Which would you choose for a Dual Purpose meat bird

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by DGuy, Mar 31, 2016.

  1. DGuy

    DGuy Out Of The Brooder

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    Trying to decide between Buff Orpington And Delaware. I have access to both non-hatchery stock. Leaning towards the Buffs because o slightly large size and likeliness to brood , but I could be swayed. The sire will be a large BCM rooster.(His little brother was meaty and delicious).
     
  2. XxMingirlxX

    XxMingirlxX Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How much space do you have? What's the weather like where you live?
     
  3. DGuy

    DGuy Out Of The Brooder

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    Hot 6 months out of the year Tampa Bay, FL area
     
  4. gatrapper

    gatrapper Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm interested in hearing this as well. I have been torn between black astralorps and buff orpingtons.
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    In my opinion it doesn’t matter that much between the buffs and the Delaware. If you skin instead of pluck the Australorps can work fine too. When you pluck you leave pin feathers behind. With dark feathers those are easy to see but you get a prettier carcass with light colored birds.

    How important is size to you? To some people it is extremely important but half the chicks I hatch are female so half the chickens I eat are female. There are only two of us so size is not an important criteria, although I select my roosters partly for size because bigger is nice when you butcher.

    At what age do you butcher? How fast do those strains of buffs, Delaware, or Australorps pack on meat? Non-hatchery stock doesn’t tell me anything. Different breeders have different goals and different knowledge on how to breed to reach those goals. If you butcher fairly early how fast they put on meat instead of first growing a skeleton could make a difference. I suggest you talk to those non-hatchery breeders and see what they can tell you about those birds, how fast they put on meat and whether or not they go broody much. Some Buffs, Delaware, and Australorps go broody a lot, some not so much. It’s something a breeder can control by what criteria they select for their breeding stock.
     
  6. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    New Hampshire or Buckeye hands down will be your best dual purpose bird. The reason Buckeye is due to the recent conservation effort. Rigorous breeding and selection was done to save this breed. The result is males reaching live weight of 6 lbs in 14 weeks. That means 4lbs dressed without neck and giblets. 14 weeks is on outside age for grilling but the only valid weight reported from that project.

    New Hampshire are a "fast" maturing breed. The were specifically bred that way when dual purpose birds were still used in the meat industry. They are the result of aggressive breeding selection from Rhode Island Red for fast maturity. They still hold true to that to present day. I've not found actual weights on the modern breeder stock but all breeders contacted confirm the "fast" maturity is still evident. I put that in quotes as it has to be in perspective. Fast for dual purpose birds not the modern meat hybrids.

    Orpington grows to a large bird but is not fast to mature, it's closely related to Plymouth Rock which also are slow to grow. Nor is a Jersey Giant which is what many intuitively think of for large meat bird- it's very slow to grow. Delaware makes for a good carcass and was part of the meat industry however heritage meat breeders I've contacted confirm they do not mature quick. Live weight I did get was around 5 lbs in 15 weeks. Not great. If a person wanted truly dual purpose birds in a breed that lays very well and matures quick for tender table fair look no further than New Hampshire (240 plus) or Buckeye with good laying (200 annually).

    The thing is any bird is tender if butchered at the right ages. Age appropriate for cooking method. Your best feed conversion and yield will be from a fast maturing bird. There is not a lot of feed intake in first 8 wees....things really pick up from there. Every week of feeding past 12 weeks equates to a lot of feed. 12 weeks is excellent grilling age to cull most of your cockerels.
     
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  7. DGuy

    DGuy Out Of The Brooder

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    I selected this rooster because he grew faster than everybody else. 6 lbs at 18 weeks.

    My harvest goal would be probably roosters at 16 weeks(3.5 lbs dressed) and hens at 20ish weeks same 3.5 lbs. Harvested in batches of 6-8(freezer space). There are only 2 of us and we eat a lot soup/stew/chicken & dumplings
     
  8. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    I don't understand harvesting pullets. Dual purpose birds have value in pullets. Minimum they are worth $15 as point of lay birds many get $20. They have value in first two years of laying and more but rotating out to stew every two years keeps egg output high and gives you plenty of dumpling and soup meat. Forgot to add that I sell some 1.5 year old hens in fall for $10, let the buyers know they will enter first adult molt soon and people are happy with that. I make room for pullets without harvesting a bird that still has a lot of laying life left. We eat all culls after 2 years.

    I like grilled chicken in summer. Even smaller birds like my Plymouth Rock cockerels are good size for splitting in half for grill at 12 weeks. That's an adult portion. Frying after 14 weeks and roasting after 18 or 20 weeks. Not sure on how old you can still fry cook as I don't fry chicken. It's young and summer grill then roasting the fall birds and gumbo for any cock not breeding the next spring. Chicken and sausage gumbo...Mmm.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2016
  9. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Of those two, I'd go with the Delaware. I think they're faster growing than the Orps, who can be pretty slow to mature.

    Plus, those hens should give you sex linked chicks, if you were so inclined to be able to sell sexed day old chicks.
     
  10. SJ

    SJ Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    I went Delaware roo over Buff Orp hens. The broodiness has been passed on. The F1's make great/amazing dual purpose birds.
     

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