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Probably a dumb question but if you don't mind....

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by BettyR, Dec 22, 2012.

  1. BettyR

    BettyR Songster

    Mar 1, 2008
    Texas Gulf Coast
    I have never bought and raised birds just for meat, I was wondering if someone could tell me what the advantage is in doing this over just eating the excess birds out of the yard?

  2. CayugaLover

    CayugaLover The Duck Whisperer

    i personally agree, what's the point? but i think meat birds tend to gain more weight and faster, and it takes less feed to make a nice, plump bird.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    The broilers have a better feed to meat conversion ratio than dual purpose chickens. That means if you feed them all they eat, it costs less per pound of meat in feed costs. If your dual purpose birds forage for a lot of their food, that advantage goes away.

    The broilers are ready for processing at 6 to 8 weeks of age. That means the meat has a lot less texture. You can fry it, grill it, treat it pretty rough and it will still be what some people call tender. Many of us wait more than twice that long to process our dual purpose birds so we have to adjust the cooking methods to suit the age of the bird when processed. I'm trying to be careful how I phrase this because what I consider pretty darn good you might consider too tough to be edible.

    To me it is a disadvantage but some people like it. You have to harvest the meat birds at a certain age or they start breaking down and dying. I like processing a few at a time and keeping the others fresh on the claw, so to speak. Some people like to set aside a time and get their freezer filled at one go. With 6 to 8 weeks of effort, they have their meat for the year.

    Different strokes for different folks. I like my dual purpose barnyard mix. Some people really like their meaties.
    1 person likes this.
  4. BettyR

    BettyR Songster

    Mar 1, 2008
    Texas Gulf Coast
    Yeah I can see where the feed thing would make a big difference, my chickens forage for their food..... thanks for the response.
  5. Life is Good!

    Life is Good! Songster

    Apr 14, 2011
    suburbia Chicagoland
    We raised broilers to fill our freezer quickly, all in one go-around. Our layer "extras" do not have the same quantity of meat on their carcass as a broiler does, so to get the same amount of meat on the table, I need two 'extras' of our dual purpose. Especially white meat, which 3/4 of our family favors over dark meat. Our dual purpose birds have a great amount of dark meat, useful for chicken n' dumplings or chicken soup - but if I want grilled chicken or chicken tenders, I need white meat.

    After eating your own meat, it's really hard to go back to grocery gunk. It looks like chicken, but it just doesn't taste the same! Much like fresh eggs vs store bought. So I'm in it for the flavor and quality of the meat as well as knowing how my chicken lived and died (humanely). Thus, it's a win-win for my entire family. We get great, healthy meat that tastes so much better than anything around!
  6. redsoxs

    redsoxs Crowing

    Jul 17, 2011
    North Central Kansas
    I think Life is Good summed up what I believe. I kind of butcher a few at time - first as fryers than a roasters, finally as really big roasters. I don't think I could go back to grocery store birds now. But I also love the taste and flavor of my spent hens in dumplings and soups.
  7. BettyR

    BettyR Songster

    Mar 1, 2008
    Texas Gulf Coast
    I can see the reasoning behind growing your own meat....the grocery store chicken is about as bland as the grocery store beef. We much prefer the home raised, grass fed beef over the grocery store beef. I grew up eating chickens out of the yard so they are what taste good to me. The chicken from the store tastes like a whole different animal. If I buy chicken from the store I only get the dark meat, it is the only part of the bird that has any flavor and even that is pretty bland.

    I guess we prefer to eat the "yard birds" because we are big beef eaters so chicken and pork are fill-ins for some variety in our diet.

  8. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Crowing

    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    I raise Cornish Cross because my family likes the white meat and nobody wants the legs. The Cornish Cross are the ones with the huge breasts.

    I can raise 50 of them and get it all over with in 8-10 weeks. Fill the freezer and then when I want chicken, I have pan ready home raised birds all ready to cook. Personally, I don't want to be killing and plucking a chicken every weekend. Get them all raised up quick and get it over with all at once suits me better.

    Cost per pound is lower, although it isn't possible for me to raise birds for the same low cost as chicken on sale at Safeway, so cost is only part of the equation.
  9. jdywntr

    jdywntr Songster

    Oct 31, 2009
    Somerville, AL
    I processed some 18 wk old Jersey Giants today. My freezer is virtually empty and I'm tired of feeding things that I am not keeping. The 2 hens were processed because they did not grow well. The 2 roos were extras. I had more to do but after the geese, I got tired of processing.
    They were small and while the breed takes a lot of time to fill out, I think I may get some cornish just to get that bulky meat so fast to put in the freezer. I do plan on doing more of a process as I need to in the future. I don't need enough meat to fill the freezer and since I do it alone and completely by hand, processing a bunch is very time consuming.
  10. BettyR

    BettyR Songster

    Mar 1, 2008
    Texas Gulf Coast
    I can't even imagine trying to process 50 birds at a time, I'm not sure I would survive the attempt. Cleaning a couple of birds is a pretty easy thing to do but 50? I don't have that much energy.

    I just throw a hand full of corn on the ground and call the birds....they come running to pick at the corn.....I choose a couple of birds, grab them one at a time and quick flip of the wrist breaks the birds neck. I throw them off to the side and walk away while they flop around. A while later I go back and pick up the dead birds and it takes me a couple of minutes to skin them. I take the birds in the house and clean them and bag them up and stick them in the frig. out in the garage. They are the birds I will cook for that week. No muss no fuss....the whole thing never even disturbers the rest of the flock still picking at the corn on the ground.

    Yeah, I do mine alone and by hand as well and I only have the one large chest type freezer and when I fill my freezer it's with beef, I don't have room for a bunch of chickens. Besides if we didn't eat the excess chickens that we have around the house we would very soon be over run with chickens. The only time of the year I don't have hens showing up at the house with a new batch of babies is the dead of winter (now)...but starting in February they will start hiding eggs and setting and that will continue until September. We don't really have much of a winter here on the Gulf Coast.

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