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#97838 - 07/21/11 03:42 AM Meat Birds
MMX Offline
New Egg

Registered: 07/21/11
Posts: 2
Loc: London
Hello Everybody,

Sorry the English is not my first language, so I apologise for any grammar mistakes. I am living in london but originally from Cyprus. It is a small island in Mediterranean sea in Europe.

I am planning to create a small chicken farm over there. I already found out which laying chickens to use,( Leghorn Chicken white egg, Light Sussex creamy egg, Maran dark brown egg), beside laying chickens I would also like to raise some meat chickens (broiler) as well. But we do not have any good broiler hatching egg suppliers over here. I mean in the supermarkets you can find lots of meat chickens ready for eating but not for feeding =) I would like to raise my own chickens and feed them organically not with growing hormones and antibiotics !

My main question is that if I find some broiler hatching eggs and put them in incubator and 21 days later chicks will come out hopefully, then is it possible to keep some of these chickens only for breeding purposes ? So I do not have to purchase broiler eggs all the time. This will allow me to take the eggs and place them into incubator. But am I going to get a healthy and pure generation as like before ? Some people say that these are hybrid birds and breeding them will not be a very good idea ? Is this true ?

Another question is that do these broiler chickens lay egg in only specific times of the year, because they are for eating purpose not laying egg ? So it makes it difficult to make more of them, due to limited egg production of these chickens ?

Also I heard that because these birds (Cornish X rock) get very big in a very short time, even if I keep them after 8 weeks later they will simply will not be able to breed due to their huge sizes. Can you please suggest me any other meat birds than Cornish X, which is ideal for eating and breeding. But I would like them to get ready for eating less than 12 weeks. Or is it good idea too find a rooster of meat chicken and cross it with light sussex or any other egg laying type of chicken. But then is the chicken going to be good for only meat ? I do not like dual purpose chickens, because simply they are not ready to eat less than 12 weeks. Thank you for your time and help guys.


Edited by MMX (07/21/11 03:43 AM)

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#97839 - 07/21/11 04:00 AM Re: Meat Birds [Re: MMX]
Foehn Offline
Administrator
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 1968
Loc: New Zealand
I think that if you are going to breed them yourself, (supposing you can actually get parent stock, you will need to keep them on a very strict diet so they do not develop leg problems while they grow. If you successfully raise a bird suitable for breeding with, it is my thought that you ought to keep the hen and cross breed with a dual purpose rooster, such as a wyandotte. I think a meat bird rooster would be too heavy for breeding with and would damage the hens.

I also don't know whether you can actually buy hatching eggs from meat birds. In NZ at least, you can only buy day old chicks, as the parent birds they use are never sold. You need to do a cost analysis. If you are relying on an incubator to hatch the chicks, is that more or less expensive that buying day-olds, given you will not be likely to have 100% hatching from eggs transported and have the power to pay for on top of costs.

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#97840 - 07/21/11 04:58 AM Re: Meat Birds [Re: Foehn]
MMX Offline
New Egg

Registered: 07/21/11
Posts: 2
Loc: London
Thank you for your quick response Foehn.

So in this case for only once I can purchase meat chicks (Cornish X rock or Freedom Ranger type) and then seperate them into two groups the one I would like to eat and the one I would like to breed.

Here I have got few more questions: if I do not cross breed my meat hen with dual purpose rooster (it is because it is big and can damage my hen), then I need to cross only two meat birds ?

Meat bird rooster and meat bird hen, but then would the outcome be good and productive ? Since both of these two birds are not pure offspring they are hybrid.

Because I guees that all these chicken producers or dealers they have some sort of parent stock which they cross breed either one meat chicken or meat rooster with normal dual purpose chicken (Leghorn chicken or rhode island red). But the question is which would be the correct combination in order to have a good and healhy meat chicken which can be butchered in less than 12 weeks.

Correct me if I am wrong, I am thinking to get either Freedom ranger or Cornish x type of meat hen and breed it with one of these not heavy and big dual purpose chicken.

