Naked neck or NN crosses for meat (hot climate)

Fire Ant Farm

Get off my lawn
May 5, 2015
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South Texas
I am going to be raising my first Cornish crosses this fall (once temps begin to go back down), but am interested in pursuing Naked Necks for meat the following year. I understand that Naked necks are a lot easier to raise in the very high temperatures we get here in South Texas, and they are a common meat chicken raised and sold at Farmers Markets here (and are sought after by consumers). While I have admittedly limited experience with tastes of different breeds, I do know that while both were better than grocery store chicken, Naked Necks were miles ahead of CXs in terms of taste (from same farm, though I don't know which regimen the CXs were raised under, vs. NN which were pasture ranged). Smaller and not as much breast meat, but DANG if that bird wasn't AMAZING! They are popular here so they are often sold out/wait-listed for our more local hatchery (Ideal) pretty fast, it seems. I want to go ahead and get on the waitlist for them for 2016 with Ideal, but I wanted to ask you fine folks about your experiences (hot weather or otherwise):


1. Have you raised pure Naked necks for meat? If so, what were your experiences - any tips?



2. I am considering trying NN crosses for meat as well. Ideally something so I can hatch myself from parents in my flock (or have them raised by a broody, I suppose). Thoughts running through my head now (keep in mind - my head is spinning because of all the reading on this subforum) are the following. I'm interested in thoughts as to direction of cross either way as well (e.g., I've read that Dark Cornish should the be rooster in crosses for better meaty results in offspring).


- NN x Black Copper Maran (as I am considering having a BCM rooster anyway - see below)
- NN x Dark Cornish (apparently the DC from Ideal are from meaty production lines, not show lines, so liking this idea)
- NN x White-laced Red Cornish
- NN x Delaware (Supposedly early-ish maturing and heat hardy)
- NN x New Hampshire Red (Supposedly very early maturing, which I like the sound of, and heat hardy)
- NN x Australorp (Supposedly early-ish maturing and heat hardy)
- NN x Dominique
- NN x Dixie rainbow (I understand the Dixies handle heat poorly, but are otherwise great meat birds and layers, so very interested in this - but would worry about keeping parent alive in heat! Maybe Dixie roo that I can keep in cooler batchelor pad?)
- NN x other???
- NN x Cornish Cross broiler (I'm just curious how well this went if anyone tried it)


Some background info - currently I have three crested cream leg bars, and was planning to add some nice non-hatchery black copper marans to the flock next spring when I build my larger coop, with the goal of egg color variety/quality for that part of the flock (blue, dark brown, and making olive egger crosses with a BCM roo). As I am getting CXs this fall, and I have also been reading a lot of wonderful info on raising them so that they can have a (somewhat) longer life and have babies (thank you especially to JessicaThistle and duluthralphie, RIP Sunny and Bert), I am also open to raising a CX hen on restricted feed and crossing her as well. BUT, I am totally interested in hearing about all other cross ideas. I am not needing/requiring lots of breast meat (not a deal breaker, I'm ok if it's a good meat bird with legs/thighs, etc.), but am interested in hearing about any crosses that did increase breast meat (I'm thinking the Cornish crosses with NN would do that). Also interested in any comments on whether the other pure parent of a given cross might not handle heat well, as that may eliminate some options. Oh, and I am not looking to sell meat or anything - this is for my own consumption (and probably to barter for milk, etc.).

I understand that a NN cross (true homozygous NN parent to non NN parent) will not have all babies with fully naked necks, and may try F1 crosses to ultimately get back to homozygous NN with more meaty genes mixed in (am I crazy for thinking this is possible?). (Correct me if I'm wrong - I need to read more about NN genetics, but that's another thread.)

I have been able to handle heat well so far with my current tiny flock using just ice in their water, as their housing and run are in 100% full shade under a big tree with good breezes, and it seems never to get all that hot under there despite crazy hot days (though summer's not over yet). I just know that larger meaty birds might have a harder time with heat and I want to stack the deck more in their favor by having them have fewer feathers. (Easier plucking is also a bonus!)

I've been wandering around the threads and searching to try to gather info, but it's hard to get the specific info I was looking for (or maybe I'm missing it) - please direct me to the posts/threads if this has been covered before and I missed it.

Thanks!!!!

- Ant Farm

Edited to add more ideas about potential crosses...
 
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Madison1

In the Brooder
5 Years
Jun 22, 2014
24
3
26
I know this isn't what you are looking for but since you are considering CX crossed with NN I thought I would share my experience with CX crossed with New Hampshire. I had a CX hen that I saved on slauter day just to see if she would get big enough to lay. Sure enough and she was bred by my biggest NH roo. The result was amazing. Most people say it's not worth the time because the CX qualities won't be passed down or that the CX won't breed but I have a few photos to prove that's not always true. In the pic the cross roo is on the far left with his cross sister behind him and a pure NH brother sitting on top of the feeder (same hatch date)
 

Fire Ant Farm

Get off my lawn
May 5, 2015
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South Texas
I know this isn't what you are looking for but since you are considering CX crossed with NN I thought I would share my experience with CX crossed with New Hampshire. I had a CX hen that I saved on slauter day just to see if she would get big enough to lay. Sure enough and she was bred by my biggest NH roo. The result was amazing. Most people say it's not worth the time because the CX qualities won't be passed down or that the CX won't breed but I have a few photos to prove that's not always true. In the pic the cross roo is on the far left with his cross sister behind him and a pure NH brother sitting on top of the feeder (same hatch date)
Actaully, this is very helpful, as right now I'm all over the place - the other ideas include NH and Delaware crosses with each other or with CXs. So this is VERY useful info!

