What breed [non hybrid] matures fastest - detailed question

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by blackraven, Sep 19, 2014.

  1. blackraven

    blackraven In the Brooder

    Sep 19, 2014
    I am not starting until a bit but if nothing my parents didn't teach me [outside of 2 degrees by age 20] is that it doesn't hurt to plan ahead for whatever you're doing.

    I know that this has been asked a few times looking but I'd prefer my own post as I'd like some narrowing down.

    Doing my own research I found that:

    Cornish - Rock?
    Rhode Island Red

    seem to be relatively fast. They all seem to even out about 20 weeks to 28 weeks.

    Is this true? Any others that stand out?

    Now my question, is, with my previous experiences with animals is there particular "lines" if one would that are fast or is fast maturing a breed standard trait.

    Second question.

    Are these or others suitable for cold / winter climate?

    Third question - experience has taught me, the faster growing, the more food.

    What on average - in pounds or kilograms thanks - in feed would you say you spend per bird during its first 2 years.

    Fourth question

    Are these or others suitable for somewhat long confinement?

    We have being getting a few good storms these last 2 years but they do on average last at most 3 or 4 days - with one a week's length, however, due to the clay ground there are parts that can get rather moist for a day or more.

    Fifth question

    Friendly or non friendly. Do they do well with other breeds or better by themselves?

    Sixth question

    Good for beginner

    Seventh & final

    Is there any breed that maybe more prone to sickness / problems or is it more on the basis of how the animal is raised.

    I know there's guides around but I'd also like some comments from people with experience. Thanks in advance
  2. JoshU

    JoshU Songster

    May 16, 2011
    Ada, Ohio
  3. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Of your list, leghorns are pretty skinny so no matter how old they are, there isn't a lot of meat. They are the ultimate egg laying breed though. From your list, the RIR are the next best layer.

    Cornish/Rocks are a cross for the fastest growing meat bird on the planet.

    Cornish are slow growing as are Cochin,
    Plymouth Rocks and Delaware are fast growing.
    Faverolle, Dominique, Java, Buckeye and RIR are medium in their growth rate.

    Andalusians, New Hampshires and Spanish are fast growing.

    I don't know what your climate is but all of those breeds can handle -10 F or lower. The Leghorn may be the least cold hard of the bunch but I've had them to well below zero with no issues. In general most chicken breeds handle cold much better than heat.

    That depends on the breed and varies greatly. A Leghorn will only eat a quarter of the food a Cochin will. A Cornish/Rock eats a ton of food but grows so fast that it is the most efficient of all at converting food to meat. The Leghorn is the most efficient pure breed at converting feed to eggs.
    To further answer your question, a 20 week old leghorn will eat less than 0.2 pounds a day while one of the larger breeds will eat nearly a half pound a day.

    Those are all adaptable to confinement but all do better on range. The Leghorn is probably better in confinement than other Mediterranean breeds.

    Of all of them, the RIR are best in a single breed flock. The rest are OK in a mixed flock.

    I don't think being a beginner is a problem with any of them. The only issue is if you find quality Javas or Buckeyes (which are rare) and then kill them with a newbie mistake.

    It's basically how they're raised. The more space and ventilation you can provide, the better.
    Egyptian Fayoumi and Penedesenca are fairly bullet proof.
  4. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Crowing

    May 14, 2014
    Obviously hybrids mature the fast, particularly Cornish cross, but the fast maturing standard breed is the Egyptian Fayoumi which typically begins laying at 4 to 41/2 months. However if you concerned with meat, Fayoumis are small birds with little meat on them. As I answer the rest of your questions, I've removed Cornish cross (Cornish rocks) from my answers as they are not only hybrids, but they are exceptionally prone to health problems due to their abnormally fast growth rates.

    1.) I've had most of the breeds on your list over the past 50 years and the fastest maturing one is the White Leghorn. However as ChickenCanoe pointed out, there is not much meat on a Leghorn either. Of the dual-purpose breeds on your list, Delawares are the fastest maturing. I don't know where you read that Cochins mature fast, but it isn't slow. In my experience, they are one of the slower maturing breeds.

    I've ordered from four different hatcheries (multiple times, and multiple breeds from each) and I can't tell any difference in the maturity rate of a particular line or strain of the same breed. It seems to be the specific breed that makes the difference.

    2.) All of the breeds on your list are cold hardy breeds except for Leghorns. One breed not on your list that matures at about the same rate as most of the other dual-purpose breeds on your list is the Black Australorp. I raised them where winter temperatures dropped to 30 F below zero and they did just fine in that cold weather.

    3.) I've not done specific measurements on how much feed per bird each of my breeds, including the ones on your list eat, but I can tell you that Leghorns are the most feed efficient breed on your list. However, once again you're not talking about a lot of meat. It seems to me that most of the dual purpose breeds on your list eat about the same amount of feed per bird with the Cochins being a little heavier eaters than the others.

    4.) The best breeds on your list for long confinement are the Cochins and Faverolles. Other breeds that I've personally had that handle confinement really well are Australorps, Orpingtons, Brahmas, and Sussex.

    5.) The breeds that handle confinement best are also typically the friendliest, calmest, and gentlest breeds. Again the friendliest, calmest, and gentlest breeds on your list are Cochins and Faverolles. Other breeds that I've had that are also very friendly, calm, and gentle are Australorps, Orpingtons, Brahmas, and Sussex. My children, and now my granddaughter have made lap pets of all of these. All of these breeds and most of the others on your list will mix well with other breeds. The poorest ones in this regard on your list are Leghorns, which are high strung and flighty, and Rhode Island Reds, which are sometimes aggressive (especially the roosters).

    6.) Again, the best breeds for beginners are the breeds that are typically friendly and gentle (Cochins and Faverolles from your list, Australorps, Orpingtons, Brahmas, and Sussex). Leghorns are not good birds for beginners because they are so high strung and flighty. Mine screamed bloody murder whenever I handled them.

    7.) In my experience, as long as they are well cared for, none of the breeds on your list are prone to sickness or health problems. In addition to those breeds on your list, I have found Australorps to be exceptionally hardy birds.

    Hope this helps. Good luck.
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    brandyjiang Hatching

    Sep 20, 2014
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