Meat & Egg chickens

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by TaylorCS78, Jan 31, 2011.

  1. TaylorCS78

    TaylorCS78 New Egg

    Jan 31, 2011
    I'm brand new to this and was fortunate enough to find this site. What a awesome source of information! Thanks to everyone.

    I have a pretty good idea of what to do with my coop and run...but not sure on breeds/quantity of chickens to get.

    I am interested in having both meat and egg laying chickens. At this point I do not think I want to worry with chicks or therefore roosters, but I am open if folks can strongly convince me otherwise. My biggest hangup there is 1. Rooster "calling", 2. can I eat an egg that a rooster has done his deed on and if so how long do I have

    For informational purposes my coop will be 12'x12'x6' (wlh). My run will be ~20'x30'

    Now assuming I'm starting from scratch what breeds/quantities would be recommended to get me both eggs and meat and that are adapatable to my environment (I live in South Mississippi....if that even matters).

    I have tried to come about this information on my own but the information that makes this site so awesome is also a little overwhelming for a newbie.


  2. Sportsterjeep

    Sportsterjeep Creekside Acres Farm

    Jun 1, 2010
    Mill Hall PA
    Brahmas or Wyandottes would be my suggestion, and you will get many more I'm sure. You can eat a roo "treated" egg like any other. The embryo doesn't start to develop until you crank the temp up to around 100F. Treat it like any other egg unless you want to incubate it. Now, if you are going for a renewing flock, get that roo so that you don't have to keep buying chicks or birds. When you get a girl that goes broody, just let her do her thing and you will have more birds. You could also collect eggs and incubate them, warning though, incubation is addicting. With 1 roo around you won't notice a whole lot of noise, and you get used to it. When my roos were at a weeklong show, 6 of the 9 mature ones, I actually missed the crowing in the morning. It just didn't feel right not having that to wake up to.

    ETA: Oops, forgot quantity. Rule of thumb for homesteading is 2 to 3 hens per person in your house. This supplies the needed eggs. Throw in a roo to keep the flock going and you're set. Let them go broody in spring through summer and process all the roos when they get big enough, and the pullets that you don't want to swap out with any of your other hens. About every 3 to 4 years pick up a new roo to keep the gene pool moving along. However, chicken math will eventually kick in and you will probably wind up with various different breeds.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2011
  3. Illia

    Illia Crazy for Colors

    Oct 19, 2009
    Forks, WA
    The first thing I would recommend is to NOT get your chickens from a feedstore, local seller, or hatchery if you want meat & egg chickens (also known as dual purpose) [​IMG] Those are hatchery quality, and bred solely for egg production. Even breeds meant to be big, meaty, and good layers like Brahmas are sadly only about 6 lbs tops on hens and mostly bone, while Wyandottes are also mostly skin and bone, and 5 lbs tops if from hatchery stock.

    There are quite a few breeders here who sell good quality dual purpose breeds, some of the breeds ideal for you include Delawares, Orpingtons, Wyandottes, French Marans (also lay a gorgeous, very dark brown egg too) Rhode Island Reds, Plymouth Rocks, and Dorkings.

    Again though, make sure you get from good quality, otherwise you'll have very small, underweight chickens who give very little meat compared to the "real deal" dual purpose stock. [​IMG]
  4. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Quote:This is really good advice. Maybe some research on here would turn up a breeder within driving distance of you. I'm pretty rural and have come across two since joining here. Of course, then you want a roo so you can keep your own good line going.

    You've no doubt eaten fertile eggs from the grocery store. As a rule the commercials keep only hens, obviously, but sexing isn't an exact science and they get some roos in the bunch. People on here have hatched regular grocery store eggs. At room temp or refrigerated, they will not develop, and you will not notice the tiny white spot that tells whether an egg is fertile. (there's a link to pics of it in the incubating section in a sticky.)

