Need an opinion....sustainable flock

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Jared77, Jul 11, 2010.

  1. Jared77

    Jared77 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Have put some serious thought into raising a sustainable flock of dual purpose birds. Keeping some hens back, and hatch our own to fill our needs for that years meat birds. So we're not restocking year after year with new chicks from a hatchery. The goal is to know exactly what we're getting through our own birds and improve on what we could buy from a hatchery through very aggressive culling and keeping only the best to improve and build on our stock to eventually have some very good birds to suit our needs.

    Few things that I'm struggling with though I want to keep a minimum number of hens to give us enough to supply the demand of chicks.

    Looking to raise a good sized bird by 16 weeks. Maybe not in the first few years, but want the breed to be capable of producing a realistic meat bird at that age. Not looking to show just feed the family.

    Research has lead me to New Hampshire Reds and looking seriously at Barred Rocks.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    Good choices....add White Rocks to the list. Big, hardy, good layers, meaty and heavy. Also go broody so this is a plus.
     
  3. crperdue

    crperdue Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Last edited: Jul 11, 2010
  4. EggsForIHOP

    EggsForIHOP Chillin' With My Peeps

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    TEXAS
    I am going to be watching this and checking out that link that was posted. I think I may have my husband talked into this finally instead of the CRX (he may get to try it once tho...) I think a sustainable flock is such a much better idea than paying shipping that can cost almost as much as the chickens did. (I REALLY have beef with the Post Office, can you tell?) Anyways...keeping my eye on this one!
     
  5. Jared77

    Jared77 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for the breed choices, and the website is exactly what I was after.
     
  6. Lollipop

    Lollipop Chillin' With My Peeps

    Lemme throw in another point. White birds are preffered by meat producers because they are easier to pluck. Dark pinfeathers are time consumming.......Pop
     
  7. Jared77

    Jared77 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ive raised broilers in tractors for a 2 years now, and the quality has been fine, I hate having to switch my schedule around so I can receive chicks. Post office is good but I still stress everytime till I have the chicks in my hand. I also don't like having to drive to the farmers market hoping I get eggs in time, or worse yet buying store bought eggs. We don't go through that many eggs, but I get asked all the time when people find out I have chickens how much I sell my eggs for. Had thought about setting up a few layers in a small coop and continuing to tractor our meat birds but then it hit me, why have two breeds of birds? I've been reading about before the Cornish X that many people relied on dual purpose birds all the way up through the 50s. So why not try to go back to that mentality and get everything I need in 1 bird?

    Thank you for the breed suggestions and the link, I hadn't thought about culling by live weight at 12 weeks. I think that would easily determine who'd be a keeper and who wouldn't be. I did see that they do sell some of their stock so might not be a bad idea to get in with someone like that who is already trying to do the same thing I am.
     
  8. Southerngirl

    Southerngirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Buff Orpingtons and Dark Cornish have worked very well for dual purpose, That is what we were looking to achieve also was to breed our own meat/eggs. I do still purchase some of the Jumbo Cornish but all extra Roos from our spring and summer hatches go in the freezer.[​IMG] These were 5-6 month old Orpington roos
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2010
  9. Buster52

    Buster52 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It won't really take all that many hens to provide enough eggs for hatching out your meat birds for the season. If you incubate, consider that 6 average layers will provide you with at least 30 to 35 eggs in a week. If you don't incubate and want to rely on broodies, you might have to double that number of birds in order to get enough to set enough eggs.

    As to breeds, there are quite a number of them mentioned in various threads. The ones I see pop up most often are Delaware, Buckeye, standard Cornish, and Rocks. I'm finding Cornish and Dels are at best average layers, though. I like the Cornish for their breast meat. I'm playing with crossing the Dels and Cornish now.

    But whatever you do, get your starter flock from a breeder known for breeding for size.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2010
  10. Southerngirl

    Southerngirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This past year I ended up with a Light Brahma X Dark Cornish cross by "accident". It is a hen and she has the Dark Cornish lacing in black an white, feathered feet like the Brahma;tight feathering and she is built like a Cornish and VERY heavy. I am looking to try this cross for another meat bird also.Like Buster says you have to incubate if you truly want to supply your home with meat to sustain you year round. Only 21 days for chicks! Good Luck!
     

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