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Want Heritage Chicken 's that are good for meat, help?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Nicholie Olie, Oct 16, 2012.

  1. Nicholie Olie

    Nicholie Olie In the Brooder

    Oct 16, 2012
    I really want chickens i can reproduce myself, i don't want to have to keep rebuying my chickens. It needs to be a hardy breed, i live in Ohio if that helps. Some chickens i thought could be good are: Sussexs, Jersey Giants (yes i know they're VERY slow maturing) and Buff Orpington. Any other ideas? [​IMG]

    Note: Please don't tell me to do CornishX i really don't want any hybrid birds, i've just heard terrible things about them with health/joint issues. Also no Freedom Rangers, seen lots of people state the size of the birds varries too much for my liking. [​IMG]

    Basic Question: How many times do you slaughter? Once for the whole year? Twice? And on average how many do you kill.. I'm just trying to figure out of many chickens i might need... Thanks!!! [​IMG]
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2012

  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Crowing Premium Member

    White Rocks. Always need those on a list such as you are making.
    1 person likes this.
  3. nurse_turtle

    nurse_turtle Songster

    May 28, 2011
    Foothills of NC
    Dual purpose breeds are what you need. I do not raise my birds for meat, but have noticed certain breeds that could make good meat birds at a fairly young age. The Speckled Sussex roosters are huge and the hens would be good for processing as well. Buff Orps are big too. Dominique is a necessity as well.
  4. defenestration

    defenestration In the Brooder

    May 21, 2012
    One breed I haven't seen mentioned is the Delaware; a dual-purpose (formerly broiler cross) quite-rare heritage breed.

    Slow Food USA's Ark of Taste includes the following breeds: Buckeye, Delaware (it notes "rapid growth". Generally, the aim for heritage meat birds is slow growth, so I'm not sure what's going on here), Dominique, Java, the ancestor of the Plymouth Rock and Jersey Giant ("noted for the production of meat during the mid 1800s"), Jersey Giant, New Hampshire, Heritage ("Old-Type") Rhode Island Red ("has an incredibly rich flavor that is most appropriate for (and best released in) stews"), Plymouth Rock, and Wyandotte. The Dorking is also a noted meat bird, as is the Sussex (see this ALBC table).

    As you mentioned heritage chickens, here's the ALBC's definition of "Heritage Chicken":
    1. APA Standard Breed. Heritage Chicken must be from parent and
    grandparent stock of breeds recognized by the American Poultry
    Association (APA) prior to the mid-20th century; whose genetic line
    can be traced back multiple generations; and with traits that meet the
    APA Standard of Perfection guidelines for the breed. Heritage
    Chicken must be produced and sired by an APA Standard breed.
    Heritage eggs must be laid by an APA Standard breed.
    2. Naturally mating. Heritage Chicken must be reproduced and
    genetically maintained through natural mating. Chickens marketed
    as Heritage must be the result of naturally mating pairs of both
    grandparent and parent stock.
    3. Long, productive outdoor lifespan. Heritage Chicken must have
    the genetic ability to live a long, vigorous life and thrive in the rigors of
    pasture-based, outdoor production systems. Breeding hens should be
    productive for 5-7 years and roosters for 3-5 years.
    4. Slow growth rate. Heritage Chicken must have a moderate to slow
    rate of growth, reaching appropriate market weight for the breed in no
    less than 16 weeks. This gives the chicken time to develop strong
    skeletal structure and healthy organs prior to building muscle mass.

    So the goal is a slow-growing, long-lived chicken. The reason heritage meat birds haven't really caught on is that most are unwilling to take the time and effort.

    (And here's an ALBC page on the difference between heritage and industrial meat birds.)

    Just wanted to throw that out there.
  5. Nicholie Olie

    Nicholie Olie In the Brooder

    Oct 16, 2012
    Thanks everyone! This is all super helpful but i still can't seem to pick which i want [​IMG]... But there is something about the Jersey Giants that i keep going back to, maybe they'll be my chicken of choice? Time to do some research! Thanks again!
  6. AinaWGSD

    AinaWGSD Songster

    Apr 2, 2010
    Sullivan, IL
    Is there any reason you couldn't get a few of each and see which one you like best? This is what we are doing. We narrowed our list down to four breeds that I thought would be a good fit for what we were looking for (sussex, orpington, wyandotte, and buckeyes) and we are hatching some of each to compare growth rates, temperaments, and flavor. Whichever one we like best is the breed that we will focus on.
  7. Nicholie Olie

    Nicholie Olie In the Brooder

    Oct 16, 2012
    Thanks AinaWGSD that seems like an excellent idea actually! I was just worried some might be bullied? I never had chickens i raised myself so i had no idea how they'd act. But that's something to look into. I'm really concerned with temperament myself, though.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2012

  8. naillikwj82

    naillikwj82 Songster

    Oct 30, 2011
    Olympic Peninsula, WA
    Your question of: How many? and How often? You need to sit and quantify your families poultry meat needs, weekly, monthly, yearly. Then also your storage capacities (freezer space, canning). Wheather you will be processing yourselves (best economy), or outsourcing. Also growing space concerns. How many servings you will get from a 3 1/2 pound (average) wieght of home grown carcass? These questions may seem daunting, but in fact they are easy to answer. Our breeds of choice Orpington, Delaware, Buckeye, and Cornish. I would avoid Jersey Giant due to the length of time required before processing. Good Luck, Raise your own poultry!
  9. Island Roo

    Island Roo Songster

    Feb 14, 2012
    Duncan, BC
    I've raised Orpington and Brahma. If I had to choose one for meat only - Brahma for sure for size and temperament. Taste is similar.

    I've got some 6 week old columbian rocks that are growing nicely.

    Buckeye is on my to-get list but not many around here.
  10. wyoDreamer

    wyoDreamer Crowing

    Nov 10, 2010
    Living in Ohio and BUCKEYE's aren't on your list - shame on you! [​IMG]

    Buckeye are going to be my choice of chicken to raise, when I get to have chickens that is!
    I like that they are considered dual purpose, good foragers, lay a brown egg, have a pea-comb and are very cold hardy. Other benefits: they lay an average number of eggs, they lay in winter, they may go broody, they are decent sized at 6.5 pounds standard for a hen, they are not white and they are calm friendly birds. White birds will be raptor bait in my area, so that is actually one of their strongest pluses.

    I pulled my Buckeye info from this web-page: http://www.ithaca.edu/staff/jhenderson/chooks/chooks.html
    I have been following the Buckeye Breed page here on BYC also and the breeders seem to confirm what is said about them.

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