What would be the most efficient at converting feed to meat?


10 Years
Jul 26, 2009
Coturnix? Chickens? Turkeys?

I'm just curious. I read an interesting interview with a woman named Carol Deppe, who's life work is promoting self-sufficient food production. She claims that the most efficient crops for the very small scale farmer interested in feeding themselves are potatoes, dry corn, dry beans, squash, and eggs:


It got me thinking -- which poultry species would be the most efficient in terms of converting feed to meat? Especially in small spaces or on a small scale?

Somehow, I'm kind of thinking that Coturnix have a lot going for them in this respect -- while individually small, you can fit an awful lot of them in a relatively small space. They lay eggs very quickly, so you can be sort of self-sufficient in hatching them with a good incubator. They don't seem to eat all that much, although they do require more expensive food than chickens (higher protein, so it costs more).

Anyone have any thoughts on this?

PS -- my babies are safe, I'm not contemplating eating them, just an academic exercise at this point.
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11 Years
Jan 6, 2009
Tampa Bay
Most likely Coturnix, they are the most efficient egg producers, you can eat them at six weeks, the only drawback I see is their small size, so processing is labor incentive.

Forget turkeys, it takes forever to grow one and they eat tons of feed. I rather raise guineas they grow fast, easier than Turkeys and their meat is just as good or better than that of turkey. Also free range Guineas find most of their food themselvs, unlike lazy turkeys and some lazy chicken breeds.



In the Brooder
9 Years
Oct 15, 2010
I don't think that you can count those for backyard production, they are far too complex to raise, they are not even a straight hybrid, but need two generations of ancestors to be created. Have a look how this is done here:


Even if you could keep them, it would be very difficult because unless you're precise about growing them and can ensure they don't overeat, you'll end up with a sick bird.


Ps.: Apparently guinea pigs are another turbo meat producer, the Peruvians swear by it.

Buttercup Chillin

11 Years
Oct 27, 2008
SouthEast TX
Missed this, been busy with processing my little self sufficient operation here. That being chickens and ducks. Because rabbits don't lay eggs, otherwise they could also be counted as best for. They are still a good source of meat for being self sufficient though.

I also have the Coturnix, because for me they are easier to process than the chickens and especially the ducks. Now if I could run them around in a little QUAIL Tractor and get them to set their own eggs, then I could count them as being best for self sufficiency. But as long as I have electricity for an incubator, and access to gamebird feed then we are good to go and they are good for SS.

The eggs are the protein you are after for the most part in a self sufficient operation. But eggs for you to eat, not necessarily to sell. Beans, cheese and eggs for protein with meat being secondary and occasional. One veggie, that was not on that list and should have been is onions, better add something green,too. My DH would starve on her veggie list - Diabetic no potatoes or corn.

I feel that either Ducks (not my Muscovies for sure), or Chickens would be the most self sufficient bird. Because they can forage for most of their own food given a chance to free range, provided that you have a breed that does free range, and you have the land for them to do so. Having enough land is very important in a self sufficient scenario. Don't forget water for all, but especially the ducks. If you are limited on water then chickens would be the best choice for SS.

SS does not mean that you are limited to one source of meat though. We have 3, would also have rabbits and a couple of goats if DH would let me. Well maybe not, I have enough to do. Self Sufficient means raising your own meat for protein and veggies and fruit. Grains for yourself and the animals. We don't raise the grains, so we will never be totally SS and that's OK.

Yes, because of my allergies, we are going more and more self sufficient. Didn't mean to, but that is what is happening. Looking into making cheese, lately, and no we won't be getting goats.

I have to make my own salsa now. Opened a can of salsa that I have been buying for more than 30 years and had an allergic reaction. This stinks. I am so disgusted that I have to make more and more from scratch. This was not in the plan.

Sorry, but I just worked real hard for the last week, every day, dealing with the above. I'm not done putting in my winter garden and I still haven't made any bread to the week, etc. etc. My back hurts and I am tired.

Are you sure you want to go Self Sufficient? It's a lot of work.


10 Years
Nov 3, 2009
Grenada, Ms
Unless somebody knows a super-steriodical-method, I (personally) can testify that Bobwhites are not the most profitable gamebird for the gamebird-raising-profit-maker-enthusiast..........at least from what I've experienced........... 20+ weeks to maturity =
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Hooligan Farm

9 Years
Oct 24, 2010
Burlington County, NJ
My goal is to be as SS as possible. Since money is real tight cause I haven't had a full time job since Jan, I felt the urge to seek a different avenue. Now I have 4 ducks, 4 chickens, 5 coturnix and 3 rabbits. I waited to late to start my winter garden or I'd have that going as well. A pair of rabbits can produce 360 lbs of meat a year if you choose to breed that much.

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