Self Sustainable Flock?

Dec 1, 2020
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Hello!
I am relatively new to raising chickens (I've had some for about 10 weeks and bought them when they were around 12 weeks). I have this flock for eggs and can't wait for them to start laying. However, I am now starting to look into having a separate flock of chickens for meat. I love the idea of a self sustainable flock, where the hens go broody and raise chicks until they are the right age to butcher. I was thinking of a chicken tractor out in my pasture, one rooster to fertilize eggs, and a few hens, although I still have a few questions. One, how do I let the chicks eat grower food while keeping the hens on layer? Two, are there any breeds that you might suggest (chickens known to go broody, good mothers, etc.)? Three, has anybody tried this? Does this even work? Anyways, I would greatly appreciate any feedback or tips on a self-sustainable flock of chickens, reproducing and raising chicks on their own. Thank you!
 

3KillerBs

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Have you ever eaten a dual-purpose or heritage chicken?

The skinny carcass of a 4-5 month cockerel with it's stronger flavor and chewier texture is a shock compared to a 6-8 week Cornish X on the dinner table.

The sustainability of a dual-purpose flock is a wonderful idea in theory, but we have to be realistic about what we're getting if we choose to go that route because what we're getting is not meaty, big-breasted, tender birds with efficient feed conversion but skinny, if flavorful, birds that will take a lot more time and feed to raise to the point of putting them on the table. :)
 

black_cat

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Thank you black_cat! By any chance is one of these breeds better for meat than the rest?
Orpingtons are better for meat, but not great. If I were to try this, I think that I'd have barred rock hens, cochin hens, and barred rock roosters. BRs lay very well and get pretty heavy, and cochins are great mothers.
 

black_cat

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Orpingtons are better for meat, but not great. If I were to try this, I think that I'd have barred rock hens, cochin hens, and barred rock roosters. BRs lay very well and get pretty heavy, and cochins are great mothers.
If I was going for just meat I'd use Cornish X birds. Cheap and get huge!
 
Dec 1, 2020
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Western Washington
Have you ever eaten a dual-purpose or heritage chicken?

The skinny carcass of a 4-5 month cockerel with it's stronger flavor and chewier texture is a shock compared to a 6-8 week Cornish X on the dinner table.

The sustainability of a dual-purpose flock is a wonderful idea in theory, but we have to be realistic about what we're getting if we choose to go that route because what we're getting is not meaty, big-breasted, tender birds with efficient feed conversion but skinny, if flavorful, birds that will take a lot more time and feed to raise to the point of putting them on the table. :)
No I haven't. Thank you! I have heard the Cornish X are usually the best way to go. I will make sure to take this into consideration.
 

NatJ

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Two, are there any breeds that you might suggest (chickens known to go broody, good mothers, etc.)?

I had a Dark Cornish hen, bought as a chick from McMurray hatchery, that went broody and raised chicks. I don't know how broody that breed is, because she was the only one I had, but she did a fine job.

Hatchery-quality Dark Cornish are basically dual-purpose chickens (show-quality Cornish would be much meatier, but lay fewer eggs.)
 
Dec 1, 2020
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I had a Dark Cornish hen, bought as a chick from McMurray hatchery, that went broody and raised chicks. I don't know how broody that breed is, because she was the only one I had, but she did a fine job.

Hatchery-quality Dark Cornish are basically dual-purpose chickens (show-quality Cornish would be much meatier, but lay fewer eggs.)
Thank you! I will make sure to take a look at these.
 

3KillerBs

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No I haven't. Thank you! I have heard the Cornish X are usually the best way to go. I will make sure to take this into consideration.

There are also the various "ranger" type of meat birds, which are supposed to be superior for raising in a pastured setup.

I haven't raised dedicated meat birds yet, just harvested my "packing peanuts" when they got old enough to be annoying. :)
 

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