What's the best non-chicken meat bird?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Xtina, Nov 2, 2010.

  1. Xtina

    Xtina Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I feel like this should go in the "other fowl" section, but it's broken up by type and I'm interested in all types, so I thought I'd open the topic here in the meat birds section.

    I have a very small backyard and a flock of two chickens that I want to increase to four. I live in the city in Portland, so I can't have a true breeding operation. I've never done meat birds, but I have a shiny new deep freeze and a burning desire to not eat store-bought meat anymore. So I've had the idea in my head for a few years now that I should breed meat birds. The husband wanted to do chickens and just eat the cockerels before they crow and get us into trouble, but I'm kind of partial to the idea of other fowl that don't crow, so that I could have a permanent breeding installation.

    At the pumpkin patch last month, I saw chukar partridges for the first time, and let me tell you, I've never seen a tastier-looking bird! But I've never eaten fowl besides chicken and duck. I honestly did not like duck at all, and I don't like the mess and smell they make, not to mention the need to give them a pool. Ducks seem to take up a lot of room that I don't have. I was thinking of something that could endure confinement in a reasonably sized coop. I dig the idea of quail eggs, but I've never eaten quail, like I mentioned. I'm basically just looking for a rating of the pros and cons for birds like quail, guinea fowl, peafowl, pheasants, and partridges.
     
  2. Smiles-N-Sunshine

    Smiles-N-Sunshine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm partial to Jumbo Brown Coturnix quail, myself. I have just the 5 I got to try them out, but I'm going to expand by quite a bit in spring. They're good for meat and eggs, and have a friendly and quiet disposition.

    And you can scratch guinea fowl and pea fowl off your list if you're looking for quiet birds. [​IMG]
     
  3. KatyTheChickenLady

    KatyTheChickenLady Bird of A Different Feather

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    Like you said ducks are MESSY.
    Guineas, peafowl, and geese make more noise than a rooster ever well.
    You need a pretty specialized setting/cage etc for pheasant it's do-able but they are the most suicidal bird ever and pretty tough for a beginner.
    Chuckar have an interesting flavor, not my favorite but many people love it and they can be raised in cages fairly easy.
    Quail are by far the easiest of the birds you mentioned, they reproduce readily and are VERY tasty.
    Two birds you did not mention:
    1. turkeys; they make little noise, are very personable and one pair can produce upward to 20 chicks a year for you to sell & keep.
    2. pigeons (squab); a great city friendly meat bird, they almost care for themselves and produce $ for # more than any other species that I know of, there is a great thread on here all about them just do a search for pigeon.
     
  4. KatyTheChickenLady

    KatyTheChickenLady Bird of A Different Feather

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    also if you do some reading on this thread you will see mention CX, those are meat birds that are ready to butcher in 8 weeks, long before they even think of crowing. the down side is they do smell, although you could get away with raising them in the winter in Portland, and once you eat them you will not want store bought again.
     
  5. Xtina

    Xtina Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks guys! How big are the coturnix quail? My main reason for not considering turkeys is their size...that's such a big bird for my small space. My mother survived during World War II in Greece by eating pigeons, so I knew they were edible, but I didn't know if they were tasty at all.

    How about getting along with chickens? Do these birds cause problems with chickens? And another thing I didn't even think about, since I was envisioning a coop system, but what about flight? If I get jumbo quail or turkey, and they are too big to coop up, am I going to have to constantly trim their feathers?
     
  6. Xtina

    Xtina Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok, I found an answer to the size of the quail. But one thing I read about them that concerns me is their tolerance, or lack of tolerance for cold and dampness. I live in western Oregon, so cold and damp is pretty much all we have. I swear that 9 months out of the year it doesn't get warmer than 45 degrees and it's damp the whole time.

    I also found out that I can't keep them with my chickens and they'll need their own hutch. That's fine. I also read that everything in their hutch needs to be disinfected daily, which is a LOT more work than I put into my hens, who are fine if they barely ever see me. Is it really that much work keeping these?

    Katy, when you say CX, you mean coturnix, right?
     
  7. treldib

    treldib Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:CX = Cornish X
    which is a breed of chicken [​IMG]
     
  8. Xtina

    Xtina Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh gotcha. I knew what cornish cross are, but you threw me with the acronym!

    I've ruled out chickens for meat birds, because I want to have a productive breeding operation, and I can't have a rooster in the city limits. I think the alternatives to having a rooster are just too much trouble.
     
  9. KatyTheChickenLady

    KatyTheChickenLady Bird of A Different Feather

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    I don't know about quail and dampness, I do know that you do not need to disinfect their cages daily.

    as for turkeys there are the midget whites, and as for pigeons they are really good! ever eat in a chinese restaurant and get those funny little drumsticks with a round ball of meat at the end?

    talk to wooden animal about quail I be he has some pics of his pens he could share
     
  10. Xtina

    Xtina Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks!
     

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