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what is the best meat bird u can hatch and raise yourself...

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Patch of Heaven Farm, Nov 21, 2008.

  1. Hi

    I am looking for a meat bird that I can hatch and raise instead of buying broilers from hatcheries. I would like something that can free range well but also grow quickly as possible. I have leghorns now for fryers but they take too much time to get to a good size. I am looking for something that can be processed in about 12 weeks..more or less. If there is an F-1 cross that does well for this that would be great too. I have RIR hens, so if there is something I could cross them with that woud work great. But I am willing to buy a few hens and a roo to have hatching eggs if someone could help me determine what would be the best breed/breeds? Thank you![​IMG]

  2. Mojo Chick'n

    Mojo Chick'n Empress of Chickenville

    Heya -

    I plan on trying some dual purpose for meaties. Orpingtons, Plymouth rocks, and delawares all mature early - and could be ready to butcher at about 4 months old.

    A few have advised doing a mix - such as a orp roo on rock hens, or some such.

    I plan on trying to get a good flock going, so I can hatch out what I need to butcher for a few months, and then hatch out more when it is getting close to needing to restock the freezer.

    I have buff orp eggs in the bator right now, and will pick the best ones that hatch for breeding. Now I just need some delawares and rocks.

    If you check Henderson's Chart it gives what their basic weight will be, early or late maturing, and if they are better layers or dual purpose, etc....


    edited for spelling

    good luck -
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 21, 2008
  3. jackiedon

    jackiedon Songster

    Jun 4, 2007
    Central Arkansas
    A lady on another forum swears by cuckoo marans but I haven't tried it but will this spring. I wonder a cross between orph and maran.

  4. Thanks guys for the info! I thought I could breed cornish x cross and get the same results as the hatchery ones but I learned that you can't breed them,least ways not like the hatchery ones b/c theres more to it than rock x cornish. So now I am looking for something else that may work.
    any way thanks agian I will look at the chart and consider the marans. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2008
  5. shelleyb1969

    shelleyb1969 Star Bright Farm

    I'm going to cross my Delaware roo with White Rock hens next spring. I think that will make a nice meat bird. I should get the nice breast meat from the Delaware, plus the WRs will contribute to the leg/thigh meat.

    For meat, the straight Barred Rocks will not reach optimal size in 14 weeks, and I doubt they would at 16 weeks. I had 3 processed at 14 weeks of age, and it took all 3 breasts to make 1 average size pot of soup. Maybe I fed them wrong...I'm not sure. They were free ranged, and had 24/7 access to grower/finisher beginning at 6 weeks of age. I, personally, would never raise them just for meat. But they're awesome egg layers...top notch!

    Edited to add that my Barred Rocks were excellent foragers, too. Maybe that's where I did wrong...maybe they should've been confined to eating the grower/finisher instead?
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2008
  6. lauralou

    lauralou Songster

    Dec 10, 2007
    Central Virginia
    Yeah, a sustainable flock of meat birds is a great idea. Maybe you could get some Dark Cornish and try to cross them with your RIR hens.

    I haven't done that myself, so I'm certainly no expert! I have thought of it, though. I have one Buff Orp hen who matured much faster than any of the other hens I have. She was a brute, early. I thought that she would make a good cross with a big Dark Cornish roo. Hoping, of course, that the offspring would reach table size early.

    Just a thought, though.

    Other folks swear by the Freedom Rangers. They're not called Freedom Rangers anymore, though, and I forget what they are called now. You might do a search on them and find some good info.

    Good luck, and let us know how it goes.
  7. redhen

    redhen Kiss My Grits... Premium Member

    May 19, 2008
    Western MA
    Hi patch!...[​IMG]..how ya doing?...excellent question!..i was wondering the same thing also!...i think arklady told me something about getting a cornish roo and a female white rock?..i may be mistaken though...i want to try it!..i have a white rock hen already...just need a cornish roo....you know who else will know how to answer your question..greyfields..i think he knows quite a bit on this subject....maybe he will step in to help ya....good luck, Wendy

  8. onthespot

    onthespot Deluxe Dozens

    Mar 29, 2008
    Riverside/Norco, CA
    Someone gave me a cuckoo marans roo, from this year's hatch. I have not paid much mind to him as I am not using him right now, but the other day I had to pick him up for some reason and WOW!!! He has drumsticks like a turkey! I kid you not! I almost processed him on the spot. Then I thought he might make the perfect roo to go with my mixed flock, orp, turken, JG, barred rocks, RIR girls to make some nice mixed breed dual purpose darker laying mutts.
  9. Mojo Chick'n

    Mojo Chick'n Empress of Chickenville

    Quote:Yep, maybe Greyfields will chime in here - I had a thread on a similar subject awhile back, and he had a lot of good info and advice for me.

  10. Mojo Chick'n

    Mojo Chick'n Empress of Chickenville

    Quote:So the delawares have better breasts and the rocks have better legs? good to know.

    I don't know what body type (personally) any of them have, just what I've read or been told. I know I have a barred rock hen, and she isn't all that big in the chest area - she's solid, has some weight to her, but not large.

    I also chose Delawares, Orps and Rocks so I'd have a nice flock to look at - why not have something pretty, too, eh?

    The meatie flock will probably be going into the main coop, which has a run on it. I'll let the parent birds free range, but the (babies) ones for butchering will stay in the run so I can control how much broiler feed they consume. They'll get green snacks, too, but mostly I want the broiler feed going to them.

    I just hatched out a mixed bag of chicks - out of a flock of RIR, white rock, silver laced wyandotte, and what looks like Light Brahmas. Two of the chicks (that are one week old today) are much bigger than the others. One is a rir mixed with something, and the other I believe is a plymouth rock. Not sure if either are roos yet - I'm horrible at sexing so early.

    I do know that Greyfields told me to give them the broiler rations as early as possible (even from birth). He said the growth rate is much higher (MUCH higher) with the broiler ration. These right now are on regular chick starter (18%) simply because I also have some cochins in there. I'll be seperating them later in the week, though, so I can start with the broiler ration then.

    Does anyone know what the body type (larger breasts or larger thighs/legs, or overall even) the Buff Orps have? I can't recall who suggested the orps - but they are pretty, so I figured why not try throwing them into the mix, too [​IMG]


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