What Meat Bird to Hatch?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Tavis, Feb 24, 2012.

  1. Tavis

    Tavis New Egg

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    May 27, 2011
    Does anybody have some advice for what would be the best breed of chicken to incubate and raise through late spring/summer? I am a college student heading back to work on the farm for summer, and would like to raise some chickens with my nephews. The hope is to start the incubator when I get home mid to late April and have the freezer full by the end of August. I realize that the day-old cornish X are the ideal birds for this project, but I really enjoy incubating birds and was hoping to find another breed that could develop sufficiently over three months or so. In fact, I even looked for any commercial hatcheries located nearby who might be interested in selling cornish x eggs, but I didn't find any promising leads. Any thoughts on this? I just won't be home any later in the fall to dress the birds, so I would need to finish by mid to late August. Thanks so much for any input. Cheers!
     
  2. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    Oct 16, 2010
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    White Plymouth Rocks would be a good choice. Plymouth Rock was one of the industry standards before the Cornish cross. Today's white rocks are even bigger, due to breeders going for size which oddly is a result of poultry showing not meat.
     
  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    I'd agree. White Rocks. They've always been a solid meat bird. If you bought cheap "straight run" day old chicks, you could easily stock your freezer with the 17 week old cockerels and sell or keep the pullets which would be nearing POL. Win Win. The nature of a true dual purpose breed. The WR cockerel cannot compete with the CX in meat, nor will the WR hen compete with the hyper bred commercial layers. But they'll come close enough in both scores.
     
  4. Tavis

    Tavis New Egg

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    May 27, 2011
    Thanks for the advice! I just noticed the ad on the side of the window; what are these "Freedom Rangers"? Are they a particular breed, or a cross like the cornish X? Because the WR are a white chicken, are they also lacking the tiny hairs that the cornish X lacks? (You will notice that aside from incubating a few geese, I am a complete newbie to fowl, haha) Cheers!
     
  5. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    The Red Rangers (different hatcheries call them slightly different things and make slightly different hybrid "blends") are a slower version meat bird. There are a lot of threads here on BYC about them and about people's varying experiences with them. The impetus for this bird was a reaction against the super fast growth, sluggish movement, and leg problems associated with the CX. The hopes were that the Red Ranger would be a better performer on pasture, a better forager and a healthier bird, while providing a quality carcass.

    The Red mottled color is intended to provide some camo for blending in, thus, being less a target for the hawks. The down side of coloration is the pin feathers, of course. The results reported on carcass, feed conversion, cost per pound for production is somewhat mixed in the reviews I've read, and there are plenty of them.

    Like all hybrids, they aren't really sustainable. One has to keep going back to the hatcheries and buy chicks, over and over again.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2012

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