Which birds are best

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by SillyMe, Jan 19, 2008.

  1. SillyMe

    SillyMe In the Brooder

    Jan 16, 2008
    We are ordering birds but dont know which to order.
    Which are good for the meat?

    Mt. Healthy Cornish XRock cross
    Barred plymoth rocks
    Rhoad Island red
    Golden comet
    light Brahmas

    this is new to us and we really want to find a goodmeat bird.
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    The COrnish x rock is the only one in your list that will even look remotely like meat from the store. All the other breeds have been tuned for eggs, even if they are "dual" and will take twice as long to be about half the dressed weight of meat.
  3. SillyMe

    SillyMe In the Brooder

    Jan 16, 2008
    I understand that.
    But I dont want all the birds to grow up at one time. And the Cornish must be killed in 8 weeks or the meat is tuff.
    I want to be self sufficient when it comes to raising meat so I am not worried about grocery store "looking" meat. I just want to have "no cloned" meat.

    I want to be able to sustain myself in meat and eggs.

  4. greyfields

    greyfields Crowing

    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    Like Silkie mentioned, eating dual purpose chickens for meat can be a little weird at first. They won't really look like the meat you are used to and will have a different texture. You may learn to like the taste, but any of those breeds you mentioned could leave a couple of people hungry after eating the whole bird.

    I agree you should be doing Cornish Crosses. Do them in crops, then freeze them. That way you have chicken year round and you don't have to worry about slaughtering everytime you want a bird. With modern vacuum sealing or shrink-wrap bags, freezing doesn't lower the meat quality.

    Your comment about meat "being tough" is really missing the point. It isn't so much to do with the age of the bird as the amount of exercise the animal has had. You could raise very 'tender' meat by confining your meat chickens to small cages. But, is that what we are really doing this for? Not me! Grocery store chicken is 'tender' and 'moist' because it is processed, marianated and saturated with salt water. To me, grocery store stuff is just wet and bland. All of us doing it ourself are eating real chicken, to taste of which our grandparents would have recognized.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2008
  5. FutureChickenMan

    FutureChickenMan Songster

    Oct 29, 2007
    Well in that case, the reds and barred rocks are good choices. If you live in a climate that gets colder, I'd also suggest the speckled sussex.

    If you're not the squimish type, you also might want to learn how to caponize your roo's.

    Another option which I chose was to get (on order) barred rocks and the cornish game. In theory that way I can hatch out my own cornish x rocks.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2008
  6. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    I might have to agree on the Speckled Sussex. I have one pullet. She's a wide load! Hefty girl, my Nelda, and a big eater, too. I can see how that breed is a meat bird first and a layer second. The cockerels I sold were also extremely chunky, even at a young age.
  7. hcammack

    hcammack Crowing

    Oct 5, 2007
    Light brahms are good for meat. the problem with RIR's from a hatchery are that they are totlay geared for egg production if you got true RIR from a breeder they would be good dual purpose birds. Speckled Susex also seem like good meat birds Delawares also might work too.

    Good luck Henry
  8. SillyMe

    SillyMe In the Brooder

    Jan 16, 2008
    So if Cornish are best; should keep one male and 2 female so I can hatch whenever I wish to start a "meat flock"?

    What if the Cornish female mates with another male? Should I keep them separate? Or should I just separate when I want the chicks?

    Sorry I dont know the "chicken lingo" for all these terms;)
  9. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    Chances are IF you get them to egg and breeding age, most will have health problems, they might not be able to mate due to their size, AND their off spring will not be like the parents. It is part of the first generation cross genetics that do not carry on reliably in subsquent generatoins. Might want to look into making your own cross but that will take quite a few generations of work to get a bird with enough meat to eat in the same time frame as the commercial birds which have taken 40 some years to reach what you see in stores now.

    The dual purpose birds, at a eatable size, are a lot tougher than the 8 week old cornish x's because they move more, and have to be older. Age and exercise make meat tougher across the board, and if you did let a cornish x reach 4 months before butcher, it will be almost as tough as a dual purpose of the same age. Usually though, aging in the fridge for 3 days or so in brine will soften them up.
  10. Miltonchix

    Miltonchix Taking a Break

    Jul 14, 2007
    Milton, Florida
    I just butchered 2 White Rock roosters. This was my first experience butchering my own. The meat is fantastic!! Tastes like.........CHICKEN!! The biggest difference I noticed between homegrown and store bought hormone laden birds was the length of the legs and wings. They were a good 35 to 50% longer. Just as meaty, only longer.
    I'm going to try the meat combo from McMurray next.
    I will never go back to store bought chickens. There is just NO comparison.
    BTW they were approx. 16 weeks old and dressed out at approx. 3.5lbs.

    Silkie, I was in Everett a couple weeks ago visiting friends. (Silverlake area) You must be the last one with enough room for chickens in all of Everett. I couldn't believe how much its grown in 10 years. (Lived on Whidbey for 20 years and worked at Paine Field)
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2008

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