Quality of meat birds: a report

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by nic8407, Nov 25, 2009.

  1. nic8407

    nic8407 Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 25, 2009
    Foothills of central CA
    Just thought I'd comment for others sake about my first time meat bird experience. This past June I bought 15 R.I.R. chicks (all female) to raise primarily for meat birds knowing I'd keep at least 3-4 as layers. I wanted to try something else besides Cornish X. It didn't turn out so well. No problems with the birds health or anything, I kept them until they were about 5 mo. old (just trying to fatten them up a bit!). I fed them all 21% feed the whole time, but they never got very big so I slaughtered them anyway. They averaged about 2 1/2 to 3 lbs. each. Not much meat on those bones. I also found the meat to be a little tougher than I'm used to and a pretty strong flavor comparatively speaking, not "gamey" but strong. I haven't gone through the trouble to figure the cost to weight ratio or anything, but considering my time & effort, cost of feed, risk of loss, cost to store (freeze) I don't feel it was worth it. Of course the alternative would be to raise Cornish X instead, a whole different story I realize. But around here (central CA) I can buy those for $.77-.99 cents a pound pretty reliably on sale. Unless that scenario changes, I think I'll just stick to layers. Any feedback is welcome. Tim in CA
  2. protodon

    protodon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 3, 2009
    You might have been better off getting the majority as males rather than females. They tend to grow faster and bigger. Also weighting an extra month might have helped. Sometimes an extra month makes a huge difference.
  3. halo

    halo Got The Blues

    Nov 22, 2007
    My Coop
    RIRs would not be my first choice, I dont think, if I were to raise meat birds other than Cornish X. Breeds that grow quicker, bigger, and broader than RIRs, I think, would be perhaps Delawares, even Marans. Im very impressed with the Marans that Ive grown out; the males are really big and chesty at a fairly young age. The pictures Ive seen here of Delawares make me think they would make a good choice for a meat bird, too.
  4. willheveland

    willheveland Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 29, 2008
    southern tier,NY
    If your really looking for meat you have to get a meat breed. Yes,males are almost always bigger in any animal other than fish. But still not going to make that much difference like it would comparing breeds.You just can't expect alot from the so called Dual Purpose. Our grandparents and great grandparents used them only because that's what was available at that time,but now we have so much more to choose from. I hope if this was your first time you are not disappointed to the point of not trying something else. I've read alot of posts where people try raising their own meat for their first time but get discouraged because it wasn't what they'd thought it would be. I hope you keep trying. good luck Will
  5. PatS

    PatS Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 28, 2009
    Northern Califonia
    After tasting how good our spare BO rooster was, I'd also like to try raising a few meat birds next year. For taste, the 5 mo. old BO was excellent, but he was very small breasted. I don't really like the idea of going with a bird like the Cornish X, that has been bred to grow so fast that they have heart and leg problems.

    So we have a vote for the Delaware and the Maran. What are other good meat birds? How about the plain old, non-crossed Cornish?

    Oh -- Is it too much to ask that whatever bird I choose can free-range along with my BO's and be relatively non-neurotic?
  6. Buster52

    Buster52 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 28, 2009
    Geronimo Oklahoma
    I don't raise my own birds for meat to save money. I do it because I just can't support an industrial agriculture system that treats animals like machines, and to be more ecologically responsible.

    And because my birds taste better than what can be purchased in the store.

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