On raising meat birds

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by wjallen05, Dec 30, 2009.

  1. wjallen05

    wjallen05 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A few weeks back, we processed one of our roosters. He was a 9 or so month old RIR. The meat was terrible. I now give away baby cockerels because it is not worth it to raise them up to have chewy meat after spending all that money in feed. I want to order some chicks but what I need to to be able to hatch them out and raise them up myself, rather than having to order them every time. What should I get? A Cornish (dark??) rooster and White Rock hens? Is this the best cross or is there something better?
    TIA!
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2009
  2. cassie

    cassie Overrun With Chickens

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    You simply are not going to beat the Cornish X you buy. If you insist on hatching your own, you might consider learning how to caponize the roos.
     
  3. Buster52

    Buster52 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Dark Cornish is the best tasting chicken I have raised in my limited meat chicken experience. Tender, tasty, easy to raise.

    But RIRs aren't really that bad, either. Nine months is probably way too long. Try 18 to 22 weeks.
     
  4. wjallen05

    wjallen05 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you insist on hatching your own, you might consider learning how to caponize the roos.

    Why?​
     
  5. Brunty_Farms

    Brunty_Farms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It creates better meat. The roosters do not develop any testosterone and they pack on much more meat. Making it a very flavorful but tender chicken.

    You have to ask yourself what you want.

    Do you want the most for your money... Do you want to be self sustaining..... The list is endless.... I guess start by telling us why you want the meat chickens and then maybe we can fit a breed best to you.

    Think of how much time and money you want to invest as well.....
     
  6. wjallen05

    wjallen05 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, I had that all written out but didn't get any repsonses so I thought it was too long and shortened my post.

    Our goal is not have to buy any meat, eggs, or milk from the store. I have the chickens for eggs (mostly small to medium size breeds, not any good meaty breeds and the only roos I have are an Ameraucana, a Leghorn, Silkies and OEGB), I have 3 female dairy goats but we don't like the milk so I bought a Jersey heifer but she's still on the bottle, and I bought 2 steer calves and 2 boer hogs to raise up and put in the freezer. So we're getting there. I'd just like to add meat birds to the bunch and I am not sure exactly what type to raise, or if I should just order CornishX chicks once or twice a year, or what.

    Thanks for your help.
     
  7. jaku

    jaku Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Consider doing what I do. I sell most of my Cornish X's to friends, family and coworkers, for $10 each. At 75 birds per batch, that's enough to basically give me free chicken all year. I only made about $40 profit with my fall batch, profit is not really my goal. If I'm getting a steady, unlimited supply of free meat for myself by selling only about 100 birds per year, isn't that the same as being self sustaining? AND, I'm getting huge, meatie birds. Plus, after 8 weeks, no more dealing with keeping chickens 'til next season. There's NO downside for me. It's ridiculously easy to sell 50 birds to only a few customers- I actually have to limit the number people can get because I don't want to raise any more than 75 per batch. Not to mention, raising 75 isn't all that much more work than raising 25, (until processing day, that is.)
     
  8. Buster52

    Buster52 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Okay is your goal sustainability then? Ordering and raising Cornish X is the easiest and cheapest method for getting meat on the table short of buying on sale at Walmart. It is much more sustainable than eating factory farmed birds from your grocery store, but not quite as sustainable as hatching your own eggs and raising them because you have to ship in birds every season. Another fast growing hybrid that would need to be ordered yearly is the Freedom Ranger from JM Hatchery. But if you want to hatch meat birds yourself...

    We are currently raising standard Dark Cornish for that and we are very happy with them. They don't grow as fast as the above birds, but do taste nice and have decent breast meat, the primary element missing in most home birds.

    This spring I will also be raising some Delaware and Buckeye to test them out as possible supplements to our Cornish or maybe even replacement if I like one or both well enough. I am also ordering some Cornish X and FRs just to see how I like them.

    But my ideas are fairly well entrenched in my head and I have a solid plan. I know exactly what I want to do and why. If that wasn't the case, I would probably just order either the Cornish X or the Rangers just to get my feet wet, see how I like it and go from there. That is about the quickest and easiest rout into meat chicken raising.

    I would also recommend you read Joel Salatin's Pastured Poultry Profits. Best book on home meat bird raising I have seen.

    ETA
    While we are talking about meat birds, don't forget turkeys. The two best tasting heritage breeds according to a recent taste test are the Midget Whites and Bourbon Reds (my turkey). The Broadbreasted White can't breed naturally (and so must be shipped in each season), but they do get huge and have excellent feed-to-meat ratios.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2009
  9. bmelanco

    bmelanco Out Of The Brooder

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    Last spring we got 12 Jumbo Cornish Cross pullets. One died in transport. Three died in weeks one and two before we figured out that these "chickens" were very suseptible to finding any resason to kick the bucket. We also lost two around weeks three/four because they ate its self to death. We also freezered one early becasuse the layer hens decided its thigh was tasyy at around week eight. We do want to raise meat birds (more then 12 but less than 100) and are flexible as to the time they are around (but must be less than one year). So, please help! Are Cornish Rock X as "unchicken like" as the last mutant things we got? Will Dark Cornish satisfy the white meat eaters in our family? What other breeds could we try?
     
  10. Buster52

    Buster52 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A good alternative to the Cornish X is the Freedom Ranger. It is also a big, fast growing hybrid but doesn't grow quite as fast as the CX. The Rangers as I understand them reach butchering age at 12 weeks, the CX at 8 or so. That is quite a difference. That's if you want to try a straight meat bird again.

    The Dark Cornish has ample breast meat for its size, but it is much smaller I think than the other two above. It will definitely hold its own in the chicken yard. They take even longer to reach butcher weight. We did ours at 20 weeks, and I think could have waited even longer.

    Oh, and people who raise the Cornish X (I don't) are going to tell you it's a bad idea to mix them with your barnyard flock. Better to keep them separate, preferably in a tractor.
     

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