Raising dual-purpose breeds

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Uzuri, Jan 26, 2010.

  1. Uzuri

    Uzuri Songster

    Mar 25, 2009
    So a friend of mine and I are going to raise heritage breeds out for meat (and some for replacement layers). There's a good reason for this (because we *want* to [​IMG] ), so don't try to talk us into modern meat breeds, we're aware of the arguments for them [​IMG]

    Anyway, with that out of the way [​IMG] I want to confirm that about 18 weeks is indeed the time to butcher heritage breeds. We haven't quite decided which they'll be, though my friend wants Buckeyes, and there will be some Wyandottes in the mix, likely.

  2. TimG

    TimG Songster

    Jul 23, 2008
    Depends upon the breed, the strain of the breed, and how big you want your birds to be. Probably other factors as well. I don't think 6 months is uncommon.
  3. City Gardener

    City Gardener In the Brooder

    Mar 22, 2009
    I am interested in doing this as well.

    Will you slaughter them all, or keep some for egg-laying?

    I was thinking of processing the roos at 6 months or so, and keeping the hens for eggs, and then eventually eating the hens, as stewing chickens.

    When I was a kid we did this, with RIR's, Barred Plymouth Rocks and it must have a white leghorn, some kind of all-white chicken.
  4. jenjscott

    jenjscott Mosquito Beach Poultry

    May 24, 2008
    Southeast Arkansas
    18 weeks is good if you raise them on high protein feed, like 28 ro 30 percent in order to get good early growth on them. They will get bigger after that, but their growth really slows down at that point, so food conversion ratio really goes down.

    Thirty first 8 weeks at least, then 21 percent at least.
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2010
  5. Uzuri

    Uzuri Songster

    Mar 25, 2009
    Quote:The idea is to keep the ones that seem to be the best types for eggs, yup. See, the two of us really only wanted 5 layers between us, and it is, of course, difficult to order in that small of an amount as well as risky (and often expensive). She has this big tree farm and tries to do things traditionally wherever possible (very big in to local, native, and heritage strains of stock and plants), so she thought of getting straight run of what she wanted and raising the culls for meat on pasture. I got into the act because there's just her and her husband and they don't go through that much chicken, so she still wasn't going to need 25.


    OK, so it sounds like 18 would be the absolute minimum, and only happen if I gave them heavy protein early on. I'm going to have to look into how that will affect the ones we want to keep as layers; maybe we'll need to set a couple of the more feminine-looking peeps aside for a lower-protein diet. Thanks!
  6. TimG

    TimG Songster

    Jul 23, 2008
    If you only want a few layers, you should be able to purchase them at your local feed store in the spring. I'd be surprised if their minimum order were bigger than 6, and even more surprised if one of them didn't sell singles after people have picked up their orders.

    Craigslist is also a good source for pullets. Or, try a local chicken swap.

    I don't mean to discourage you from raising a straight run of dual purpose birds, but if the reason you are doing it is so that someone can have five layers, you are going to a lot more effort than is necessary.

  7. Uzuri

    Uzuri Songster

    Mar 25, 2009
    Not if you actually want healthy birds and to get what breeds you want. I don't trust my local feed stores and neither of us want to deal with the possible nightmare scenario of introducing unknown adult birds from outside sources.

    This is kind of just a fun experiment, too, and an excuse to learn how to cull and process for when the time comes for the laying flocks.

  8. Eagle2026

    Eagle2026 HIGH FLYER

    Mar 10, 2009
    Snohomish, WA.
    I would have to say that if you have access to Black Copper Marans that would be a good dual purpose breed.
    With the hens that lay the Mahogany colored egg and the roos get big!
  9. srsmith69

    srsmith69 Songster

    Aug 25, 2009
    You asked about what age to process the roosters. That depends on what you want of them. I found the article in this link to be informative and helpful related to cooking heritage breed chickens rather than Meaties. See if it helps www.albc-usa.org/documents/cookingwheritagechicken.pdf
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2010
  10. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp Songster

    Mar 25, 2009
    South Alabama

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