POLL: Best Meat Bird Fitting this Criteria?

With the above being considered, what is your pick for the best heritage chicken for meat?

  • RIR

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Light Brahma

    Votes: 3 12.5%
  • Orpington

    Votes: 4 16.7%
  • Delaware

    Votes: 6 25.0%
  • Faverolles

    Votes: 1 4.2%
  • Dorking

    Votes: 5 20.8%
  • La Flèche

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Freedom Ranger

    Votes: 1 4.2%
  • Houdans

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Buckeyes

    Votes: 2 8.3%
  • White Wyandotte

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Light Sussex

    Votes: 4 16.7%
  • Color Ranger

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Red Ranger

    Votes: 2 8.3%
  • New Hampshire Reds

    Votes: 1 4.2%
  • NONE OF THESE

    Votes: 3 12.5%
  • Plymouth Rock

    Votes: 1 4.2%
  • White Rock

    Votes: 2 8.3%
  • Dark Cornish

    Votes: 2 8.3%
  • Australorp

    Votes: 2 8.3%
  • Dominique

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    24

IndianaHomestea

In the Brooder
7 Years
Sep 20, 2012
73
0
41
New Palestine, Indiana
I know this question has been asked a million times, but many times, each person has different preferences.

I'm working on becoming self sufficient and that includes not being reliant on hatcheries.

With that being said, to me the most important things when it comes to my meat birds are:

1. They are heritage... so I don't have to constantly buy baby chicks or fertilized eggs. When/if the economy collapses, the price at the hatcheries will skyrocket too! And availability will be much lower as well. I want to avoid any issues there!

2. They go broody. I've tried hatching some eggs with my current egg layers (they're all mixed breeds) and none of them would sit on the eggs. I had to throw them all out after a week. I never saw any of the hens sitting on the eggs a single time. I want to avoid this.

3. They taste good. Obviously, the more taste the better.

4. They are moderate to fast growers. I understand that if I don't want to go the Cornish X route I'm going to have to deal with longer growing times. But I understand this can vary greatly between breeds.

* I'm no chicken expert, so some of the birds below my not be heritage.
 

Wax Myrtle

Chirping
7 Years
Sep 17, 2012
470
19
93
Galivants Ferry, SC
I suspect that there isn't likely a breed that meets all of your criteria. Aside from modern strains of white Leghorns and modern hybrids for eggs, and modern meat hybrids (and I include all the "rangers" and color broilers with the CX) there is no single breed of chicken that does either or both excellently. They are Jacks of all trades and masters of none. (Although, I guess you could say that Silkies are masters of brooding... :lol:)

I really wish it were different. :/ I'd have me a flock of them as quick as I could! But until then, I've got what I sure do hope is a pair of Brahmas. :lol:
 

IndianaHomestea

In the Brooder
7 Years
Sep 20, 2012
73
0
41
New Palestine, Indiana
Thanks for the reply! Yeah, I fully understand there there isn't any one bird that meets all of that criteria perfectly, but I was hoping to hear of maybe one or two that fit the criteria BETTER than others? If each of the criteria were on a point system, there must be one or two breeds that would have the highest number of points. See what I mean?
 

Egghead_Jr

Crowing
9 Years
Oct 16, 2010
7,143
2,935
406
NEK, VT
You can't go wrong with Rocks, Wyandote, Orpington or Australorps. All good meat birds and layers. You'll have to raise them to around 18-20 weeks for a fair size table bird though. All will go broody but putting eggs under them doesn't make them sit. You have to wait for one to go broody then put eggs under her.

I voted White Rocks as they are larger than other Rock variety and am partial to Rocks but any turn of 20th century bird like the Wyandote, Rock, Orpington, Austalorp are excellent dual purpose birds. The Orps were developed due to our Rocks and the Brits didn't want to be without a national prize winning dual bird. The Austral-Orp is the Orpington developed into a better utility bird in Australia. The trend of breeding later in 1900's worked toward the cornish X and super layers for commercial use. The pinacle of dual purpose breeding ends in the heritage breeds mentioned above.
 

milleryardchx

Songster
11 Years
May 25, 2008
693
12
153
Washington State
Dorking was voted best flavor for heritage meat bird, it has been documented as the meat bird since ancient Romans. But finding true dorkings or white dorkings for butcher are rare and usually expensive start up cost. Delaware are used by a few farmers around me for heritage meat flocks they were the standard meat bird till the modern cornish x was invented, I have a 9lb 22 weeks old roo. White rocks are great dual bird. I have 12 white rock pullets and 14 Delaware roos I'm keeping the best 3 roos for breeding the rest will be butchered. And by spring I hope to be saving eggs for my own meat flock or let a few hens brood. I read on here a while back about a guy who crossed delaware and white rock and they grew faster than their purbred counter parts. Plus the mostly white plumage is better for cleaning. thats my two cents at least my first butchering will be the first week of December.
 

1muttsfan

Up Northerner
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Mar 26, 2011
21,318
8,021
697
Upper Peninsula Michigan
I have found Delawares to be the best for both egg laying and meat qualities. The boys get big and meaty in a relatively short time for standard birds, and the girls lay lots of very nice brown eggs. They make good free range meat birds. They also have very nice temperaments, friendly and social, and I have had hens go broody but not so often it interrupted the egg laying process. Sandhill Preservation has very nice production birds.
 

ImpulsiveFarmer

Songster
7 Years
Jun 29, 2012
463
17
103
Chautauqua County, NY
I have found Delawares to be the best for both egg laying and meat qualities. The boys get big and meaty in a relatively short time for standard birds, and the girls lay lots of very nice brown eggs. They make good free range meat birds. They also have very nice temperaments, friendly and social, and I have had hens go broody but not so often it interrupted the egg laying process. Sandhill Preservation has very nice production birds.


I was thinking about ordering some australorps from sandhill maybe i will put in an order for some delawares as well.
 

Zootopia

Songster
8 Years
Dec 13, 2011
830
35
128
Abilene, Texas
Since you are looking for a bird that matures fast, the NH are a good bet, as are the Delaware. You would probably get the best results by crossing the two. Our Delly's go broody more often than the NH, but it really just depends on the individual bird. You should pick up a good book and do some more research before you try the broody thing, since you don't seem familiar with the process. The girls decide when they are going to set. Having nest boxes in darker, quiet places with "dummy" eggs can sometimes encourage them, but the whole thing is really a crap shoot. Our Cochin's are Very Broody, but they are slower to mature and I wouldn't really consider them a good choice for meat. You probably need to keep a couple of different breeds. One for brooding and 2 or 3 for meat.
 

IndianaHomestea

In the Brooder
7 Years
Sep 20, 2012
73
0
41
New Palestine, Indiana
Well, I have 13 light brahma's and 12 RIR's both were going to be for meat, but after seeing the responses to this thread I think I'm going to go a different direction. I'm going to go ahead and eat the brahma's and most of the RIR's (keeping the remaining reds for eggs) and I'm going to start over with Delewares I think. That was actually my first choice, but I couldn't find any hatcheries that had any available during the fall/winter months.

Thanks for the great feedback and if you haven't already, please vote in the poll above! It will help others in similar situations as well. Thanks again!
 

milleryardchx

Songster
11 Years
May 25, 2008
693
12
153
Washington State
farwest hatchery sells extra roos for 95 cent each great way to get heritage meat birds for cheap. I just ordered 25 dorking roos for about 20 bucks plus 14 hens i picked a march hatching but they have earlier ones. the have delawares too. low shipping. shipping 50 birds to me is costing 9.50 (a friend filled the rest of my order to 50 birds)
 

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