I've been considering ways to go about raising meat birds. We are planning on breeding Buff Orpingtons. We are chicken novices, and are having trouble managing our more athletic leghorn crosses and our rammy Dom/Rhode Island Red cross rooster. So we picked the BO based on the average personality and usefulness as a dual purpose breed.I was thinking about breeding enough to have a chicken a week for dinner and have laying/breeding stock that we keep year round. I am considering two different methods of raising them. I was considering raising all the birds we'll need for the year in one/two hatchings in the spring/summer and slaughtering any that don't make the laying/breeding flock cut when they reach 6 months old. Or, I could raise the chicks in 4-5 batches starting the hatchings in Jan/Feb and raise them a month a part and take turns slaughtering when they reach 6 months in turn. I'm thinking for a small operation (I'm really the only person who even remotely wants to do the slaughter/evisceration, though I can get help with the plucking) hatching the birds in batches of 1 dozen at a time has the advantage of being able to better assess individuals for suitability for the laying/breeding flock (getting the birds used to being handled) and spread out the load as far as slaughtering for the birds we aren't keeping. But doing it this way means we would have to spend more money on feed since we will have to be raising them before summer and after summer is over. How do you go about raising your birds for meat? We want to have a sustainable dual purpose flock so we are not dependent on cornish cross chicks from a hatchery for our meat birds every year.