Which breed to cross with Sussex?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by ringholm, Nov 3, 2015.

  1. ringholm

    ringholm Out Of The Brooder

    17
    6
    24
    Dec 15, 2014
    Denmark
    I am looking to rearrange my flock, so instead of only having Silvergrey Sussex, I want two breeds (4 Sussex + 3???).
    I will still keep my Sussex ladies and rooster, but I would like to hatch more chicks for the sake of the meat.
    The idea is to cross two breeds and thus achieve heterosis in the chickens (faster growing and more meat).
    So I have read a lot about various breeds, which I am considering for my household. Ideally they would also lay decently.

    What are good suggestions? Faverolles? R.I.R.? Wyandotte? Houdan? (not a good layer, but I read that it doesn't eat a lot)
    Orloff?

    Thanks :)
     
  2. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    6,034
    832
    336
    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    Cornish. That's a classic cross for quality meat bird Cornish/Sussex. You'd only need a male but the problem is they don't like other males. If you kept a separate small flock of Cornish then it could be perpetual. Keep the Sussex going, keep the Cornish going and now and then cross them for meat birds. Cornish lay 150-180 eggs per year.
     
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    31,452
    3,536
    538
    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I agree a dark Cornish may be a good cross, and if you used a DC rooster over your light Sussex hens you'd have a sex link cross, if that appeals to you. On the other hand, if you just added some DC hens, they'd likely go broody and raise chicks for you.

    I haven't butchered any Faverolles yet, but they're a heftier bird than they look. And I've had good luck with Wyandotte crosses for meat in the past.

    All my birds are hatchery stock, fyi.
     
  4. ringholm

    ringholm Out Of The Brooder

    17
    6
    24
    Dec 15, 2014
    Denmark
    Thanks for the replies so far.
    Interesting, I have actually read about Indian Game in the past, for crosses.
    I would very much like to keep my Sussex rooster, since I migh want to start breeding or show :)
    Is it common to buy from hatcheries in the US? In Denmark we more or less rely on backyard breeders, and thus I think it is not that easy to find Cornish :)
     
  5. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    6,034
    832
    336
    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    Actually if I were to do a project for meat birds I'd get Cornish from a breeder. That is hard to obtain but far superior in size and type than easy to obtain hatchery birds. But then my attitude in breeding livestock and getting the best quality you can obtain at the time is not the majority mindset. I'm sure if you looked around you'll find one of the varieties of Cornish (Indian Game) as they were developed in Britain just like your Sussex. Why it's a classic cross for purpose of table birds. Tried and tested with satisfaction in England.

    You'd still have a Sussex flock and a Cornish flock in separate pen. Then you switch breeding cocks, wait a few weeks to ensure it's that new cock birds eggs before starting to collect for hatching your batch of meat birds.


    By this google searched website I had it wrong. The cornish sussex cross over light sussex is the traditional mix. Seems Wyandote was/is a popular cross with sussex.

    https://poultrykeeper.com/chicken-breeds/hybrid/table-poultry/


    Read on another webpage that Sussex Star (must be sold that way) are a good dual purpose bird. It's a Sussex X Rhode Island Red.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/...ith-these-breeds-to-get-a-better-meat-bird/10
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2015
  6. brummie

    brummie Chillin' With My Peeps

    175
    4
    73
    Aug 30, 2013
    For eggs and meat, you can't beat rir x sussex or bresse x sussex.

    If u were to use sussex as the male line you will give better meat birds but they'll lay a bit less.

    For meat alone you probably can't beat sussex x Cornish. The only reason the traditional cross is with the Cornish as the male line is because Cornish don't lay many eggs so enough hatching eggs may sometimes be an issue and also because it is sex linked. But I think you would actually get a slightly better meat bird if the sussex was the male line.

    Other awesome crosses for meat birds that also lay well are

    Sussex cross Dorking(may be even better than the Cornish x sussex)

    Sussex x wyandotte
    Sussex x Plymouth rock
    Sussex x ixworth
    Sussex x Australorp

    All the above will work, but more important than the breed is to have a good strain of whichever breed you go for.
     
  7. brummie

    brummie Chillin' With My Peeps

    175
    4
    73
    Aug 30, 2013
    I thought I'd add, my current Cornish x light sussex are 7lb live weight at 20 weeks. I'm hoping to get better weights as strains improve. But this year I'm keeping back the best Cornish x sussex rooster to mate back to the sussex hens to see how this traditional cross mentioned in eggheads post above goes.
     
  8. appps

    appps Overrun With Chickens

    4,766
    576
    281
    Aug 29, 2012
    Australia
    When we bought our faverolles the breeder also had some that had been crossed with the light sussex to get sex links. The ones that looked like sussex were all males and the girls had a more brown colour if memory serves me. Though I would mention in case that would also be helpful in your program. I'm wondering if it was the RIR he crossed with? Anyone know?
     
  9. ringholm

    ringholm Out Of The Brooder

    17
    6
    24
    Dec 15, 2014
    Denmark
    Thank you for answering.
    I am not going to raise the cross offspring for anything else than meat, only pure breds. I would like to continue breeding Sussex.
    This is also the reason for using Sussex as male.
    The reason for asking about laying capabilities, is that it would be a shame to run into a shortage of hatching eggs. But also they would be a nice addition to my Sussex' egg production.
    I like the idea of R.I.R., since they are approximately the same size as my Sussex, but I also read that they grow fast.
     
  10. varidgerunner

    varidgerunner Chillin' With My Peeps

    642
    301
    151
    Aug 16, 2013
    Where you are it might be easier to find some type of large oriental gamefowl than Cornish. They will do anything for a meat program that Cornish will, and more than most non commercial strains. They are after all the basis of the Cornish. If you are just keeping one rooster or a pair for crossing, they bear confinement well and are super friendly and highly intelligent.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by