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Meat Bird Project - Delaware, White Rock, Dark Cornish

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by KoopOnTruckin, Jul 26, 2016.

  1. KoopOnTruckin

    KoopOnTruckin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 17, 2016
    East Orlando, FL
    I officially started my meat bird project this month. (Really I've been working on it MENTALLY for like 6 months, but I just got my chicks about a week and a half ago...)

    Here is what I'm working with:

    I ordered 25 birds from Welp Hatchery - 5 Dark Cornish (DC) cockerels, then 5 males and females each of Delawares (DEL) and White Rocks (WR). Unfortunately, Welp made a mistake and accidentally forgot to include my 5 WR pullets, so they sent me another 10 straight run WRs the following week (at no extra cost, THANKS WELP!!!).

    With the extras they sent, I have 33 total:
    5 DC cockerels
    9 WR cockerels
    7 WR pullets
    5 DEL cockerels
    7 DEL pullets

    My plan is to keep the largest/healthiest rooster of each of the 3 breeds, and the largest/healthiest 4-5 hens from the WRs and DELs. This will give me a decent amount of eggs, and good breeding stock for a sustainable meat flock. I will then make DC x WR, DC x DEL, WR x DEL, DEL x WR, and of course pure WR and pure DEL. But I digress - I've been thinking "in the future" for 6 months already, now is the time to LIVE IN THE PRESENT! Back to reality -

    For the first 10 days, I started them on 24% chick starter, then dropped them down to 22% (50/50 split with 20% starter/grower). So far, I've noticed that the Delawares are not growing as fast as the others - I expected them to grow a bit faster than the DCs, but not so much. The DELs are averaging 125 grams, the DCs 128.5g, and the WRs a WHOPPING 160g!

    I weighed them all a few days after I received them, then at a week and 1.5 weeks, and the AVERAGE weights are below. I will continue to weigh them now weekly going forward:

    3 days​
    1 week​
    1.5 wk​
    DC
    61.8g 84.4
    128.6
    DEL 60.4 81.6
    124.9
    WR 68.8 100.6 160

    The WRs so far are growing much better and seem to have a better feed conversion rate - this is likely to change, and of course they are all in the same brooder so I can't tell if they're eating more than the others but it makes sense that they are. They are also all cockerels, since the pullets weren't shipped for another week. The WR pullets weighed in at an average of 65.7g at 3 days old, so still much better than the DELs and DC. I know it's premature since they are only about 13 days old, but I'm seeing a definite reason why WRs are the chosen breed to mix with Cornish.

    In another 20 weeks when they're all old enough to breed, I will be able to get better numbers as I will only raise one breed at a time. I know DELs are supposed to be a bit more heat tolerant than the WRs, and in FL that was my first concern. But the tractor I will put them in has an insulated roof, will be in the shade, and should have plenty of circulating air to keep them from overheating.

    [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  2. Ulladh

    Ulladh Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 3, 2015
    I love stats so keep them coming! These breeds aren't available in Ireland as far as I know, but I got some genuine LaBresse which I hope to do the same with! You've a big task ahead with so many birds but g'luck
     
  3. KoopOnTruckin

    KoopOnTruckin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 17, 2016
    East Orlando, FL
    Thank you Ulladh, it is a big task but I'm going to stick it out. I've searched the forums quite a bit and done a lot of research, but I haven't found anything that has growth rates, feed consumption, and end results for anything other than CXs. Seems like most people have either stopped keeping track or realized it's not worth the work. My hope is to continue bringing in new blood every year, and through selective breeding have a nice size and superior quality table bird somewhere around 16-20 weeks. I don't expect a quick result like with CXs, but the stuff I've read about DC x WR seems very intriguing.

    I've got several spreadsheets set up now, one for my egg-layers to see how they're doing financially, and now 4 worksheets for the broilers. I'm keeping track of their growth rates (weekly going forward), feed consumption weekly (which will also include cost when all is said and done), overhead costs (incubator, housing, scale, cost of chicks, etc.), and culling info (age, overall weight, dressed weight, and then a total gross cost/lb). My hope is that the next person who comes along and asks "Which would be a better bird to raise for meat, WR or Delaware?", "How fast do Dark Cornish Rocks grow?", or "What would happen if I breed a DC roo with a WR x Delaware?", that they'll be able to have some hard numbers to look at.

    Granted, there are a lot of other factors to consider, but hard numbers can be very convincing.
     
  4. KoopOnTruckin

    KoopOnTruckin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 17, 2016
    East Orlando, FL
    I just looked up the LaBresse chickens, they are beautiful birds - love the blue legs/feet! Most of the info says they are one of the tastiest birds, and I think that is as important as size and cost factor. I'd be interested to see your stats as well when you get around to it.
     
