Weighing options of meat birds vs. st. run...1st timer??

my first peepers

Songster
11 Years
Jul 9, 2008
244
2
119
South Western VT
Hi, I have my first laying flock of EEs (who have yet to lay but that's another post!) and I would like to get some meat birds in the spring. I would like to get more layers of a heritage/rare breed so I am wondering if getting a straight run and processing the roos would be a good option? I know meat birds grow faster and are um meatier but what other factors should I consider?
 

UncleHoot

Songster
12 Years
May 22, 2007
370
6
141
St. Johns, Michigan
It's a good question that unfortunately gets asked a lot.


The common answer is that heritage breeds grow very slowly, have a low feed converstion ratio (i.e. you'll spend more in feed and get less meat), and have very little breast meat (poor body conformation). The general guideline is also to have them processed at about 16 weeks, right about the same time the first layers start laying.

Having said that, a lot of people do it, but if you really want meat, stick with meat chickens. If you're not a fan of the standard meat chicken, check out the "Colored Range Broilers" from JM Hatchery (http://www.jmhatchery.com/Colored-Range-Chicks-p5.html). They're slower growing and, well, much more appealing in just about every way. In fact, the roosters are so pretty, it's nearly a shame to have them processed.
 

SandraMort

Songster
11 Years
Jul 7, 2008
1,115
2
171
ny
Joel, the guy from JM hatchery, is fabulous to work with. He's been so supportive even though I'm full of questions. The chickens are very pleasant to be around, too. Highly recommend working with them.

They don't hatch the silkies the same day as the rangers, however. You probably will have to ship them separately and make the minimums twice.
 

dangerouschicken

Will Barter For Coffee
12 Years
May 6, 2007
2,407
41
213
Columbia Gorge, OR
You can still eat the EEs and enjoy them. I personally like the flavor of roos over meat birds, but then again, I have not eaten a FR, only CC. The CC have the meat, it's true, but they taste so BLAND compared to a roo that has time to mature and grow. Our EE roos were VERY JUICY and FLAVORFUL, and that is more important to us than a giant bird with little, if no flavor.

That said, the FR are supposed to be an answer to that, how, I'm not sure, but there are many folks here to swear by them. I too may give them a chance next spring, but until then, our family is quite happy to eat our tasty roos
 

moenmitz

Songster
11 Years
Apr 15, 2008
428
0
139
We are raising both Freedom Rangers and several Dual Purpose breeds. Obviously, the FR are the meat champions by far. However, there is definitely a difference in the dual breeds too, as far as filling out in a decent time length. We have noticed a big difference in the Buff Orpington roosters compared to the others. I have not yet eaten one as they are only about 10 weeks, but many people on here vouch for their excellence as a nice, juicy roaster, and I am looking forward to it! The Speckled Sussex also seem to be ahead of the others in the filling out department, though not quite so much as the Orpingtons. I also read that Delawares are a good option....though I would mention those as you mentioned wanting to raise some of the old-fashioned breeds
 
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my first peepers

Songster
11 Years
Jul 9, 2008
244
2
119
South Western VT
A lot of good info...thanks all!
We will not be eating our EEs though, they are pets and for eggs!
Also a friend said I could keep a turkey at her house (we live in a village and not enough space) so I'm excited for next Thanksgiving!
 

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