Reliable meat birds

nicalandia

Crowing
11 Years
Jul 16, 2009
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Hi I've read a few posts about heritage crosses and I've been wondering about the possibility of a australorp cross being viable for meat (Australorp xcornish broiler crossed with a Cornish x australorp Cornish) or if I would be better off going with a meatier breed to cross (Delaware or Brahma or something) my goal is to get birds that dress out at 3-4 lbs or more by 14-16 weeks while they're still tender.
To be honest it really does not matter what you cross a Cornishx with, the F1 males are guaranteed to reach more than 5 pounds at 10 weeks of age just by FCR hereditability alone(if fed broiler feed), body type will differ for example Dark Cornish x CornishX hens will produce a very wide breast F1, RIR, Red Sexlinks, Black Australorp will produce a lesser build breast at the same weight(bigger drumsticks).

Personally I believe the most sustainable cross will be of Feed Managed(starved) CornishX Males with ISA Brown/Lohman Brown/Hyline Brown/Red Sex link hens. these hens will produce about 300 eggs on a breeding type system, The males Finish at about 6 pounds at 10 weeks and the F1 pullets in turn will produce about 260 eggs per production cycle(shortened to 60 -62 weeks) and if this hens are crossed with CornishX males the outcome will be 3/4 Cornish chicks and will be very close to the real deal
 
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Torinik

In the Brooder
Mar 5, 2020
29
56
43
Personally I believe the most sustainable cross will be of Feed Managed(starved) CornishX Males with ISA Brown/Lohman Brown/Hyline Brown/Red Sex link hens. these hens will produce about 300 eggs on a breeding type system, The males Finish at about 6 pounds at 10 weeks and the F1 pullets in turn will produce about 260 eggs per production cycle(shortened to 60 -62 weeks) and if this hens are crossed with CornishX males the outcome will be 3/4 Cornish chicks and will be very close to the real deal
Can you explain this a bit further?
I have that CornishX with ISA brown mix and indeed the F1 pullets lay a crazy amount of huge eggs (rarely under 70 grams).
The F2 pullets don't seem to be doing so well on first sight, relatively small eggs of +/- 50 grams and only 3 to 4 a week. Although I have 2 coming into laying now that look promising but can only judge that when they've been laying for a while.
Are you saying to keep your system going by crossing the F1 hens back to CornishX males, and have those as your meat-birds?
Or will the F1 hen to CornishX male become the base of your sustainable flock?

One of the reasons I'm doing this, is that it has been very hard at times to get my hands on CornishX or any other meat-chicken.



If its about saving money and costs its just better to order a new batch of CX because they will get them to you cheaper than it costs to produce your own. However if you like Ranger birds (in a general sense not a specific brand sense) they get expensive to order and breeding them might be cheaper.
This is absolutely true. I often miss the days when we could just go to one of the many weekly markets, pick up 10 CX, fatten them, butcher them, go to market, buy some more and do the whole thing over again.
This was definitely the most efficient way, time wise, money wise, feed wise or any other wise. I have often grown them slow by limiting feed and have them hunt their own, to butcher them at 3 months and have a nice reddish carcass with much better texture. There's no chicken in the world that has a better FCR and still ends up meaty with minimal feeding, providing they can go looking for some themselves.
 

Folly's place

Enabler
9 Years
Sep 13, 2011
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southern Michigan
This is the whole story; there's no chicken as efficient at meat production than the Cornishx bird, who as an individual is a pathetic result of breeding with no concern for it's comfort or ability to survive.
Raising birds that can survive and have lives as 'real chickens' will not cost less, either in feed or time spent, but will be sustainable without supporting the Cornishx industry.
The F2 generation of these crosses won't be as uniform, that's how it works. Better to work on existing breeds of meaty chickens, not Cornishx.
Mary
 

nicalandia

Crowing
11 Years
Jul 16, 2009
8,199
3,014
426
Stuck In a Dream
My Coop
Can you explain this a bit further?
I have that CornishX with ISA brown mix and indeed the F1 pullets lay a crazy amount of huge eggs (rarely under 70 grams).
The F2 pullets don't seem to be doing so well on first sight, relatively small eggs of +/- 50 grams and only 3 to 4 a week. Although I have 2 coming into laying now that look promising but can only judge that when they've been laying for a while.
Are you saying to keep your system going by crossing the F1 hens back to CornishX males, and have those as your meat-birds?
Or will the F1 hen to CornishX male become the base of your sustainable flock?
The F1s are good for two things. Males Will reach 6 punds by 10 weeks of age, females are excepcional egg layers That can be used as egg layers for egg consumption or as dames for the Cornishx backcross wich Will give You alot of terminal 3/4 chicks with 60 gram day gains. Forget about F2s due to recombination many Will be poor layers
 

Sweethorizons

In the Brooder
Aug 10, 2020
15
39
33
South Carolina
It not that hard to get a CX female to live until breeding age, very little work to do it. When I do it I start with 3 and usually end with one because they have complications where they just get sick and die. They were meant to live very long so any genetic issues that cause early death are not bred out of them. Males are a different story, they end up being too top heavy to breed correctly.
View attachment 2288785