  5. Ulladh

    Ulladh Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 3, 2015
    I have 27 eggs in the incy, good diversity of bloodlines so hoping to pick the best from it and go from there, but its late in the season so I will see how these fair as we do get the short days and cold winters, not sure if thats a factor for you though?

    Id be interested to see photos of your birds, as I say Ive never encountered them here. La Bresse have made it to the states but no idea what they are like now as seem tricky to get good birds out of France for obvious reasons. Definitely keep us posted, even when people dont reply to posts they will be reading. And it is a good momento for future whn you look back and see notes you made here and opinions or views you may have had and how theyve changed!
     
  6. KoopOnTruckin

    KoopOnTruckin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 17, 2016
    East Orlando, FL
    I will post some photos later today. I just got done weighing the 33 chicks I have, and it's amazing to see the difference in growth rate now that they are dropped down from 24% to 22%. May also be their age, but seems like a big coincidence:

    Weeks .5 1 1.5
    2
    Delaware (g)(straight)
    60.4 81.6 124.9 160.8
    Growth rate - 135% 153% 129%
    Dark Cornish (males) 61.8 84.4 128.6 168.4
    Growth rate - 137% 152% 131%
    White Rock (males) 68.8 100.6 160 209.6
    Growth rate - 146% 159%
    131%
    White Rock (straight) 65.7 97.7 - -
    Growth rate - 149% - -

    My largest DC cockerel is 193g, smallest is 132g. Largest WR cockerel is 229g, smalles 175g. Largest DEL cockerel is 188g, smallest 150g. The last group of WR straight run are a week younger, but I figured it would be easier to keep them all on the same spreadsheet to see their growth rates.

    I've got each one tagged individually, which I'm noticing is a pain since they are growing so quickly, had to change out their tags twice already.
     
  7. KoopOnTruckin

    KoopOnTruckin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 17, 2016
    East Orlando, FL
    The heat is a factor for me right now, we have this "heat dome" that's been lingering over the entire country for a week now. I'm doing what I can to prepare my tractor coop with some fans in it to help keep the temp manageable. I had a thermometer in there yesterday during the heat of the day, showed a high of 97 F, so I'll test it out today with the fan in there.

    I also found some LaBresse eggs up for auction and will consider buying them at a later time. I'm just not sure how pure they would be, but the photos of the parents did have the blue legs and feet and the body looked to be standard. You just never know with auctions.
     
  8. KoopOnTruckin

    KoopOnTruckin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 17, 2016
    East Orlando, FL
    Here are some pics of the largest of each group (pardon the old diaper box used as the photo backdrop):

    WR cockerel - he has been the biggest since day 1. Very friendly, wanted to get right up to my face:
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    DC cockerel - also the biggest since day 1 (I couldn't get him to stand, but how adorable!!!):
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    DELs - I believe the cockerel is the one with the darker comb and smaller tail (back in first pic, left in second, right in third). Also both the largest since day 1 and still the biggest:
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Younger WRs - I believe the cockerel has no tail feathers yet (pink) and pullet (purple) has tail feathers and more pronounced wings:
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I could somewhat sex them as young as 1 week old, and it seems to be correct as they continue to get older. We'll see if it still stands true when they hit 5 weeks old.

    I also did the math and found that I'm right at about a 3:1 ratio of feed to weight gain, the numbers show the WRs are the best of ratio but again, they are all in the same brooder so I can't tell who is eating the majority. This will change as I eventually get separate them into the different pens of my tractor coop.

    And my DELs are by far the most active, most aggressive, and voted "most likely to get eaten first". So far not a fan, but maybe it will change as they get older. For now, I expect to get my fingers attacked whenever I reach into the brooder.
     
  9. Bigshooter

    Bigshooter Out Of The Brooder

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    May 9, 2016
    Washington
    I am doing the same project as you. Plus I also have dorking and naked necks. I don't have weights but just looking at them it's easy to see that the biggest of mine are in order Delaware, NN, WR, DC, Dorking. I'm really surprised at how small the Dorking are. They are a lot smaller than the Del's, NN, and WR. But just a little smaller than the DC. I will try and get some weights on them and post them up.

    I also noticed that the Del's seem to be the most aggressive up until they were about 4 weeks old then they seemed to mellow out.
     
  10. Ulladh

    Ulladh Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 3, 2015
    Great to see photos and the change in growth rate, have you considered maybe keeping them on the higher feed for a little while longer to get that boost and see their full potential when comes to picking out breeders? Though I understand issues with fat hens but free ranging should sort that Id imagine?

    Really must find out what our equivalent of white rocks are, we have the barred rocks etc here but dont think these are related at all.

    @Bigshooter the Dorking is an extremely slow growing bird, they are very slow to mature and so will always be the smallest until they reach closer to maturity, which again could be 6months plus, somewhere with more experience will let you know but reading on them you are looking at a very long term project there
     

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