What are your favorite meat birds??

U_Stormcrow

Free Ranging
Jun 7, 2020
5,187
15,617
606
North FL Panhandle Region / Wiregrass
I never thought of it that way! I just assumed it was so people didn't get upset in your thread when you culled
Nope. Closest I get to "breeding" is choosing not to incubate my smallest, and darkest shell eggs, when I have the choice - and really, that's just culling early, since they end up as either breakfast (as eggs), lunch (as sandwich bread), or dinner (as pasta).
 

Stephanie8806

Songster
Feb 18, 2019
495
624
191
Central Washington State
Cornish X might be best for you then, since they won't be lasting most than 2-3 months.

You could also just keep larger birds in the layer flock and separate birds as growouts for the meat pen. Then you know they're eating all they want for the best growth. That's kinda what I do sometimes

Well that’s generally what we do with our layers. We are trying lots of different breeds to determine what are going to be staples in the long run.

as for meat birds, yes we have cold and harsh winters, but the temps aren’t so bad as early as April or as late as late October. That still gives us a 6 month window for raising meat. We’ll likely start the meat pen with waves of the “usual” breeds… CX first, Rangers next, etc. It will be fun to try out lots and just see what we like and what works best for us!

We currently have 21 in the egg pen(3 are Roos 😬 so we’ll be culling two going into winter), but we are currently looking to maintain 18-20 birds through summer and 12 through winter. The meat pen will be built to accommodate 18-24 birds. And That number will go down to 12-18, down the road when we start raising a few turkeys for meat. Doing the math, I think that’s what will be good for our family, with the wild game we get, as well as the pork and beef we buy from our local rancher.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
28,306
23,651
907
Southeast Louisiana
As for our meat birds, we’d generally like to just raise and butcher them in a single season and not breed. Buy chicks in Spring, raise, butcher in summer-Fall ....... That still gives us a 6 month window for raising meat. We’ll likely start the meat pen with waves of the “usual” breeds… CX first, Rangers next, etc. It will be fun to try out lots and just see what we like and what works best for us!
This sounds like a good plan. Cornish X are not a Spring until Fall project, just a couple of months unless you raise different batches. Rangers maybe 3 months. Dual purpose ae a spring until fall project. I'm all in favor of trying them and seeing what works for you. We are each different. You being off the grid might add some twists to it. For instance, somebody mentioned freezer space. When it's time to butcher Cornish X it's time. You can wait on the others some. Will you have freezer space available? Or maybe pressure can the meat? Details like that can get you.

I'm looking forward to reading about your journey. See what works for you and what doesn't. It sounds like you have a good attitude about it.
 

Stephanie8806

Songster
Feb 18, 2019
495
624
191
Central Washington State
This sounds like a good plan. Cornish X are not a Spring until Fall project, just a couple of months unless you raise different batches. Rangers maybe 3 months. Dual purpose ae a spring until fall project. I'm all in favor of trying them and seeing what works for you. We are each different. You being off the grid might add some twists to it. For instance, somebody mentioned freezer space. When it's time to butcher Cornish X it's time. You can wait on the others some. Will you have freezer space available? Or maybe pressure can the meat? Details like that can get you.

I'm looking forward to reading about your journey. See what works for you and what doesn't. It sounds like you have a good attitude about it.

Thank you! We are not entirely off grid. Our house has sufficient electricity and we have a standing freezer as well as a large chest freezer. So storage isn’t an issue. All of of our outbuildings are off grid though, both for electric and water. It is our hope to run power up there in the next few years, but we will see.

My hope in doing a fast growing breed like the CX or Ranger is that it gives the meat bird enclosure sufficient time to rest between batches each year. The ground will be several inches of dirt(underlaid with hardware cloth or chicken wire for predators, and it is my hope that I can re-seed the grass every year and have new growth.
 

JacinLarkwell

Crossing the Road
Mar 19, 2020
17,132
41,068
951
South-Eastern Montana
Weighed 3 birds, scale started acting up so I could weigh my Pride and joy, Big Boy, but I got the NN cockerel, a (probably the smallest of the 3 males I had left) mosaic cockerel and my Bresse cockerel Glenn
https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/2021-chick-order.1448090/

The bresse lay nice eggs for candling, and supposedly there are other feather colors too, not just white
20210929_101839.jpg
 

JacinLarkwell

Crossing the Road
Mar 19, 2020
17,132
41,068
951
South-Eastern Montana
Weighed 3 birds, scale started acting up so I could weigh my Pride and joy, Big Boy, but I got the NN cockerel, a (probably the smallest of the 3 males I had left) mosaic cockerel and my Bresse cockerel Glenn
https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/2021-chick-order.1448090/

The bresse lay nice eggs for candling, and supposedly there are other feather colors too, not just white
View attachment 2850301
Also these weights were before they atebreakfast, so they're about as accurate as I could get
 

rascal66

Crowing
6 Years
Sep 10, 2015
1,003
1,444
307
Washington
The Cornish cross have been the easiest to raise and with great results. With our set-up, we free range them as well, and the flavor has been awesome. These are hands down the fastest growing meat birds around. Get them grown out anywhere between 8 - 12 weeks. We normally do 12 weeks for a much larger carcass.
(Side note: it really depends how you raise these birds. I still have some left over running around and laying a few random eggs. They're approaching 7 months already. I haven't had any just drop and die or anything around this age. Guess we will see how long they last)

We tried freedom rangers for the first time this year. They grow slower than your Cornish X but because of that, you are definitely feeding them a lot more. Wasn't happy with how slowly they grew, but was still satisfied with how they dressed out. Heavy birds for sure, but mostly heavy by the time they're 16 weeks or so. I still have some hens and they started laying eggs. Oddly, they aren't terrible layers! 😂 they are also free ranged. Also have great taste.

Any other breeds just dont grow fast enough for the amount we feed them. However, they do give you the more "rustic" chicken flavor by the time they're about 6 months old.
 

Jenessa_096

Crowing
Jul 14, 2021
1,310
2,789
286
Molalla, Oregon
My favorite meat bird is the one I hatched, raised, butchered, aged, and prepared for table.

They could be better, thus, I have a culling project. Started with hatchery quality birds - whatever I could get from the farm store at the start of the Pandemic last year. Selectively butchering my way towards an improved mutt, eventually to be christened a "clay ranger".
It does feel good to know where your meat came from! 😀
 

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