Or Again how about if I can put these two meat chicken (meat hen and meat rooster)into a proper diet and if they can mate (breed) perfectly would it be a good idea ? Next generation chicken wise (health and productivity wise) as these both birds are hybrid.

I am afraid that in many places you can only buy day old meat chicks, as you mentioned it above they (farms) are using the parent birds.

In my case it is cheaper to keep my own parent stock and put the eggs into incubator than keep buying day old chicks. Because of transport and cost of each chick. Incubator only uses very less energy, especially if it is not very big one. I am talking about 150 egg capacity ones do not really cost any electricty at all. It is like 100W light bulb a day. Because once the incubator machine reaches the required temprature it stops working. Otherwise it would cook the eggs.

Also I do not have rely on other big chick firms or farms. Because due to high demand, sometimes they run out of chicks.

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#97843 - 07/21/11 01:04 PM Re: Meat Birds [Re: MMX]
CJR Online   content
Coop Master

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 8489
Loc: Montana
Could you not safely breed Cornish hens to another breed lighter {meat) bird?, not to hatch the real heavies for market, that are not really breeding birds-- but to create an intermediate breeding flock of your own, that then bred to just a few cocks of a breed, that with your "lighter" hens, could produce heavy meat birds, both sexes--and -ALL to be butchered and keep the easier birds to be kept as a breeding flock, not needing such special feeding/ handling? Just a thought... CJR

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#97844 - 07/21/11 01:53 PM Re: Meat Birds [Re: CJR]
Foehn Offline
Administrator
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 1968
Loc: New Zealand
I guess it comes back to whether you want to grow these birds commercially, or just for your own use.

Commercially, you will probably be tied up in all sorts of red tape that needs consents, proper handling facilities and compliances.

For yourself, non commercial meat breeds are just as good; they do take a bit longer to reach a good weight but in my opinion the meat is much nicer as it has time to develop a good flavour and is less likely to have harmful fats.

Leghorns are known for good egg laying, but I wouldn't use them as breeding stock for meat birds as they are a light breed.

I doubt any breeders of meat birds would allow you to get parent stock. They usually guard those birds very well. Most you could get is the F1 cross, hence my suggestion of crossing a female F1 with a wyandotte or similar dual purpose breed as you would have offspring less prone to leg problems and still have better egg production for the future and an out cross to a good breed. You could then keep a small flock from your own crossing as your foundation stock for ongoing meat production. They would not be your 6-8 week wonders though. To have those you would have to continue to buy the day-old meat chicks.

I personally wouldn't be trying to breed my own birds. You can still raise bought meat chicks organically.

We don't have Cornish as such in NZ, we have two breeds, Ross and Cobb, which probably have Cornish somewhere in the background.
CJRs suggestion of getting Cornish hens is a good one and more likely to succeed. You could try googling that breed in the UK and see if you could track down breeders near you.

Good luck with your venture, what ever you decide upon.

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#98294 - 08/13/11 11:56 PM Re: Meat Birds [Re: Foehn]
Welshman Offline
Feather

Registered: 01/10/11
Posts: 38
Loc: Wales UK
Google Welsh Black Fowl and it may give you a few ideas.

Unfortunatly my web site was hacked and trashed and untill my son gets back from the USA I cannot get it sorted.

All the breeding plans are on there.

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#98395 - 08/18/11 07:53 PM Re: Meat Birds [Re: Welshman]
Rex Offline
New Egg

Registered: 02/20/11
Posts: 1
Loc: Pea Green, Colorado
Welshman, I have been eagerly awaiting the comeback of your site; planning on crossing my buff cornish with Australorps, should get something similar to Welsh Black? MMX, I have been most pleased with my New Hampshires as a dual purpose breed; last week harvested 6 little roosters at about 12 weeks and they averaged 3 lbs dressed, and they clean beautifully, with no pin feathers to speak of...I'm interested in crossing New Hampshire with Buff Cornish ( Buff Cornish dressed at 4 lbs at 12 weeks, also easy to dress...)

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