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Pro's and Con's, Breed Choice

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by yogifink, Nov 24, 2013.

  1. yogifink

    yogifink Chillin' With My Peeps

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    With spring around the corner, its just about time for us to order some broilers to grow out. I would like to raise something different and was hoping to get some opinions from seasoned homesteaders that process their own food. Keeping in mind, that we do not sell our meat and don't really mind a smaller carcass as it does not take too much to feed two.

    So if you could, a minute or two to post the pros and cons of raising different breeds that you have experience with??


    Over the last few years we have raised cornish cross, which I am not a big fan of. They are disgusting creatures really. I think they smell worse than other birds, they can't / wont forage, in fact they barely even scratch. They waste food like crazy and I find the meat to be rather bland and dry. They do grow out quickly, which might be good for some, but is not of concern to me.
     
  2. amyandkids

    amyandkids Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't have much experience with different breeds but I love the golden comets! I slaughtered 2 at 18 weeks, both pullets, and one bird fed my family of 5 for dinner! Lots of meat and very tasty! Good luck!
     
  3. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Are you wanting white chickens?

    How about these red broilers? It states, "At 9-10 weeks the males should be at 6 lbs and the females should be at 5 lbs."

    http://www.cacklehatchery.com/cornishcrosspage.html#red
     
  4. yogifink

    yogifink Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Don't really care about color. Looking for more of a bird that looks healthy, can forage a bit and has a good taste.


    I would honestly like to hear more stories of what folks like and dislike about the breeds they raise for the table and maybe a bit of back and forth debate as to why they chose to dress that breed.
     
  5. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You said you do not mind a small carcass. Dominiques and Brown Leghorns are both good at foraging. The White Plymouth Rock is a bigger dual-purpose breed that is very popular for meat. This is one of the parents of the Cornish Rock Cross, but White Plymouth Rocks don't have the health issues or lack of foraging skills of the Cornish Rock Cross.

    Do you keep any pullets for eggs? You might think about buying straight run and use the cockerels for meat and the pullets for eggs.
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. yogifink

    yogifink Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, we keep a small laying flock. We have a spit of land just under an acer in a country neighborhood, currently town ordnance does not allow keeping pultry. So we are chicken outlaws, I don't think keeping a cock is a good idea, not that anyone minds us keeping chickens, we buy our feed from the mayors husband, just don't want to give someone a reason to complain.

    With buying the cornish cross, we cull the whole flock at once and they all go to the freezer. It would be nice to take as wanted, starting with the cocks and then the pullets. The bad thing with the cross is that the meat gets tough and looses flavor (I have heard), if you push much part 8 weeks.

    What is your personal favorite breed to raise for self consumption?
     
  7. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, the cockerels would not live long enough to start crowing, so there would be no more risk having cockerels than having pullets.

    I like dual-purpose chickens like Rhode Island Reds, Plymouth Rocks, etc., for the reasons I mentioned. You can use the cockerels for meat and the pullets for eggs, just like family farmers have done for many years. You can also use some of the pullets for meat if you have more than you need for eggs.

    You can also spread out the butchering of the cockerels over a few weeks.

    Cackle Hatchery has a heavy straight run special of 25 chickens that costs about $65, including shipping. I am sure other hatcheries have similar specials.

    Cackle also has a hatchery surprise for $60.95, including shipping. My father ordered this one before. He received about 50 chicks and 3 ducks. You don't get a choice of breeds, but I am sure you will get some that will be good layers. That is about the cheapest I have found. That is just over a $1 a chick, including shipping.
     
  8. Freeholder

    Freeholder Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There are a few of the old breeds that are reputed to have excellent flavor and texture to their meat. I can't speak from personal experience (yet), but among those breeds are the Dorking, Houdan, Faverolles, and La Fleche. (Ok, Faverolles probably aren't all that old a breed, but the others are.)

    Other breeds to try might be Buckeyes, Chanteclers, and Delawares. These were all developed with meat production in mind, as well as eggs.

    I've eaten Barred Rocks, Black Australorps, Buff Orpingtons, and Production Reds. None of them were anything to write home about (all hatchery stock, though). I've got some meaty-looking Golden-laced Wyandottes in the chicken pen right now, and will be culling a couple of the roosters this week, so will see how they are for eating.

    Kathleen
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. yogifink

    yogifink Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am thinking a heritage breed would be more what I am looking for. Something with a good flavor. Just worried about them being too flighty, but I guess I would always enclose a run for them if need be.
     
  10. sandspoultry

    sandspoultry Everybody loves a Turkey

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    We always liked Buff Orpingtons for the leg 1/4's - they are huge. They are pretty good egg layers but slow to fill out. Marans have the best taste and for an all around meat bird we like the dark Cornish.
     

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