Meat and Layer hen- good all-purpose breed?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by ejcate, Apr 3, 2009.

  1. ejcate

    ejcate Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 3, 2009
    I live in New Hampshire.
    I have been raising layers for a few years now (only 3 hens per year).
    I wanted to branch into raising meat hens as well.

    After reading several threads on the messiness of raising the two kinds of birds together, I am rethinking.

    Someone mentioned "all-purpose" breeds that can be raised as layers and for meat.

    What are some good all-purpose breeds?
    At what age would each start laying? and at what age is best to slaughter for meat (before the meat gets too tough and only good for stewing)?

    Thank you!
     
  2. ejcate

    ejcate Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 3, 2009
    The Orpingtons look like a nice dual-purpose breed.
    I read that they start laying around 6 months old, yielding 1 egg every 2-3 days.
    How can you tell when they have reached a good slaughtering weight? On average how long do they take to reach this weight?
    I am planning on moving this fall/winter. So my optimal plan would be to buy 6 hens that are just beginning to lay, have them lay all summer and into fall, and plan to slaughter them in late fall.
    Which would mean I would get them at around 6 months old, and they would be a little over a year old when I plan to slaughter them.

    Would this yeild good quality meat? Or are they too young or too old?

    If they are too young- perhaps getting all NH Reds would be better, because according to your chart the reds are "very early maturing" while the orpingtons are "moderately early maturing".

    Thanks for your thoughts!
     
  3. Mrs.Puff

    Mrs.Puff Chillin' With My Peeps

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    One of my friends has sussex as dual purpose gals. I have two of them. They lay regularly, medium sized brown eggs, and they are FAT. They chow down, and have large breasts and good flavored meat.
     
  4. scooter147

    scooter147 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Honestly if you are wanting meat chickens for fryers and the grill go with the cornish x. I raise cornish and my laying chicks together each year and have no problems.
    I get 15 cornish x and 10 laying hens each spring. I provide three waters and three feeders for this number. The cornish will not be with the other past 8 weeks. I actually butcher 4 cornish x roosters at about 4 weeks. They call them cornish game hens in the store.
     
  5. quercus21

    quercus21 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We are partial to the New Hampshire Reds, but we also raise the Cornish X for meat. Of eight hens, we get 4 - 6 a day. The extra eggs keep the neighbors happy because of our rooster.
     
  6. ejcate

    ejcate Out Of The Brooder

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    When do Orpingtons, Sussex and/or Reds reach an optimal slaughtering age?
     
  7. scooter147

    scooter147 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    When do Orpingtons, Sussex and/or Reds reach an optimal slaughtering age?

    When they have to be made into chicken-n-dumplings and chicken noodle soup.
     
  8. ejcate

    ejcate Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote:OK..... I am planning on rasing only 6 hens at a time.
    If I get three laying hens (I am leaning toward the Buff Orpingtons) and I can raise them along side three Cornish x?

    They can be in the same run/coop and there is no fighting?
    Buff Orpingtons are known to be really docile and often get picked on by other laying breeds; but I am not sure how they interact with meat hens.
    What kind of layer do you have? They get along with your cornish x?

    How big do cornish x get?

    You mentioned that they will not be with the rest of the chickens past 8 weeks? why? is that when they are slaughtered?

    Thanks
     
  9. scooter147

    scooter147 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yep the hens can easily be slaughtered at eight weeks, ten weeks if you want a little bigger bird but generally eight weeks will supply a good size fryer.
    There should not be issue one with raising orps and cornish x together, especially if you have only 6 birds. As a matter of fact, I have 4 orps that will be two this May that were raised with cornish and I had no issues.

    My experience in the two or three times I have tried to raise a dual purpose bird that the roosters are just not worth the time or trouble as a meat bird, there is just not much meat on them. They mature very slowly and usually need to be butchered at around 12 weeks of age or they are too tough to be fried. All I can say is that if you raise a few Buff roosters don't expect near the meat as a cornish x, the meat is good not just a whole lot of it.

    There are others on BYC that do it all the time, they may have better ideas or suggestions on a dual purpose meat bird.
     
  10. ejcate

    ejcate Out Of The Brooder

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    ah ha!
    I just figured it out.
    I was thinking that ONE dual purpose bird is suitable for laying eggs AND meat.
    While the truth of the matter is that ONE dual purpose bird would be suitable for laying eggs OR meat.

    Got it!


    OK so I think I am convinced to get three 6 month old Buff Orps as my layers, and three young Cornish xs.

    Because I don't have means to raise chicks, how old should they be in order for me to throw them in the coop/run with the Orps?
     

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