What is the best type of chicken to raise for meat? I'm in South Alabama and am planning to raise some for the first time.
Any help would be appreciated.
We raised Cornish X's. First time 200 of a mixture of both sexes, the second 400 were all roosters. We had them processed both times at between 6-7 weeks. They free-ranged and we had no problems with legs or heart attacks like many complain of.
All they do for the full time is eat and poop ---- very messy but very tasty. We no longer raise them because we tried to sell them and had a very hard time getting $2.79 per pound for them around here. (It cost us almost that to raise them organically.)
As carmen said, a lot of people raise the Cornish cross birds. If you do, make SURE to process them on time, as they grow and put on weight VERY quickly, and were not meant to live past a certain amount of time, If they do, they gain so much weight that their legs cannot support them and they go down with leg problems, which in turn causes them to befoul themselves, not to mention that they suffer when this happens.
Also make sure you give them a nice big pen to live in, they'll be healthier and tastier. :) Like carmen said, the trick is to free range them.
Rabbit tastes etter, takes less room, smells better, and you can put the manure right on the garden. They don't make noise, get lice (well, usually not), or molt either. Also easier to butcher. Raise rabbits and trade a few dressed out rabbits for some dressed chickens and you have the best of both worlds.
I raised heirloom chicken breeds and thought I would try the Cornish cross --aka Frankenchickens-- and will never do it again. There are ugly little bastards that are bred to die in eight weeks. They lie around, do nothing but produce a huge volume of waste, and go lame or die of a heart attack by eight weeks of age.
Raise Delawares. An heirloom breed that consistently produces the largest eggs of any type of chicken and has a good dual purpose body for meat. The breed is dying out and needs the help, plus you'll end up with great eggs and meat. I live not too far from you in North Florida and they will do great in your area.
i have just been eating the meanest or fattest chicken. i have thought about cornish x's but it does freak me out that they are programmed to die like that.
We raise the Cornish X's twice a year (in 25-bird groupings). We (well the wife has)done this the last 2-yrs. The best I can recollect...she has never had the problems with heart attacks and the like. But then again...they are to the processor or done herself right at 8-weeks.
I think Dave has the ticket...raise rabbits. I might try that come May...
We have tried white Cornish crosses and experienced a high mortality rate. A local hatchery used to sell red Cornish crosses that grew more slowly and had none of the problems the white birds had. Unfortunately, the owner retired and the red birds are no longer available, so we no longer raise chickens for meat. Bronze turkeys are now the only bird we raise only for meat. We do, however, cull layers every few years and can them for use in soups and stews.
We have always had some sort of chickens breed around and all have been used at the table. I wouldnt even consider any other than the cornish X Rocks now days. Once you learn how to restict feed and tweek some other maintainance things they cant be beat. I usually lose 2-3 per 25, start butchering at 3 weeks on up till about 7 weeks. I did raise some nice plump little columnian Rock bantams which were pretty special!
I did have some standard Kardosh bronze turks for a while but I dont like turkeys dead nor alive.
If you can keep these hybrids alive the cornXrocks have the genetic potential to weigh 20 pounds, the broad breasted turks have the potential to go 100 pounds. Those big turks and chickens do not reproduce naturally, they are artificially bred.
Don't know...I'm a vegetarian!!
Sorry? sorry for what, being a vegetarian, not eating meat, not knowing good meat from bad meat or just sorry? Kinda hard to figure why you commented?
Cornish Xs are only pathetic if you keep them cooped up. Even being allowed to free-range, they won't act like 'real chickens' unless you put their feed far from the coop to force them out onto the pasture. Same goes with their water. Just make sure they have a canopy of shade outside their coop. They go inside to roost at sundown just like all chickens do.
Once they are out where the food is, the do indeed forage and run/try to fly. But yes, you sure don't want them growing past 8 weeks at the most ---- they will probably start having leg problem problems even if they free-range at that point. Out of 600 chickens, we only had one with leg problems at 7 weeks.
fancifowl, sorry as in that I can't help out..being a vegetarian...thought maybe it would be funny? I guess not to you.
Ive raised the Cornish x growing up as a kid so did my parents. I really don't like them because you have to process them all out by the time they are 8 weeks old, and they produce much more waste- all they do is eat and poop and to even begin to keep them healthy you have to do management practices such as making them walk to there feed and water dishes, plus restricting there food to slow there growth so less of them have heart attacks or suffer liver failure.
Last year i raised Delawares. They rock. I processed some of them at 2-3# at about 12 weeks and some of them a bit bigger. so no pressure to get the all done by 8 weeks. They don't die off of health problems. They don't eat themselves to death given a choice. They have a nice white feather body making plucking a clean carcass easy. Did you know before the Cornish x's Delawares where used by most poultry meat produces here in the USA. As a good aside I kept a few of the hens which are now laying very well.
I had to eat one of my guineas a few years back because she was eating all the chicken eggs out of their nests. That guinea tasted SOOO much better than any chicken I ever ate. If chicken tasted as good as guinea meat, I'd eat chicken ALL the time. I raise guineas for mostly tick and bug control, but they are an awesome tasting bird...they also get 90 percent of their own diet on free range in the summer. They don't get as big as cornish hybrids (unless you order the french guineas-they have them at murray mc murray hatchery). They take longer before harvesting, but you can let them free range for a lot of their food, keep them in a moveable pen to keep them safe from predators during the day and bring them inside at night. Guineas taste great! If you want my recipe for "Smothered Guinea", email me. Sooo good!