Meat birds

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by AnonAMauze, Sep 2, 2016.

  1. I live in town and would like to raise a few meat birds next year. Living in town means I can't do roosters. Could I feed large breed hens the same way I would roosters and still get the same amount of meat on them?
     
  2. keesmom

    keesmom Overrun With Chickens

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    Are you planning to raise Cornish X? They are usually butchered long before cockerels start to crow.
     
  3. Good point with the cornish x. I had six last year and butchered them at about four months and they were just starting to crow. Which was funny as hell, since it sounded more like a squeaky mouse! I unno, though. I'm not a big fan of cornish x. I think they are ugly and stupid. I suppose that's alright since I plan on butchering them. But if anyone's got a suggestion for a straight-bred breed for butcher I would like to hear your opinions.
     
  4. marlene

    marlene Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 6 la bresse in the incubator now. I chose this breed as they grow to about 2kg in 14/16 weeks and the females are good layers, laying 240 to 300 eggs per year. So any males I might hatch will be for the table before they start to get too loud.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2016
  5. keesmom

    keesmom Overrun With Chickens

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    Four months?! Yikes, they must have been the size of turkeys by then. The ones I've had were butchered at 6-8 weeks.

    I've also raised Freedom Rangers. They are more active, and without the health issues of the Cornish. They are faster growing than the usual +heritage" hatchery breeds and have more meat. Those were ready around 12-14 weeks. I can't remember if the males started to crow or not. If they did you could always process them early. You could hold onto some of the pullets for eggs if you wanted too.

    As the above poster mentioned there are Bresse. If you are in the US they are available but uncommon. Dorkings, Cornish (white or dark), Rocks and Delawares come to mind also.

    I also have non-hatchery Faverolles. The excess males are processed around 16 weeks of age. They are noticeably smaller than the meat types, but at that age they are still tender enough to grill or roast.

    There are several threads in the meat bird forum on this topic as well if you want to get other opinions. Sorry I can't list them as I am on my phone.
     
  6. Yeah, I know I let them go quite a bit longer than is suggested but I'm glad I did. Weight after butcher was somewhere around 10 lbs for all 6. Meat was tender and very juicy. I wanted them to reach their full growth, not just standard butcher weight. Happy to see the other suggestions. I'll look into those.
     
  7. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    10 lbs of meat for 6 birds? You didn't have Cornish cross, you had Leghorn cockerels.

    A 4 month CX pullet would be more like 12+ lbs all by herself.

    You can always buy heavy breed cockerels, and just butcher them when they start to crow. That's about the right time to do it, anyway.

    Or, look at the slow broilers. Freedom Rangers, red broilers, Pioneers, Rainbows, etc.
     
  8. Uh.... that was 10 lbs PER chicken......
     
  9. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Ok, it was kinda ambiguous from how you worded it.
     
  10. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

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    Hi,
    Newer research in the broiler industry says one should feed their chicks within 6 hours of hatch. Longer than that and they start to use the glycogen in their muscles to support their body systems. Then they never regain their total genetic muscle potential during their lifetimes. They call the topic "early feed".
    Best,
    Karen
     

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