next few months that while healthy, they are grievously underweight for the breed. These two aren't worth breeding to my quality Malines hens and they themselves wouldn't even be worth putting on the table at nearly a year old. Just because it fits the breed standard (mostly...) and can be called a certain breed doesn't mean that it's what you want.
Here's my best Malines hen.
Mamom got the free chicks from the supply store. Free ranged them and let them breed to their heart's content. She supplied eggs to her children (9) and their families (beaucoup). Once a year there would be a thinning. These were leghorns. Smaller compared to some, but self sufficient and highly edible.
To your question, all can be used for meat and eggs. Some a little better than others in one aspect. Define your goals. Big chicken or just a chicken? Lots of eggs or just a couple. This will also define flock size.
All chickens work well for meat. Eggs are variable.
I raised 20 Buff Orpington's last year. First time I raised chickens and I wanted a DP breed. I kept some for eggs, and they are my favorites. They look basic but are beautiful birds. I do find their eggs are a bit smaller than the Leghorns and Isa Browns, but I can live with that. The meat birds of the group were interesting to me. I butchered the biggest cockerel a few weeks prior to the big butcher day because of an injury. He was excellent. I think I waited to long, waiting for them to get "a little bigger". They were not too tough for consumption, just not ideal for the family. We are a good eating family, so one chicken did not always prove to be enough. As stated before, creativity in the kitchen left no disappointments after we knew what we were working with. As far as taste and juicy meat, they far surpass a store bought chicken. The only thing I can say is, this year I am trying Red Rangers. I am working through these "experiments" to see what works best for us. I may even try a few Cornish X's after they are gone, just to try them. I am hesitant though as I brought my birds to the butcher last year and saw everyone's Cornish X's and I was at the least, disgusted. I was proud of the clean, beautiful birds I showed up with, and got compliments as well. Not saying I won't do them, I am just all the more hesitant now.