Would love suggestions on dual purpose birds ... Or meat birds!

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Jordann, Feb 1, 2013.

  1. Jordann

    Jordann Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 1, 2013
    Pacific Northwest
    Hi all!

    I have started doing research on owning chickens. I want to use them for eggs, but meat as well. I don't want to do strictly layers because we don't need that many eggs and from what I have read the meat birds will give us enough eggs to use. I want a breed that is broody, so I don't have to keep buying chicks from the feed store. From what I have read, I like the Plymouth Barred Rocks, New Hampshires, Orpingtons and Faverolles (the roosters are supposed to be the most quiet) and the Delawares.

    I plan on using the chickens as dog food for my dogs, as well, so I really would like something that is broody .... Are there meat birds that fit what I am looking for? Also, at the feed store the lady suggested I look into quails and pheasants, but I don't know that they are what I'm looking for ..... Have to look into them more.

    All suggestions are greatly appreciated!

    (I don't have Internet at home, so I am not able to get down to the library every day, but I will eventually return!!)
  2. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 31, 2009
    Somerville, AL

    The breeds that you mentioned are some of the most common for your needs. You can go to the breeds tab at the top of the page and search for your needs too. Do you want to hatch chicks? If so, incubator or natural brooding? If you want hens that will hatch, you'll want to have a breed that is known to go broody.

    Quail and pheasant will require covered runs since they fly, they are also smaller and I don't know if they go broody or if you have to incubate eggs.

    While at the library, why not look for a book on raising chickens. That way, you won't have to wait for replies and might find answers to questions you haven't thought of yet. :)
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    As far as being good for both meat and eggs, any of the dual purpose breeds are good for that. You can read through Henderson’s Breed Chart to see which those are.

    Henderson’s Breed Chart

    As far as going broody, that chart will give some comments but it’s really pot luck. Any hen can go broody and all the hens in a broody breed will not necessarily go broody. Broodiness is an inherited trait. If the person selecting the breeders of a flock select against broodiness for a few generations, you will wind up with a flock of a broody breed that generally won’t go broody.

    That’s what happened to a lot of the utility breeds like Rhode Island Reds. A broody hen is not laying and they have to feed her. They have incubators to hatch chicks so a hen going broody is a handicap. If you make going broody a capital offense you soon wind up with chickens that don’t often go broody.

    There are some breeders that select Rhode Island Reds that go broody but hatcheries generally don’t. You can still wind up with a hatchery Rhode Island Red that goes broody, but it is pretty rare.

    Your best bet for the broody hens are the decorative ones such as Orpington or Cochin. They have pretty much been kept around to be pretty, not necessarily to be productive. You don’t even need a “breed”. Small farmers have been doing what you are talking about for thousands of years with just barnyard mix chickens.

    But if you want any real control over how many hatch, you might want to invest in an incubator and brooder.

    Another option is to have a separate breed that goes broody a whole lot. Most bantams and game hens are good for that, but something to watch for is how many eggs they can hatch at any one time. Some bantams have trouble hatching more than 4 eggs at a time.
    1 person likes this.
  4. SD Bird Lady

    SD Bird Lady Chillin' With My Peeps

    I like my oprington (i only have one) she lays an egg a day is very docile and is a decent size. One thing to consider in looking for a good meat variety is possibly getting 2 breeds that fit your needs. the cross bred chicks in the first genertaion with usually be bigger and more productive than the first..
  5. jasmer

    jasmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 15, 2012
    We are planning on dorkings and maybe buckeyes this year...
  6. jermoatc

    jermoatc Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 5, 2011
    Lake Crystal, MN
    of the breeds you mentioned, if you want broody hens Orpingtons are the way to go. It is a good sized bird too. I dont have any right now but the ones Ive had in the past, I couldnt keep off the nest and they were delicious too.
    1 person likes this.
  7. missnu01

    missnu01 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 16, 2012
    I want to know what breeds the Jumbo Cornish x rocks are ...I know that Rocks are in there somewhere...and having had a few I know why...the white rocks are a big bird...That way I could keep a pen of birds just for meat and just kind of keep turning them out...
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2013
  8. Jordann

    Jordann Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 1, 2013
    Pacific Northwest
    Thankmyou for all of the replies!

    Jdywntr, I want the hens to incubate and hatch their own eggs .... No sense in doing something artificially when they know what to do. :lol: From what I have been reading (on my 4th book from the library!) It looks like Orpingtons and the barred rocks are what I want, but I'm leaning more towards the Orps. We just have to go to YouTube to listen to the different rooster crows to see what will be the least loud. I know there's no such thing as a quiet rooster, but we have to try for the sake of our neighbors.

    RidgeRunner, thank you for the link, I will check it out! I know I am gambling when I get a bird, but figure my chances may be higher with a known broody breed. I do not care about getting a purebred chicken, but that is only what I have been able to find around here. I'm going to the Washington State thread next, to see if they have any insight on where to get mixed birds. We don't care about how many eggs we get, we will be happier with a broody bird that gives us more birds. :lol: We have friends that raise layers, so we may be able to trade some meat for eggs, if we get lucky and all the girls go broody :)

    SD Bird Lady, I may go with Orps and Rocks for that reason. I have a 13 month old and figure a more docile breed will be good for her, for right now .... Think it will get on better with the dogs too, since they will be protecting the birds from predators. :lol:

    Jasmer, I liked the dorkings, but gave up on them, since they are not commonly sold around here (from what I have found)

    Jermoatc, that's what I have read about the Orps, and that is what really sold me on those girls!
  9. CastleFarmUK

    CastleFarmUK Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 2, 2013
    Welsh Boders UK.
    I breed dual purpose Utility breeds in the UK.

    Have a look at my breeding plans on my web page.

    Last edited: Feb 4, 2013
  10. chickenchacha

    chickenchacha Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 31, 2013
    I love the Silkies - there's generally always one broody hen, nice smallish eggs, really cute and can't say enough good things about them.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by