Niederrheiners and other meat breeds?

aliciaFarmer

Songster
May 3, 2018
377
683
187
Oregon
I decided to start a dual purpose flock for potential meat. We've previously only kept chickens for eggs and have processed a few scrawny cockerels and roos. So far we have 2 Bielefelder girls and a boy (they're only 3 months old). I just ordered 2 more of Bielfelder girls and 5 straight run Niederrheiners (only option on those). I'd never heard of them and haven't really found anything online saying they're good for meat other than on the site in which I purchased them from. Do you have them? Have you eaten then? What's your experience? Are there any other breeds you keep for the purpose of meat?

I'm the process of shrinking my laying flock down to two dozen and thinking about a dozen or so to breed for meat would be good enough. We'll also buy a few Cornish cross here and there but I want something more self sustainable so I don't *have to* buy meat chicks in order to be able to eat juicy chicken. The extra roos are fine for making stock and soup but not really meaty or good for roasting in my experience.
 

ChickenCanoe

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Nov 23, 2010
33,429
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St. Louis, MO
This is about all I know about them.
Niederrheiner (feathersite.com)
A couple other breeds to consider.
Barbezieux Chicken - Arca del Gusto - Slow Food Foundation (fondazioneslowfood.com)
Java Breeding (polarisstarfarm.com)
the breed and variety I raise is the Black Penedesenca. They are widely renown in Spain for the flavor of the meat in similar fashion to the Bresse of France.
It is important to remember that heritage breeds, even those I mentioned, would only be a niche market in the US even though they would be prized in Europe.
Many people there think Cornish Cross are mushy birds with little flavor and they will pay more for a flavorful bird.
They want a more chewy bird packed with flavor.

Good luck.
 

aliciaFarmer

Songster
May 3, 2018
377
683
187
Oregon
This is about all I know about them.
Niederrheiner (feathersite.com)
A couple other breeds to consider.
Barbezieux Chicken - Arca del Gusto - Slow Food Foundation (fondazioneslowfood.com)
Java Breeding (polarisstarfarm.com)
the breed and variety I raise is the Black Penedesenca. They are widely renown in Spain for the flavor of the meat in similar fashion to the Bresse of France.
It is important to remember that heritage breeds, even those I mentioned, would only be a niche market in the US even though they would be prized in Europe.
Many people there think Cornish Cross are mushy birds with little flavor and they will pay more for a flavorful bird.
They want a more chewy bird packed with flavor.

Good luck.

Thank you! I hadn't actually thought of Penedesenca -- I haven't had them before. Besse is another I eventually want to try as I heard the meat is marbled which seems fascinating to me. I'll check the others you mentioned too. I went for Bielfelders and Niederrheiners because they're apparently quite fast growers, lay [large] eggs early and quite a few, and are apparently more broad and meaty in the chest though I currently have no personal frame of reference. Right now it's just for family food and not selling but I may branch out and add meat to our farm's offerings in the future.
 

Egghead_Jr

Crowing
11 Years
Oct 16, 2010
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NEK, VT
The marbled fat in Bresse is due to the French use of fattening sheds. It's not practiced in America anymore. The marbled meat is not a breed thing rather the pre slaughter conditioning. You've probably heard the phrase "a fattened goose for Christmas." You probably don't want to know how it was/is done. Considered cruelty to animals in America anymore though once common practice as it is today in Europe.
 

Egghead_Jr

Crowing
11 Years
Oct 16, 2010
7,535
3,677
476
NEK, VT
Dairy and molasses can be used. You're fattening by stuffing it with high fat, empty carbs and confining it so it can not move. Oats are a good grain to use too. A funnel was used for Christmas goose. The liver gets oversized. The cruelty part is the confinement so they can't move for weeks on end. But you can absolutely pen birds to reduce movement and use fattening it just can't be like the methods of old or in use in France. Veal is restricted movement too but complete immobilization is not allowed in America- anymore.
 

aliciaFarmer

Songster
May 3, 2018
377
683
187
Oregon
The marbled fat in Bresse is due to the French use of fattening sheds. It's not practiced in America anymore. The marbled meat is not a breed thing rather the pre slaughter conditioning. You've probably heard the phrase "a fattened goose for Christmas." You probably don't want to know how it was/is done. Considered cruelty to animals in America anymore though once common practice as it is today in Europe.

That's really great information, thank you! I actually read about the marbling on a site that was selling Bresse chicks and they spoke nothing of what you just said. Very misleading on their part and that was the sole reason I wanted to try them next. Anything to lure a customer and make a buck, maybe.
 

aliciaFarmer

Songster
May 3, 2018
377
683
187
Oregon
Dairy and molasses can be used. You're fattening by stuffing it with high fat, empty carbs and confining it so it can not move. Oats are a good grain to use too. A funnel was used for Christmas goose. The liver gets oversized. The cruelty part is the confinement so they can't move for weeks on end. But you can absolutely pen birds to reduce movement and use fattening it just can't be like the methods of old or in use in France. Veal is restricted movement too but complete immobilization is not allowed in America- anymore.

That's sad af! I let my meat birds free range for 8 to 12 hours a day depending upon time of year and when they're confined, they have a minimum of 6sf each, but I'm working on getting more chicken tractors built so they have more space. My last batch was only 13 birds and I felt like they were too cramped in the morning and evening when closed up. I'll definitely never practice any of those methods. :(
 

nikkers390

Crowing
14 Years
May 7, 2007
455
342
351
Ft. Myers FL (in the Boonies)
I have Niederrheiner and Bresse.
My chickens are just for eggs and eye candy. My flock runs together.
Both Bresse and Niederrheiner are large birds which are good egg layers.
I chose these breeds along with Brahma, Bielefelder, Orpingtons and Plymouth rocks because they ARE large, nice to look at and lay a good amount of eggs. I aim for dual purpose.
I don't eat my chickens but just in case TSHTF I will have have an option.
 

aliciaFarmer

Songster
May 3, 2018
377
683
187
Oregon
I have Niederrheiner and Bresse.
My chickens are just for eggs and eye candy. My flock runs together.
Both Bresse and Niederrheiner are large birds which are good egg layers.
I chose these breeds along with Brahma, Bielefelder, Orpingtons and Plymouth rocks because they ARE large, nice to look at and lay a good amount of eggs. I aim for dual purpose.
I don't eat my chickens but just in case TSHTF I will have have an option.

That's a really great plan and why I too have added all of those same breeds for more regular eggs and meat options. A couple of years ago with a flock of 24 heritage breed hens I was getting about seven dozen eggs a week in the dead of winter. I later switched to all beautiful colored egg layers and dropped down to 2 dozen in a week on a good week with even more hens. That's when I decided okay, I need to switch back to hens that will actually lay eggs and ones that will provide meat should the need arise. I've only processed chickens once and didn't actually do the killing myself but I want the option. When Covid hit, we couldn't find any good organic meat anywhere for about three months so had some friends over to process extra roosters. Cities seemed to be fine but a lot of rural locations were highly affected and I don't want to go through that again.
 

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