How have you liked your NHs? The more I read the more I ponder... (As I highjack my own thread...)

- Ant Farm
 

Madison1

In the Brooder
5 Years
Jun 22, 2014
24
3
26
I have tried to reply to this twice but it has not posted :( Hopefully this time goes through! I've had New Hampshire's for sometime as well as many different breeds and I think they're my favorite! in the past before the Cornish they were a meat bird. Since then I think they lost some size but still a very nice large Dual-purpose Bird. They're great layers and the roosters are very friendly. I think we have become so accustomed to the large Cornish carcass that the only way you would be satisfied is to cross them with something so I think you're on the right track and I was very encouraged with this little experiment I did. Depending on how your processing them the fact that they're not white could be a disadvantage since the pinfeathers will show. I built a plucker so it's not an issue as it picks them very clean.
 

Kev

Crowing
12 Years
Jan 13, 2008
6,517
695
361
Sun City, California
Try asking in this thread:

https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/845018/breeding-for-production-eggs-and-or-meat

It gets a little chatty sometimes but there are some folks with truly invaluable experience and knowledge.

I already know that some of the advise would be telling you to make sure to choose from meat bred stock, as many hatchery 'breeds' are more egg production bred, therefore not desirable for meat production. I see you have some awareness of this though.

I personally can tell you that introducing NN makes a Big difference in heat tolerance for big, meaty chickens.

There are also broiler studies comparing NN vs non-NN in hot climates and they all show higher meat yields in the birds with NN.

I have freedom rangers, they are very big, from pictures they look much heavier than dixies. they are NOT very heat tolerant... however the NN x FRs are handling the heat much better, however they are not as heavy as the pure freedoms. I am thinking of breeding a cross cockerel over the pure freedom hens and then keep the NN 3/4 and see how they do.

As for rest of your questions, they are a little out of my scope, which is why I suggested trying out the thread linked above.
 

Fire Ant Farm

Get off my lawn
May 5, 2015
6,170
2,556
356
South Texas
Try asking in this thread:

https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/845018/breeding-for-production-eggs-and-or-meat

It gets a little chatty sometimes but there are some folks with truly invaluable experience and knowledge.

I already know that some of the advise would be telling you to make sure to choose from meat bred stock, as many hatchery 'breeds' are more egg production bred, therefore not desirable for meat production. I see you have some awareness of this though.

I personally can tell you that introducing NN makes a Big difference in heat tolerance for big, meaty chickens.

There are also broiler studies comparing NN vs non-NN in hot climates and they all show higher meat yields in the birds with NN.

I have freedom rangers, they are very big, from pictures they look much heavier than dixies. they are NOT very heat tolerant... however the NN x FRs are handling the heat much better, however they are not as heavy as the pure freedoms. I am thinking of breeding a cross cockerel over the pure freedom hens and then keep the NN 3/4 and see how they do.

As for rest of your questions, they are a little out of my scope, which is why I suggested trying out the thread linked above.
Thank you SO much! I had started to figure out that maybe I posted in the wrong place, but was waiting a bit.

Your experience with the NN x FR cross is exactly what has me pondering this. I am ordering my NN from Ideal. I suppose I could also order some from S&G, as they actually classify them as broilers (a good sign that they are meat bred stock, I would think!)

- Ant Farm
 

Kev

Crowing
12 Years
Jan 13, 2008
6,517
695
361
Sun City, California
Oh yes! I'd completely forgotten about S&G. almost ordered from them actually. There was someone on this forum who had their NN along one NN cockerel from hatchery stock)McMurray or Ideal kind of hatchery), the SG stock grew much faster and much bigger/taller than the hatchery boy, no comparsion really. I've tried to find those posts and pictures on and off to no luck.

I had also meant to post picture of the NN x FR cockerel:

 

Fire Ant Farm

Get off my lawn
May 5, 2015
6,170
2,556
356
South Texas
Oh yes! I'd completely forgotten about S&G. almost ordered from them actually. There was someone on this forum who had their NN along one NN cockerel from hatchery stock)McMurray or Ideal kind of hatchery), the SG stock grew much faster and much bigger/taller than the hatchery boy, no comparsion really. I've tried to find those posts and pictures on and off to no luck.

I had also meant to post picture of the NN x FR cockerel:

Thanks!!! The only down side is S&G's minimum order is 100 (a bit too many for me to handle, I think)... I wonder if I could get some folks to split it with me? Otherwise, perhaps I could have a subgroup that went to harvest early...

By FR, may I assume you mean Freedom Ranger?

- Ant Farm
 
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