What breed to start with-Sustainable meat bird flock

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by sgoff, Jul 4, 2011.

  1. sgoff

    sgoff Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 12, 2011
    Ruston, Louisiana
    I am researching what meat breed to start with. I have layers now- barred rocks and production reds, but want to add some meat birds. I want meat birds that I can establish as a flock and eat from on an ongoing basis. So--- I need a breed that will reproduce true (not a hybrid I assume) with good mothers and roosters who are not mean. Must produce a nice plump carcass without the broken leg/short life cycle of the cornish X. Also must have an activity level above a coop potato so they will forage. All you meat bird experts out there..give me some ideas?
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  2. al6517

    al6517 Real Men can Cook

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    For good all round true dual purpose bird I prefer the Plymouth White Rocks. They do grow very well and fairly quickly, they are docile and forage well, they lay big egg's almost everyday and they dress out very well at almost any adult age. WTS you may not get the meat yields you are hoping for if you buy hatchery stock, hatchery stock tends to be more on the scrawney side as adults. If you can get a hold of some good other than hatchery stock you will have a great renewable source of egg's and good meat. I raise and have been involved in many different meat bird "Pojects" and have found good quality WR's make great foundation birds.
     
  3. jdopler

    jdopler Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 14, 2010
    Roggen, Colorado
    I keep hearing Barred Rocks make a great meat bird. They are a true dual purpose breed, so you have a great start at it already.
    But it also depends on whether you want meat in 7-9 weeks or want the flavor that develops over 16-20 weeks. If the shorter time is what you want it seems people like the freedom rangers or colored broilers that hatcheries sell. If you can wait 4-5 months then get a good BR roo and hatch some of your own! Good luck.
     
  4. sgoff

    sgoff Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 12, 2011
    Ruston, Louisiana
    Al5617- Do you know of a source for foundation stock WR in north Louisiana (I am in north central-Ruston)? Seems like the shipping charges are what a kills you on buying chicks...

    jdopler- I have heard that the barred rocks are ok meat birds also. My barred rocks are heavier than the production reds. I do want the taste from the slower growing birds. I looked into Freedom Rangers and might still get some just to put in the freezer, but I understand that they do not breed true- which is one of my goals.

    I don't want to keep buying chicks, rather raise them from my existing flock and add a few new pullets and a new rooster on occasion. I still want that nice plump bird, tho.. After all the work, I'd really like a bird my family is not disappointed in on the table (we are a family of BIG cooks-so I can't fool 'em very easy with a scrawny chicken....). I also don't want to slaughter 50 chickens at a time. I'd rather do 5, eat them, then do 5 or 10 more.... Like my grandmother did. Her chicken was always fabulous but I don't recall what breeds she was raising. (we're talking in the 1960s)
     
  5. jdopler

    jdopler Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 14, 2010
    Roggen, Colorado
    I understand that! Its the same way I feel. Unfortunately we have gotten so used to the Cornish cross sized carcass that anything else looks scrawny and like a waste of time. I am trying to change my mind set on that issue.
    Just hatched out about 20 eggs from my mixed flock and all the extra cockerels will be dinner. Seems like over the next few years I will do some selective breeding and culling to get where I want to be with "home grown" meat birds.
     
  6. al6517

    al6517 Real Men can Cook

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    Quote:What you are describing in your needs for your flock are true heritage breeds, now !! many breeds are considered heritage but since the hatcheries got a hold of them and changed their breeding true heritage are hard to come by. For that reason you have to seek out a good breeder of WR's to insure a good line and save yourself all the hassle of not getting what you have been hoping for. Your looking for the birds your Grandma had, Hatcheries don't have those period..... and if you listen to the hatchery cult your wasting your time.

    Look for a thread named large fowl heritage breeds or heritage large fowl or something like that, I will try and find it later for you. Anyway that thread is where true heritage breeders go to visit and discuss and trade and sell their birds. there are plenty of good contacts there and the OP is a renowned WR breeder and can certainly point you in the right direction for your area. The thread is a great source of info for exactly what your wanting to do, Hatchery folks don't go there cause they don't fit in LOL. You need not worry about cost as we are not talking about alot of $$ per bird.

    Here is a look at my Hertiage SQ WR's.

    AL


    3' tall WR rooster.
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    good meaty hen's that are thrifty and very tolerant of any conditions.
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  7. al6517

    al6517 Real Men can Cook

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    Quote:Yes your statement is true, the most important thing in acheiving those goals is starting with good stuff, it saves a ton of cash and disappointment over the long haul. Heritage breeds of good quality are a pleasure to have and care for.
     
  8. jdopler

    jdopler Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Roggen, Colorado
    Al- your birds are gorgeous!
    Most of my flock are feed store birds, not good heritage birds, but great for eggs which was what I wanted a year ago when I began my chicken adventure.. LOL
    Due to chicken math, and their wonderful personalities, I now have about 63 birds ranging from hatchery stock, home-grown mutts, silkies, and heritage welsummer and ameraucana from Whitmore. Eventually I will whittle down to just the best. But I don't know if I will ever have just one breed of heritage bird, I just love the variety of color and sizes of birds and eggs!
    This site has been very instrumental and informative over the past year. And I hope to keep learning from the many experienced "chicken people" on BYC.
    *incidentally.. my years of wanting chickens influenced my mom, who got her first girls about a year before me. We are learning much from each other as well, albeit across the US as she is in SC and I'm in Co.

    Happy 4th of July!!
     
  9. al6517

    al6517 Real Men can Cook

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    Yeah you gotta have more than one breed LOL, and it's very common to change your plans for your flock as you learn and grow your hobby, we all do LOL, shooooot that's the fun part. Playing around with hatching mutts and goofing off that way is a blast, heck I did it years ago. Once the fun and excitment is gone what good is it hehehehehe, so go for whatever tickles yer fancy, you can do it all.
     
  10. al6517

    al6517 Real Men can Cook

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