Monday, March 11, 2013

We Need Help!

Today I was going to post a picture of my boots in the mud and talk about how things never go even close to or remotely as planned ... of course that assumes that I make a plan in the first place. I'm sure we'll get to that post eventually, but today what we really need is some help ... and kind of quickly! For the past two years we have raised our Naked Neck Poulet Rouge Chickens as our meat birds. They grow slowly, but do well on pasture foraging and taste great. Unfortunately the source where we purchased our chicks from will not be able to supply them this year so we are looking at other options. Which is where we need help ...

Ideally we want to stick with our heritage or rare breeds that do well foraging on pasture and reach a decent processing weight at 14-16 weeks. I think it is important that we stay away from hybrids because it would be nice to keep a few around and let them go broody so we can begin to raise chickens that work the best for our system. Oh yeah ... one more thing ... they have to be something we can get in the very near future ...

Here are some breeds that I've been reading about ... all of them had seemingly very mixed reviews and there wasn't a lot of information about the amount of time to processing weight.

  • White Plymouth Rock
  • Delaware
  • Buckeye
  • Dark Cornish
  • Jersey Giant
  • And many more ...

If you have any thoughts ... suggestions ... ideas ... helpful insight ... or even want to tell me I'm wrong I'd love to hear your comment. I'm open to all suggestions at this point ...

11 comments:

Devin Rose said...

We had good luck with Freedom Rangers. Have you tried them? http://www.freedomrangerhatchery.com/purchase

Kelli said...

Where were you getting your naked necks from? Hoovers Hatchery up here by us is selling both naked neck and red ranger chicks. Sorry, I don't have any input on the others. We've only raised them for eggs & never butchered them.

Jared Priest said...

When I was looking into chickens for myself, I was intrigued with the Buckeyes. Have you thought about an Cornish breed? They grow quickly.

Anonymous said...

We've mostly keep hens for eggs, but I bought a bunch of white Plymouth Rocks about two years ago for meat and they worked out well. They were supposed to be all roosters, but two were hens and one of those hens is our best brooder.

fwiw.

lawdingo said...

Ethan-- We have had many Heritage breeds over the last year. We raise them and butcher them ourselves. During the past year we have probably raised around 250-300 birds. We tried naked necks because of your farm and the success you have had with the breed. We received our naked necks from McMurray Hatchery. They had many different colors not just the light rust. One of our favorite girls was a black naked neck.

We bought 10 New Jersey Giants with the sole purpose of winter egg layers and they have not disappointed us. Those girls never missed a day no matter how cold it got. Their coop has 2 heat lamps that are red in color but that is it. We did nothing to artificially stimulate them to lay. They are just so big that the cold doesn't get to them. We have butchered two out as well but they were around 25 weeks old. The breed takes a long time to get a good frame on it and then once it does it puts muscle on. In the mean time they can eat a lot. We have found that they were great foragers but we also supplemented with feed once a day.

If you are looking for a nice dual purpose chicken that is a good forager we have found that the Orpington is an easy go to. Many people have these for pets now but they are docile, curious and great at finding their own meals, very easy to dress, and a nice brown egg layer.

We have had most of the large/heavy breed Heritages and can talk anytime. Feel free to contact me or another fun thing could be to come to the Urban Backyard chicken meetup this Saturday. It is on the southside (so closer to Knoxville) at the Farm & City farm store. Our family will be there.

Angela Johnson

johnu said...

Consider looking at www.sustainablepoultrynetwork.com We raise Mottled Javas and they do great on pasture. We are in the transition process of going from Red Rangers to 100% Javas as our meat birds this year. We expect to process between 500-700 of them this year. Please feel free to contact me with any questions that you might have!
John

Andrew said...

I've just raised up my first batch of Delawares (for layers). The roosters hit 2lb 2oz in 7 weeks. White Rock roosters were 1lb 15oz, and Delaware Pullets were 1lb 10oz all in the same 7wk time period. Having done dark cornish last year, I reccomend against them unless you go straight run roos. Dark Cornish hens never get heavy enough to butcher, they're actually fairly small birds, especially compared to the cornish-cross freaks.

Hamons said...

We raise Buckeyes on our farm and have been VERY pleased with their carcass quality. Last year we raised about 150 of the Buckeyes - only butchering the roosters and keeping the hens. This seems to work the best for us. We plan on doubling the amount the of Buckeyes we do this year and reducing the number of cornish x and freedom rangers.

I would be more than happy to talk to you more in depth if you'd like.

Synergistic Acres - Kansas City Natural Meat

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't suggest Jersey Giants. Even at 12 weeks they were nothing but bones. They have such a large frame, it takes them forever for their muscles to fill out. By the time they DO get meaty, they're only good for stewing. Just my opinion.

Anonymous said...

I too have heard great things about the Freedom Rangers. I spoke with an organic farm down in southtern Iowa that was using them exclusively and had rave reviews on growth and great flavor. I was directed to the hatchery Devin mentions. My 2 Cents.

Bill McLaughlin said...

I hear the Delaware are good for both meat & egg prodution. They seem to grow pretty fast and are hardy.

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