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#3489 - 11/16/06 10:37 AM Re: using dual purpose instead of crosses for meat
Ozark Rose Offline
Flock Leader

Registered: 11/17/05
Posts: 325
Loc: Arkansas
The most sought after chicken carcasses in the world, Poulet de Bress and Blue-Legged, are "normal" poultry breeds which are butchered at maturity. The key to their taste, texture, & flavor is in the AGEING of the carcass.
It is a mistake to compare apples to oranges. Just as Uno pointed out, it's like comparing a dairy calf to a black angus steer. They both taste greeat but the processing & preparation & cooking for that matter are completely different.

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#3490 - 11/17/06 09:40 AM Re: using dual purpose instead of crosses for meat
Uno Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/26/05
Posts: 1283
Loc: Canada
Ozark Rose is right. There is more to consider than should I eat dual purpose or should I eat meat birds?

Your method of butchering will affect your end product. Your method of coooking; slow cooking (stewing) to tenderize or roasted whole for Sunday dinner. I think roasted whole demands a perfect bird which I feel are young meat birds.

Will you age the carcass, as Ozark Rose points out, or just chill until body heat is removed and then bag and freeze?

My approach to raising meat birds is pretty simplistic. I want to roast them whole. No cutting up for frying, no 'older' birds for stewing or slow cooking. I want that plump, golden brown beauty we see in Norman Rockwell paintings. Consider your lifestyle and cooking preferences and you may find dual purpose are perfect for you.

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#3491 - 11/18/06 02:07 PM Re: using dual purpose instead of crosses for meat
David W. Offline
Chicken

Registered: 03/02/06
Posts: 131
Loc: Missouri
Thanks for the comments. We were told to raise them to 3 months old and the amount they are growing I'm assuming we will probably get to butcher them then but that of course is only 1 month away. I know very little about the process. We are having them processed at a meat factory and they don't freeze so I am open to suggestions about the aging etc. THe breed is red sex links.

Thanks,

Dave

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#3492 - 11/19/06 05:27 AM Re: using dual purpose instead of crosses for meat
Anny Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 503
Loc: Belgium
I suppose red sex links are more or less the same in the US as in Europe.
Edit : "For me, red sex links are NOT dual purpose but plain layers."
I think at 3 months old you will have very skinny chickens, lots of bones and almost no meat. I have had chicks out of red sex links. My experience is that they grow for about 4 months and only then start to put meat on. I butchered between 6 and 7 months and ended up with quite nice stewers/fryers and the taste was very good.
I have some running around now, just over 4 months old, and they look quite big, but when I hold them it's just feathers and skin over bones.

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#3493 - 11/19/06 05:59 AM Re: using dual purpose instead of crosses for meat
Susie Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 1902
Loc: Arkansas
I agree that at 12 weeks, you'll have bones and not much else. We did that many years ago with barred rocks. We read all about it in a book and got a load of chicks straight run, raised the cockerels separately and followed a different feed program with them. We expected to butcher at around 12 weeks. Well, at that point, we did a couple of them and ended up with about as much meat as you might get off a pigeon. I'd be surprised if you can butcher them before the 20 week mark and have it be worthwhile. Keep picking them up, closer to time, and feel the breasts and thighs and gauge it from that.

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#3494 - 11/20/06 02:01 PM Re: using dual purpose instead of crosses for meat
Anonymous
Unregistered


Hello All,

I have been lurking around this site for some time and I appreciate all you sharing your expertise.

Regarding dual purpose birds for meat, I had a tough time with the cornish cross. It doesn't get that hot here in E. Idaho and I didn't have problems with weak legs or crippling, but it seems to me all they want to do is lay around. They don't scratch or eat bugs or even kitchen scraps.

In my second attempt at finding the right broiler I raised and butchered seven barred rock cockrels left from a flock of hens I started and although the legs and thighs were great, the overall yield seemed poor to me. So this summer I bought 30 red broilers from Privett Hatchery in N.M. and I really liked them. I'm not sure of the cross and they wouldn't tell me, but they were good foragers and the cockrels grew out in about three months. I kept the hens another month but they seemed a bit puny. However, quality of the meat is top notch. My 86-year old grandmother said they tasted like a chicken should.
I raised them in a portable pasture pen and they handled some windy, rainy cold spring weather with flying colors. My only regret is that I didn't raise more - the freezer is almost empty.

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#3495 - 11/20/06 03:22 PM Re: using dual purpose instead of crosses for meat
Uno Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/26/05
Posts: 1283
Loc: Canada
John T:

No need to lurk, jump right in!

Red broilers? Never heard of them. Do you suppose they could have been a genetic glitch of some kind?

Last time I raised meat birds, local hatchery gave me chicks that had large amounts of black mixed in with the white. They said every now and then some hatch with bits of black and the farms will not take them. They grew just fine, but they did have dark skin in some spots and the carcass looked a bit different. Like it had a five o'clock shadow. Not what I would have picked off a grocery store shelf to take home.

Does this hatchery raise red broilers all the time or was this a 'special' of some kind?

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#3496 - 11/21/06 07:09 AM Re: using dual purpose instead of crosses for meat
Anonymous
Unregistered


Uno - Here is a link to Privett Hatchery. I think the red broiler is a standard breed they offer every spring. As I wrote in my previous post, I asked about the genetics but they were not willing to divulge their secrets. They have a photograph on their site, maybe someone can take a look get an idea of which breeds they are crossing. I have seen a red broiler offered by McMurtrey Hatchery as well. They are really nice broilers, much like a dual purpose breed but with a lot more instinct to forage and they are double breasted like the cornish cross. They grow out a lot faster than the dual purpose breeds I have experience with but not quite as fast as the cornish cross.

http://www.privetthatchery.com/

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#3497 - 11/21/06 07:31 AM Re: using dual purpose instead of crosses for meat
Anny Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 503
Loc: Belgium
Yes, John T, we have the red broilers here in Europe too - grow a bit slower than the cornish cross but faster and bigger than the dual purpose breeds, far more active birds than the cornish cross and no leg problems. More taste to them also.

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#3498 - 11/22/06 08:41 PM Re: using dual purpose instead of crosses for meat
David W. Offline
Chicken

Registered: 03/02/06
Posts: 131
Loc: Missouri
I'm intregued by this post. Right at the moment, our chicks weigh just under a pound each and we are nearing 8 weeks.

John T, did the red broilers have any distinguishing features after you butchered them?

Dave

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