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What breed is best for meat chickens?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by my3jsons, Jun 17, 2012.

  1. my3jsons

    my3jsons Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 15, 2010
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    We already raise our own beef, pork, and lamb so I guess it's time to venture into meat chickens too.
    What breed do you feel makes the best meat chickens?
    Is there a breed that is grows more naturally (but still quickly) than the Cornish X?
    Males or female - any difference in raising or butchering?
    Thanks!!!
     
  2. mstricer

    mstricer Overrun With Chickens

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    You can get freedom rangers and pasture them with your other animals and if you grain your other animals, you won't have to feed as much. They will go around eating the grain the the others leave around. The will be around 8 to 9 lbs ( sometimes bigger) in 12 weeks.
     
  3. BettyR

    BettyR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have read that the New Hampshire Reds were the meat bird of choice before the Cornish X came along. They were considered the best dual purpose breed of the day.

    If you are looking for a dual purpose bird I would say the New Hampshire Red would still be your best choice but if you are looking for just a meat bird you are not going to find a chicken that will turn your feed into meat better than a Cornish X.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2012
  4. my3jsons

    my3jsons Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh well, I have 18 New Hampshire Reds out there laying eggs now. Maybe I should test out one of them as a meat bird.
    I really wondering though if Cornish X or Freedom Rangers would be best. Anyone have experience with either or both?
     
  5. mstricer

    mstricer Overrun With Chickens

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    I have raised both. The freedom rangers range more, but you have to keep them 5 or more weeks longer. So you are cleaning and feeding them longer. The CX's can be slaughter anywhere from 5 to 9 weeks. They can be shown to free range, mine do. I start them early like at 2 weeks they go outside. I leave them in their tractor for a couple days, then open door, so they can come out and they do. They act like normal birds at this age. I then start to move their food and water out of the tractor so they have to go get it. I move it about 25 ft from their tractor. They are actually more active then one might think. I don't change their feed either. They start on Purina Start and Grow and they finish on it, @ 18% protein. Slaughter weight is anywhere between 5 to 9 lbs. I did lose some last year, but the temps were close to the 100's and even in the shade and me watering the dirt, to make it cooler. The chose is a personal one. I choose CX's, because of the grow time. After 6 weeks I'm done with the stinky poop.
     
  6. BettyR

    BettyR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have New Hampshire Reds for both meat and eggs. We live on the southern edge of the Big Thicket Wildlife Preserve in east Texas. My chickens free range...I can't afford to feed the adults enough of that expensive feed to keep them in an enclosed area so as you can imagine we loose some of them to predators.

    I set a batch of eggs in the incubator about 3 times a year....they spend about 2 months in the brooder then join the rest of the flock. I keep the brooder in the chicken house so the older birds see the new babies when they come to lay and roost. That way when it is time for the new babies to join the older birds they are already used to them and there are no problems with the older birds picking on the younger ones.

    We keep the hens and eat the roos. I color band the hen's legs with plastic leg bands...a color representing hatch date so I always know which of the hens is the oldest. When the hens are between 2 and 3 years old they start migrating into the pot as well. They make great soups and stews....such rich broth!!!! My grandmother always said that an old hen makes the best gumbo and that is so true.

    I keep between 40 and 50 layers at a time, that's not including the roos that are going to make it into the freezer. And yes we do sell the eggs, I get $3.00 a dozen for my eggs. I make around $100.00 a month selling eggs and spend about the same amount on feed. So I am basically getting my eggs and meat for free.
     
    2 people like this.
  7. WinklerFarms

    WinklerFarms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The bird of choice befor the cx was delawares. They were raised by the thousands by Perdue farm before the cx came along. They grow faster than most other breeds (including NH reds) and are white so the finished product is more visually appealing.
     
  8. IslandChiks

    IslandChiks Out Of The Brooder

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    I was thinking Delaware too for meat. I am afraid I will love them too much to eat [​IMG]
     
  9. mskitn

    mskitn Out Of The Brooder

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    What do you feed your chickens? Do you have to feed the meat birds and the laying hens separately? Also, How does you color coding systems work?
     
  10. ErinEliz

    ErinEliz Out Of The Brooder

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    What is the difference in taste of the male and female Cornish x? I have read some places that you need to caponize the males in order to produce tender meat, is this true? Just ordered 15 female Cornish cross, this is my first time doing meat birds. I'm just trying to gather information for next year :)
     

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