RAISING meat birds??? Buff Rocks?? Some other ?s...

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by wjallen05, Apr 8, 2008.

  1. wjallen05

    wjallen05 Songster

    Apr 8, 2008
    North Georgia
    Okay, I DID do a search before asking this question, because I am sure it is asked ALL the time. But I really wasn't able to find the answer I am looking for.

    I don't want to just buy some chicks, raise them up and then slaughter them. We want to raise meat birds for years to come. I placed an order with McMurray and ordered Buff Rocks- 8 females and 3 males (will only keep 1 male with them, but I ordered 3 just incase) I wanted the Buff Orpingtons as I think they'd be the best choice, but the lady said the wait would be longer and that Buff Rocks are the "next best thing". Is this true? Or would it be in my best interest to go ahead with the Orpingtons?

    And does it really take THAT long for them to be big enough to butcher? (am wondering where we'll house the chicks as they grow big enough....?)

    Also, would anyone mind telling me how many chicks one hen will produce per year?
    As their offspring grows, do you need to seperate the males from the females?

    Sorry... just tired of searching and all this info is overwhelming! Who knew chickens would be so much work?? *laugh* We raise Diary goats... and know nothing about chickens!

    Oh! And I also ordered some Red Stars, Araucanas (though I read elsewhere they are not true Araucanas), and Light Brahmas specifically for egg-laying. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2008
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    Well, as long as you are prepared for meat that is not nearly as big as the store, you're fine with any "dual" purpose bird. It will take 14-16 weeks to reach about 4-5 lbs for rocks, orps, and so on. Some say dorkings are good table birds too. Either way, it will take at least 2x time to reach a good weight, and they will be much leaner and thin breasted compared to 8 week old cornish x's... that will probably weigh more dressed at that 8 weeks than any of the dual birds at 16 weeks. Economically, it costs more to feed and raise these dual purpose birds too. However you can breed them and eat them over time. Do know that older birds will be tougher and "stringier" too so you have to get the balance right or only slow cook the meat.

    The number of chicks per hen will depend on many factors. Theroetically, as many as you have room in your incubator to hatch as you can't rely on hens to do all the work for you as boodyness is bred out of alot of birds.

    By about 16 weeks, you'll need to get the right roo to hen ratio or the roos will fight each other, injure each other, and so on.

    Here are some alt meat bird threads:







    And this one has a pic of how big they will be so you have an idea of what they will look like. Most dual purpose will fill out like that. Take note the birds are 19 weeks old, more than twice as old as a cornish x. To get a 4 lb cornish x dressed would take 6-7 weeks, nearly 1/3 of the time and no fighting either:

  3. wjallen05

    wjallen05 Songster

    Apr 8, 2008
    North Georgia
    Thank you so much for the info!!
    One more question... I was told (by a McMurray person) that I cannot raise Cornish X Rock cross? Can I? Wouldn't that be better? Cornish females X Rock male or visa-versa?
  4. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    If you can get cornish x meat chicks to grow to breeding age... they will not breed true.

    If you buy cornish hens and rock roosters... they will not be nearly as meaty as the cornish x meat chicks.

    The parent strains of the cornish x meat birds hae 40-50 years of selective breeding pressures so that the off spring grow as fast as they do.

    You can experiment with your own crosses like many are, but it won't be like what you can buy with "trade secret" breedings of meat birds.

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