Need help combing some of my heritage breeds for meat production for first part of season!

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by moving coops, Jan 8, 2017.

  1. moving coops

    moving coops Out Of The Brooder

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    Okay, so we are a very large family trying to make almost all our own food and actually with super hard work it has gone well!

    We are about to have our 14 th child, built own large log home and live on the edge of the boreal forest the prairie province of Canada!

    Years previous we bought and raised Grazers or what most people here call Rangers! 300

    But we want to do this with our own heritage birds that we have invested so much in. I wanted to do all barred rock! But we had such huge amounts of rain and humidity last that we could not get down even with windows open and fans on we lots hundreds of chicks! Parasites thrived in this weather and grasses did not pick up mineral like they should from the ground just grew on water or flooded out. We had our barns flooding. Ground water table was right at the surface. So just left us with way less chicks even though we poured the coal into them. Effected severely our other livestock too!

    So I need to look at combining other breeds as well but need body mass as much as possible and fast as can be growth. As it is we cook three chicken up for a meal for our family.

    So I will do barred rock! I have 8 maybe 9 hens.

    Then I was thinking a barred rooster over 4 or maybe 5 white Wyndotte hens. (I bought white Wyandottes for meat as I was told they grow bigger than than BLRW I currently have and the GLW that I will have). I am not this is true, seems no bigger than their other color combos which brings me to the next breeding if there is no true difference.

    And that is also throwing my BLRW hens (4 to 5) maybe 6 as there are some splashes! In under the barred rock too!

    And lastly what about my biggest Maran hens under the barred rock rooster? Now in the statistics it says marten hens weigh more than the Wyandottes but I don't totally see this and maybe it is because they are taller more spread out meat to bone ratio. So is it worth it and will it grow fast enough!

    Reason for barred rock over everything is seems barred is faster growing and more meat type than any the others in stand Along pure bred. And we need to optimize this!

    I have Orpingtons but never in all the years have they ever amount to much meat! Huge birds but not the meat ratio the book say! I need dense and up front meat! Faster growing in terms of what a heritage can do!

    We need about three hundred birds and hope to to draw it out to more than three and at most 4 weeks out hatching. Because our season is short here to grow out plus want to simplify and not be chicks in so many stages. After we have our meat birds then they will be separated in their pure form and flushed out then hatched for purebreds to sell as day old chicks!

    Next year we should have enough barred rocks not to have to do this unless of course one of these combos produce an awesome meat cross. [​IMG]

    What do you think of these crosses do you think they could come out the same as a true barred rock or at least pretty similar that the difference is not really registered?
    Or do you think any cross will not even come close???

    Thanks kindly. This has been mind racking and had last year Vern good we would not to consider this. But need to make use of what we have without more investment!
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I’m afraid you are under one huge misconception, that in what you want to do breed means very much. Strain is much more important for you than breed. I’ll try to explain.

    A few years back I saw an article where a breeder took a flock of chickens, I believe White Rocks, and split them into two different flocks. He started breeding one flock for large size, the other for small size. The article did not say how many generations it took him, but he wound up with one flock that was 9 times heavier than the other flock. They started out from the same parents. Other than size they were still the same “breed”. But on average one flock had chickens that were 9 times as big as the other flock. They were two different strains of the same breed.

    Different hatcheries and different breeders have different people selecting which chickens get to breed and breed for different traits. They may all have Barred Rocks but there can be tremendous differences in size, rate of growth, size of eggs produced, number of eggs produced, whether they go broody or not, and a lot of other traits. My guess is that the size differences you are reading about would be if you are breeding them for show, but not everyone breeds for show. Hatcheries and most people breed for other traits.

    By selective breeding I have a flock where most of the hens go broody since I want that trait. Most of the eggs are blue or green, again something I want. Most of the chickens are mottled. My main goal this year is to increase the size of the eggs.

    If you like the way your Barred Rock are performing, I suggest you get more from that flock. If you get BR from a different flock you may be greatly disappointed.

    Usually I’d suggest you forget about breed and develop your own strain of birds. Select the birds that best meet your goals and breed them, eating the others. Breed the birds you want to eat and eat the ones you don’t want to eat. In a very few generations you will see the improvement in your flock. It’s not so much that your best birds keep getting better, though some of that will happen. It’s more that the worst birds get better. Your average goes up and the greatest increase is at the bottom.

    But since you want to sell chicks, I suggest you do this with just one breed. Since you are happiest with BR, I’d suggest them. Purebred chicks normally sell better than mixed breed chicks.
     
  3. moving coops

    moving coops Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi, thanks for your info! I totally agree and that is what I am going for! All I am asking is this year I am in a situation of needed to produce enough to meat birds from our present stock. I was suppose to have enough barred rock! But rain, humidity and flooding took its tool. So I am just asking that what people think of these breeds together. Growth rate of these. I am getting more BR from that particular breeder but that is hatching eggs for my flock not to be raised for meat! Costs over $10 egg when including shipping. That does not count what does not make hatch!

    So normally I would not combine all these. This is for this early spring for our meat production for our personal use. Then they will be separated into they pure lines and given their flush time to guarentee Pure and then eggs hatched for pure chicks to sell and to add our chicks to our flock!

    I do know that for my meat chickens, I am not going to put in a runt bird of a breed just because it says they grow to certain weight.
     
  4. moving coops

    moving coops Out Of The Brooder

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    Next year we should have enough BR in the flock to produce our meat birds for our family and things will be easier! I am just trying to make the best of the situation we were presented with this year! Not what we had planned.

    But when you have to produce 300 birds for meat for just your family you can see that we need large numbers and so I have to dip into my other breeds we have and combine hoping to add a bit a speed and weight to them by using still my BR large roosters as the Roos. Then getting back to my original plan!

    Now in saying all this if in my combining we find something that works as well or might like the characteristics of the meat better. Then it is possible we would use the combo! But not as likely as I want to keep thing simple! It would have to be a very significant difference to make us choose that and having to use extra pens. Not likely to happen, but in Life I know never to put you foot in your mouth and say, "Never".

    My biggest thing or question was I did not want to put one of these combos together, if it was going to produce a signicant difference of not a great meat bird --- combo or not! If someone had experience or knew of one breed as being particularly slow growing in the heritage line. And I really could not find much info on speed growth of Marans. And yes I realize some are different within the breed! That is with everything. Just talking in general observation.


    For example two large heritage breeds are the Barred Rock and Jersey Giant! But in general and from years of observation from breeders, Jersy Giants are slow growing to get to the recommended weight!
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I’ll try again, maybe I’ll be clearer this time. In your case, breed is not important. It doesn’t matter what someone else’s Wyandottes do, it matters what your Wyandottes do. Someone else’s statistics don’t matter, your statistics do.

    In your situation I’d breed all those hens, BR, Wyandotte, Marans, and any other dual purpose hens I didn’t notice. See what your results are. You may be pleased, you may not. But that will depend on the individual chicken, not the breed that chicken happens to be.
     
  6. moving coops

    moving coops Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks, yes, I will do that and will pick my bigger hens! Nice thing with the meat I I don't have to cull my funny combed hens since in this case the combs don't matter! I have a Maran hen that is huge, lays super dark chocolate eggs but has a bad twisted comb!

    But thanks that does say there might be a couple other breeds I could add into my meat flock that I was just going to sell for ready to lay pure bred hens. I just don't want them in my purebred lines taking up another pen that I would rather have my other pure lines in.

    At least get some great production out of them this early spring, then sell as laying hens, still selling in early spring as I would be done with them! That is my light Sussex! SS they are big!
     

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