Which of these breeds should I get for our first meat birds?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by azhenhouse, Jan 30, 2012.

  1. azhenhouse

    azhenhouse Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 12, 2010
    North Eastern Arizona
    This year we have decided to raise some chickens for meat. I have been doing a lot of research about which ones taste best, and decided to go with the Dorkings or Le Fleche, which ever one the hatchery has available at the time. However, I have come a cross a couple of other breeds, and was wondering if anyone has tried these. They are the Chantecler, Crevecoeur, Derbyshire Red, and the Barred Holland.

    Please share any information you might have on these breeds. Thanks.
  2. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    I don't do anything but Cornish Cross for meat. But the Dorking and the La Fleche are supposed to be decent meat birds.

    They will take longer to grow out, won't have as efficient a feed conversion, and not produce nearly as much breast meat as the Cornish Cross. However, they are both good breeds.

    I also think they are both attractive looking, which is always a bonus if you are going to be looking at them every day.
  3. Illia

    Illia Crazy for Colors

    Oct 19, 2009
    Forks, WA
    They're not as messy, unattractive, hard to keep alive, or tasteless as the Cornish X too. [​IMG]

    The issue though is that when you want decent meat or dual purpose birds, you're really not going to be very satisfied honestly with hatchery stock. I'd say you are relatively safe with Dorkings, but Hollands, La Fleche, and Crevecoeurs especially you'll get smaller and skinnier birds than the breed standard calls for.

    Redcaps are so rare I don't know what you'll get though. Chanteclers may also vary per hatchery.

    If you find yourself loving the idea or the actual act of raising up old-timey good tasting moderate to slow growing breeds though, the best route is to go with quality stock. Though it may surprise some - show bred lines are almost always bigger and meatier than hatchery stock. And in some breeds, traits like foraging and better feed conversion is improved in non-hatchery stock.

    Nothing beats the "instant gratification" from Cornish X yes and nothing beats their breast meat, but not everyone loves purely breast meat, and not everyone wants a "freak" to raise up for dinner. [​IMG]

    Plus, purebreds you can breed and hatch out your own from, not by new each year.
  4. Bossroo

    Bossroo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 15, 2008
    Been there done that with many of the other breeds... waste of time and money ... now I raise the Cornish X and enjoy a savory 1 1/2lb Cornish Game Hen dinners for two in 35 days insead of laboring for 6+ months for 4-5 pound dinner and a lunch. Give me a " freak" everytime !
  5. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    I would have a hard time using quality birds for meat. Wouldn't you want to keep them for breeding..? With the price you pay for them to start out, I would. I guess you could always just process the extra roosters/hens that don't make it into your breeding program.

    I can tell you right now that my buff Orpington hen is twice the size of hatchery birds her age. She is from a quality line. How do they taste for meat, anyone know? My girl was nearly 8 pounds at 5 1/2 months old. Maybe that would be a breed to consider, though I have no experience with raising my own meat yet. In time. Right now I am way too attached to the birds I have.
  6. Ibicella

    Ibicella Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 13, 2009
    Everett, WA
    Orpingtons are a favorite choice as meat birds. Your girl sounds prime for breeding!
  7. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

    Aug 20, 2010

    I have eaten a few of my Orps now and they are tasty! I've yet to eat any other breed besides a polish and the cornish x, but I can tell you that Orps are good tasting birds. They are reputed to have more leg meat than most other slow growing breeds and all I can say is they have twice the leg a polish does and every bit or more than the cornish x, they just naturally don't have the cornish's breast meat. Which is fine with me since i prefer dark meat. But they certainly have flavor!
  8. mstricer

    mstricer Overrun With Chickens

    Feb 12, 2009
    Cornish X for me too. Easy to raise, not long to butcher and mighty tasty. But if you want a slow grower to eat, try a Marans, they are good.
  9. cubalaya

    cubalaya Overrun With Chickens

    Nov 19, 2008
    central virginia
    delawares are our meat birds
  10. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    [[[[[.......I would have a hard time using quality birds for meat......]]]]]]

    As a generalization, you don't eat the quality birds that you buy from a serious breeder. You buy them to use as breeding stock. Then you eat all your culls and excess roosters.

    I do eat some very good quality birds because it is important to me that my birds can do the job they are intended to do. So things like their feed conversion and the quality of the meat and how they dress out is very important to me. There is no way to test that except to butcher them and eat them.

    But, I confess, I have not eaten any of the birds I paid a lot of money for intending to use them as breeding stock. Some of their offspring will end up on the table.

    If you live close to a show breeder, it might be possible to make arrangements to buy their excess roosters for your table. Those birds have to go some place and some breeders produce too many excess rooster to eat them all themselves.

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