Not a great picture but just a week after being separated from those in the broiler pen at age 5 weeks (6 weeks in the picture) the CX are climbing on top of a 4 or 5 foot compost pile searching for food. I give them less food than I give my egg layers and make them go looking for feed all day. Since my composts are rich in bugs/worms I now have them ignoring the feeder and staying on the compost pile when I feed them an hour before sun set. This keeps them in good shape and it doesn't take long for them to get this way. Probably best to separate them at 4 weeks instead of 5 but I wanted to add a few things to my compost pile before I started this. At 4 weeks you can tell the males from the females although this year one of the females turned into a late maturing male. I figure I can try to breed him too but doubt I am successful from what I have read.
View attachment 2288802
From the breeding pen about the same time, maybe a few days earlier than the compost pile picture. They are already lazy and sitting by the feeder for when they have the energy to stand up and eat. I actually spend more time adding layers of straw to the meat pen and filling feeders. The Compost Pile foraging CX I just open and shut their coop and give them a little feed an hour before sunset to make sure they have the nutrients they need to survive. Getting the females to breeding age is easy but I Start out with 3 and usually end up with one.

As far as picking out a good sized Heritage Rooster (or even a mutt/hybrid) I use any ol rooster I have but if its important to you to have a good meaty Heritage rooster for the task I suggest Freedom Ranger Hatchery because they have New Hampshires and Delawares they sell as Meat Heritage.

I have one Barred Rock Cockerel who will likely be the first Rooster I use on this years Cornish X females, I also have 8 Straight Run Light Brahmas that will likely produce me a male for this. I am also considering getting a batch of Red Rangers and using a Red Ranger Male because Red Ranger x CX might make some seriously impressive meat birds.

I just want to prove to myself I can be self sustainable... which is impossible because I can't produce enough feed on my tiny lot however if I eliminate the step of needing to mail order meat birds which is a hassle for me being deaf and everyone wearing a mask at the post office.

If its about saving money and costs its just better to order a new batch of CX because they will get them to you cheaper than it costs to produce your own. However if you like Ranger birds (in a general sense not a specific brand sense) they get expensive to order and breeding them might be cheaper.
I was interested in the delawares, but I'm not going to be able to get them until early next year and the freedom rangers have a short time with selling them, do you know any other good places to get good meat lines or should I just wait until later next year when they're back to selling them
 

Compost King

Free Ranging
Apr 19, 2018
3,113
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Salisbury, North Carolina
I was interested in the delawares, but I'm not going to be able to get them until early next year and the freedom rangers have a short time with selling them, do you know any other good places to get good meat lines or should I just wait until later next year when they're back to selling them
Maybe https://www.sandhillpreservation.com/american-breeds these guys have decent heritage Delaware. They are hard to deal with though.
 

Sweethorizons

In the Brooder
Aug 10, 2020
15
39
33
South Carolina
Maybe https://www.sandhillpreservation.com/american-breeds these guys have decent heritage Delaware. They are hard to deal with though.
Alright thank you, I talked to a few people in my house and we decided we're just going to get a small flock of new Hampshire from the freedom rangers hatchery in January or so (15 roughly straight run?)
Would inbreeding be an issue or could I put in hatchery stock in a separate flock to deal with inbreeding with a small hit to size? Not sure how bad inbreeding hits chickens as I've only ever had goats breeding
 

Compost King

Free Ranging
Apr 19, 2018
3,113
10,552
667
Salisbury, North Carolina
I have limited experience with breeding the same breed to itself when making meat birds. I liked crossing breeds for meat birds. From what I have been told inbreeding doesn't get to be too bad of an issue unless you breed sister to brother. If I were to get birds from Freedom Ranger hatchery I would try to coordinate my timing to get Delawares and New Hampshires (which I never can do due to reasons you states before) and cross them. Even take a NH male and put it over Delaware Female and I can sex them at hatch. That would be ideal to me. I would even consider getting some of their versions of Freedom Rangers and cross them with New Hampshires or Delawares. As far as keeping a sustainable pure breed, not something I am interested in with meat birds. I only concern myself with doing pure bred birds when I sell birds. Mutts and hybrids tend to be more productive for meat and eggs, pure bred seem to sell for more money or sell sooner.
 

nicalandia

Crowing
11 Years
Jul 16, 2009
8,199
3,014
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Stuck In a Dream
My Coop
Crosbred birds net You about 10-15% heterosis in just about any meaningful measurable metric. But thats not much when compared to F1s of cornishx with just about any other breed.

For example there was a study on The merit of two way(F1) and three way Cross(F1 crossed to both parents in this case Broiler parents, RIR and BR)

Going by results(Extrapolating using F1 and BC1 results) The RIR and BR Average about 800 grams at 8 weeks of age(on slow growth feed) Broilers attained 3200 grams at the same age, The F1s attained about 1950 grams at the same age.

Now not on The research but if You Cross The RIR with BR The most You could expect from heterosis is a 900 gram F1 Bird at the same age(8 weeks old)




Comparing slow-growing chickens produced by two- and three-way crossings with commercial genotypes. 2. Carcass quality and blood parameters

https://www.european-poultry-scienc...arameters,QUlEPTQyODIyODImTUlEPTE2MTAxNA.html


Interestingly Enough the Lohman Dual(Cross of Red Sex linked Lohman brown hens with Cornishx) F1 is as efficient on Layer feed as the CornishxRIR, CornishxBR cross on the above study reaching about the same wight at 8 weeks of age

https://www.ltz.de/de-wAssets/docs/dual/poultry-news-2-2013.pdf
 
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