Meat bird egg production

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by archeryrob, Mar 6, 2019.

  1. archeryrob

    archeryrob Chirping

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    My daughter wanted got into chickens last year and now she would like to move onto meat birds. I figure we can buy some non-sexed and butcher the cockerels before the hens and see how we like it.

    She has RIR right now and plans on raising her own from eggs. We got a rabbit hutch already to separate a broody one from the flock, or just borrow a incubator. I am interested in trying the same thing with meat birds.

    1. Does any one keep a rooster and 4 hens for egg production to raise you own meat birds from eggs?
    2. Do you use CX or some other birds?
    3. Do the Cx birds last over years, or should I research some other stock?
    4. Are their eggs any good when not raising them for stock production in late fall and winter?
     
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  2. Mosey2003

    Mosey2003 Crowing

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    You're not going to get something close to a Cornish X meatbird by breeding yourself. It's a terminal cross, meaning it will not breed true. It's hard to keep them alive long enough to lay or successfully breed the males. It can be done, but it's a fair bit of effort. Search in this forum for "Toad raising" - that's a thread by someone that mixed Cornish X with other breeds to develop a sort of backyard broiler.

    You can try all sorts of things, or you can do what most people do, either make do with dual purpose males for eating or keep your layers and buy meatbird chicks every year to raise.
     
  3. archeryrob

    archeryrob Chirping

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    How about Red Rangers? They sound to be more hardy, but smaller? There has to be a meat bird that can be raised on a local farmette.
     
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  4. Mosey2003

    Mosey2003 Crowing

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    You can raise them all, they just won't breed true.
     
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  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

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    Does any one keep a rooster and 4 hens for egg production to raise you own meat birds from eggs?

    My typical laying/breeding flock is one rooster and 6 to 8 hens. I keep them for meat and to play with genetics, the eggs are just a nice side benefit. During the season I typically have over 50 chickens of various sizes, most of them growing to butcher size. You can hatch a lot of chicks from one rooster and four hens.

    Do you use CX or some other birds?

    I use a mix of dual purpose breeds, often called mutts on here. I have never raised Cornish X or Rangers. My dual purpose mixes do not get nearly as large as Cornish X or Rangers and are typically butchered two to three months later, which means feed costs are higher and the meat has more texture and flavor than the "meat" birds. They are different in many ways.

    Do the Cx birds last over years, or should I research some other stock

    Many people on here have tried to raise Cornish X or Rangers and breed them. Most are unhappy with the results though Rangers tend to work out better than the Cornish X. If you read that "Toad" thread you'll see they are having challenges. The problem is that the "meat" birds have been bred to pack on a lot of meat quickly and they tend to grow so fast their skeletons break down or their hearts give out, Cornish X moreso than the Rangers. If you can keep them alive they generally get so large the roosters can't breed naturally and you might need to use artificial insemination.

    The commercial operations that raise the flocks that lay the eggs that become the Cornish X use restrictive feeding to keep them from growing too large to breed, let alone just fall over dead. It is a very fine balance to feed them enough of the right things so they grow and lay a lot of eggs yet don't get too big. Their techniques in how they manage them are just as important as the genetics that make them grow so fast.

    I don't know how long the breeding stock lasts that lays the eggs that become the commercial meat birds but my guess would be not many laying seasons. The commercial egg laying flocks usually are kept for only one or two seasons. The egg productivity drops as they go through molts and it is not worth feeding them through a molt to get that decreased egg production. It is more cost effective to replace them. I'd expect the same for the flocks that produce the eggs that will hatch into meat birds.

    Are their eggs any good when not raising them for stock production in late fall and winter?

    Their eggs are chicken eggs, nothing wrong with them.

    As @Mosey2003 says the Cornish X or Rangers will not breed true because they are hybrids. But that does not mean that the offspring won't make great meat birds if you can get them. They still have the genetics to put on a lot of meat quickly, much faster than dual purpose breeds. That's why people that try to breed their own have so much trouble, the offspring tends to grow so fast their skeletons break down or their hearts give out. They may not be as efficient as the Cornish X (or Rangers) but they will still beat the pants off of any dual purpose breed for meat if you can keep them alive long enough to breed.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with getting some Cornish X (or Ranger) chicks and raising them for meat. They are extremely efficient at putting on meat. Some people love them, some people hate them. They are different from RIR's so a bit of a learning curve.

    RIR's are not known to go broody much. It can happen but it's not likely. If you want to hatch eggs I'd get an incubator.
     
  6. Mosey2003

    Mosey2003 Crowing

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    @Ridgerunner does a fabulous explanation, as usual :)

    I was a bit short last night because I was on mobile, I meant to come back and expand this morning, but I think it's thoroughly covered now.
     
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  7. Molpet

    Molpet Free Ranging

    I kept a cx pullet, she laid that fall and I hatched out 4. She died before she started laying again in the spring. I used the mixed roo I had.
    Her sons I used for breeding and most of my birds are out of her. 16wk cockerels dress out 4 to 7 lbs. They start dying at 18 months, I have some hens that are 2.

    A guy did a study of hatchery DP birds for meat https://projects.sare.org/project-reports/fnc12-866/

    eta I used strict diet and exercise the cx to keep alive long enough to lay... over winter she couldn't get exercise and put on too much weight.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2019
  8. archeryrob

    archeryrob Chirping

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    Thanks Riddgerunner, I don't care if they breed the same as long as they are close. I just like to be self sufficient and raising my own might be more work, but I like having control of my food supply. Its the only reason I want to do this.

    The added benefit of it reducing my costs $2 a bird also looks attractive to me more than how true to form they are.
     
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  9. Mosey2003

    Mosey2003 Crowing

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    By all means, feel free to try. We just can't tell you what you'll end up with, especially breeding something like Freedom Rangers together. If I were going to try it, I'd try to keep some Cornish X females thin enough to lay and cross a good rooster over them, any of the good dual purpose like a Barred Rock, New Hampshire, Buckeye, etc. You ought to get decent results doing that. If you want to try that, I'd get the Cornish X chicks ASAP so they have a chance to lay as much as possible by fall. Try to find a mature rooster of at least a year old, he'll be better at his job and people typically will give them away.
     
  10. archeryrob

    archeryrob Chirping

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    Are there any heritage meat birds?

    I did some reading the the Barred Plymoth Rock and Black Australorp, but I am not sure they are just more egg layers no different than the RIR's I have.
     

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