Meat birds, barrred rock and Americana

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Shannon bo, Jan 27, 2016.

  1. Shannon bo

    Shannon bo Out Of The Brooder

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    OK, I have barred rock and Americana hens, two Americana roosters and a rode island red rooster and use them as egg layers. My idea is to start breeding them as meat birds also?? Thoughts please
     
  2. BeaverQB

    BeaverQB Out Of The Brooder

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    We raised White Rock roosters for meat this past year and got an average dressed weight of a little under 4 pounds at 17-20 weeks. Wasn't that great, but we're going to play around with feed mixtures and protein treats this year to see if we can get them a little bigger.

    Best of luck to you in your experiment -- sounds fun! [​IMG]
     
  3. Shannon bo

    Shannon bo Out Of The Brooder

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    With three roosters and two kinds of hens im thinking I'll get a pretty decent mix lol. Feed lot I will probably raise Hi protein at first and switch to low protein Hi fat
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    First decide what you mean by “meat bird”. What traits are you after? Does color matter? With a white or buff bird you get a prettier carcass if you pluck. With a darker bird you can see the pin feathers. If you skin it doesn’t matter.

    Will you be eating the females? Half the chicks I hatch are female so half the chickens I eat are female. So are you looking at traits for both sexes or just males?

    How important is size? Many people are obsessed by size but there are only two of us. We can make two meals off of a fairly small hen so we don’t need extra huge chickens. That’s why female work for me.

    How will you cook them? You can get varying opinions about at what age you can grill or cook but practically everyone agrees that the older they get the more challenging that becomes. If you are happy with cooking them slowly and with moisture you can get some really nice older birds. If you want to cook them hot and dry, you better process them early.

    How do you feed them? If you want a young bird to eat and are buying everything they eat, you need a bird that is at your butcher weight pretty quickly. You want one that gains meat fast though he may not be all that big. If you are happy with an older bird that forages for a lot of what they eat, how quickly and efficiently they convert feed to meat may not be all that important. They could eventually get big without you spending a fortune on feed.

    How much freezer space do you have? This is more pointed toward the Cornish X than what you are talking about, but consider if you have sufficient space when you prefer to butcher. Just part of your planning.

    How important is white meat versus dark meat to you? Different chickens have different conformations so you can get different proportions of dark versus white.

    That’s enough. Hopefully you get the idea of what it means to decide on what traits you want. Once you know what you want, select as your breeders the ones that most meet your requirements. If you consistently do that you should get closer to what you want each generation.
     
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  5. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    You can eat any bird at any age so a meat bird is only relative to eating it. Would I grow or breed an Easter Egger with meat in mind? No, no I would not. If I happened to like colored eggs and bred them would I eat the cockerels? Without question. Will you get or do you currently have a dual purpose bird in the true sense of the word? No. Hatchery Barred Plymouth Rocks are egg layers, they are so off body type of standard they no longer have real value as a meat bird other than it's meat and we like to eat chicken. The White Rock would prove a better choice as even the hatcheries stock is still of fair utility. Breeder stock is of excellent dual purpose utility if wanting White. The other varieties of Plymouth even in breeder stock pale in comparison. Are there better choices for a singular breed with dual purpose in mind? Yes.
     
  6. Shannon bo

    Shannon bo Out Of The Brooder

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    So I should use the hens I have for rotating egg layers? Would I be smart in using my red rooster and get red hens for meat birds?
     
  7. Shannon bo

    Shannon bo Out Of The Brooder

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    By meat bird I mean healthy size by fall that's not tough. Hen or rooster doesn't really matter to me I just want a sustainable meat chicken along with a separate sustainable egg producer. My biggest concern in all this is that I now know where my eggs and chicken is coming from without introducing the threat of an outside sickness
     
  8. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    Your Rhode Island Red rooster will give you sex link chicks. But, personally I would not use those breeds to raise "meat" chickens on purpose.

    I eat all of my sexlink roosters when they start crowing. I don't think their growth rate after reaching crowing age justifies the punt of feed it takes to raise them.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2016
  9. Shannon bo

    Shannon bo Out Of The Brooder

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    What about strictly rhode island red as meat?[​IMG]
     
  10. BeaverQB

    BeaverQB Out Of The Brooder

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    So many people are concerned that heritage/dual-purpose birds will be "tough", but that really just depends on how you cook it. "Real" chickens (not Cornish X or other industrial hybrid) have better muscles and a different flavor than the 8 week old squishy birds you buy from the grocery store.

    I would say that you really can't go wrong with any dual-purpose breed, as long as you understand that the meat is different, and that it needs to be prepared differently.
     

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