New Hampshire Maturity Time

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by LumiX, Jun 5, 2017.

  1. LumiX

    LumiX New Egg

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    Jun 5, 2017
    Hello All,

    I am thinking about getting some New Hampshire chickens as meat birds but I want to know how long one would usually keep them for before they are ready to be butchered. Would twelve or thirteen weeks be too early? If possible, how much would they weigh around that age?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Fire Ant Farm

    Fire Ant Farm Get off my lawn Premium Member

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    If you want New Hampshires for a meat bird, the source is really important. I made this mistake once. I got New Hampshires from a hatchery, and they were quite small, though the pullets lay well (I kept one girl and gave a friend the others, culled all the boys). I then got some New Hampshires from a breeder (in my case, Eight Acres, cpartist on BYC). Completely different story - HUGE birds! Wonderful! They were a bit slow to mature egg-laying-wise, which is not a surprise with "heritage" types, as I understand. As I recall, they got a lot of their mass later than the time you propose to cull. As far as what they'd weigh, again, totally depends on the source/line.

    Here's Earl, one of the boys from the breeder. BIG boy.

    GNH-EarlGrey.JPG

    May I suggest considering Naked Necks if you want a backyard meat bird? They are friendly, hardy, and lay well as well. You can get good ones from a hatchery for that purpose if you want (at least mine were great - from Ideal).

    But punchline is, if you are thinking of getting a big batch of NHs from a hatchery as meat birds, you may be disappointed in their size. If you get them from a breeder, you can keep the best boy and all the girls and then hatch your own meat birds! I'm actually crossing NHs and Naked Necks - it's turning out great so far.

    (Perhaps someone else will pipe in - that's just my two cents.)

    - Ant Farm
     
  3. LumiX

    LumiX New Egg

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    Thanks for the information. Are the Naked Necks considered "heritage" chickens as well?
     
  4. LumiX

    LumiX New Egg

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    I would also like to know the how long the waiting period is before it is recommended to cull them.

    Thanks
     
  5. Fire Ant Farm

    Fire Ant Farm Get off my lawn Premium Member

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    I don't know whether NNs are considered "heritage" or not. I DO know that they are one of the best tasting chickens (their skin is a little different, and it makes them AMAZING when roasted). When you cull them depends on your goals as well as your source. With my regular NNs, if I was raising for meat, I'd cull at around 16 weeks (after letting them run around a lot - more flavor, more size).

    BUT, Dunlap Hatchery has broiler NNs that I got this year. USPS messed up the shipment, so they got a rough start, but they grow VERY fast, and are very sweet. I would think that you could cull those sooner - if you needed to cull early (like 12 weeks), you could get a decent product. Remember, though, that there will always be more flavor with an older chicken up to a point...

    Our thread (Naked Neck thread) is a great place to ask questions - most of us are raising at least in part for meat. There's another very good thread called "Breeding for Production" (which may be more relevant to your questions, as it's more general - there's some egg discussion, but it has tended toward the meat side). Those are some good things to read through - lots of great info there.

    BREEDING FOR PRODUCTION...EGGS AND OR MEAT.

    Naked Neck/Turken Thread

    - Ant Farm
     
  6. LumiX

    LumiX New Egg

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    Thanks, I will look into those.
     

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