    As for culling and processing, no one enjoys the killing but many have learned to do it, and the processing is actually kinda fun and interesting. When you think about the quality of food you are getting, and the quality of life the bird had as compared to that of commercial chickens, you will no doubt find it an adjustment you can make. You might read some threads in the meat bird section like "can I do it?" or "I finally did it."
  5. TaylorCS78

    TaylorCS78 New Egg

    Jan 31, 2011
    Does it matter the bread of the rooster I get for my flock. Lets say I decided on Wyandottes and Brahmas...would my rooster need to be of the same breed. If I bought a brahma rooster could it also fertilize a wyandotte?

    I looked in the "for-sale" forum and didn't find any breeders local. So I guess I'll have to buy a hatched chicken and get it shipped or something...not sure how all that works but I''ll figure it out.

    Thanks for you advice and assistance!

  6. KatyTheChickenLady

    KatyTheChickenLady Bird of A Different Feather

    Dec 20, 2008
    Boise, Idaho
    Nope the breed of the roo doesn't matter.
    Personally I see nothing wrong with feed store chickens when your first starting out. They are chickens, they will lay eggs, you can eat them. Consider it rather like getting a dog from the pound, it probably won't win best in show, but there are still a lot of good dogs that come from there. Our very best hen came from the feed store and she is still going strong at 8 years old this spring.
    also an easy way to start out is to just get some freebies off of craigslist for the first year; they are chickens, they lay eggs, you can eat them. [​IMG]
  7. FrankRobin

    FrankRobin New Egg

    Jan 3, 2010
    I assume south Mississippi stays fairly hot for long periods so try to research birds that are more tolerant of the heat. My experience is only with cold-hardy birds here in Ohio as I type this out during a snowstorm. My personal feeling, you need a rooster just for the entertainment value he brings to the flock.
  8. Totalcolour

    Totalcolour Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have a home-bred rooster, and he's gorgeous! Has a funny crow though, more like a red jungle fowl, even though he was a Buff Orp on a partridge EE. His voice is low and quiet, and he doesn't crow constantly.

    Since I'm in the PNW we need cold hardly birds, so we have Ameraucanas and EE's. I have twelve laying hens, which provide enough "egg money" to pay for the supplementary feed the birds require in winter. They are all on pasture.

    If you can provide pasture, you will have; less work to do, superb eggs, happy birds, entertainment (we watch more chickens and less TV) and make a ton of friends.

    "WARNING WILL ROBINSON"; this is an addiction! You will want more, you will want chicks, you will want different breeds, you will want fancy ones, and coloured ones, maybe even bantys, you may even want to branch out into ducks, geese, bunnies etc. You may need psychiatric intervention.

    Good luck and have fun!
  9. rarely bored

    rarely bored Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 22, 2011
    Central California
    Quote:Yes! This is how I'm thinking too. Those feed store/hatchery chickens are wonderful for learning on and helping us newbies decide if we want to do this for one year or many years, while we figure out which breed(s) work best for our situation, without us spending a ton of money on breeder chickens. Thank you.
  10. booker81

    booker81 Redneck Tech Girl

    Apr 18, 2010
    Quote:Yes! This is how I'm thinking too. Those feed store/hatchery chickens are wonderful for learning on and helping us newbies decide if we want to do this for one year or many years, while we figure out which breed(s) work best for our situation, without us spending a ton of money on breeder chickens. Thank you.

    Agreed. If you are looking to do this long term and sustainably (apparently not a word LOL), then a good stock is needed (high quality breeder stock). If you are just starting out, and looking to learn, chicken is chicken and eggs are eggs. Start small, and if it's something you want better quality, then go and get some good well bred chickens.

    If you're ok with lower quality carcasses, then you can go cheap. If you aren't, well, then go get good birds [​IMG] It all depends on what you want and need.

    Fertile eggs can be collected daily, and won't "grow" a chick if you keep them on the counter or fridge - and they can be kept for a LONG time (weeks or months).

    All chicken breeds can breed with other chicken breeds [​IMG]

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by