Hey, want get some baby chicks come Jan. for meat , what's the best heritage meat chicken?
The best depends upon what your definition of "best?" Fast rate of growth? Best flavor? Best meat texture? Most meat?Hey, want get some baby chicks come Jan. for meat , what's the best heritage meat chicken?
LOL! Way to promote those BUCKEYES C!!! Saw the topic and was going to chime in, but I see you beat me to it!! Glad you added all the great information ! Hey how did you add the APBC to your avatar??The best depends upon what your definition of "best?" Fast rate of growth? Best flavor? Best meat texture? Most meat?
Usually, in the USA, we mean fast rate of growth and lots of meat.
Some American Heritage breeds that are known for their meat qualities and good rate of growth are Delaware, New Hampshire and Buckeyes. All the American breeds are dual purpose, but these are more meat oriented.
Buckeyes can be harvested as early as 16 weeks (I do mine 16-20 weeks). The Delaware & some lines of NH can be harvested as early as 14 weeks old.
I breed Buckeyes for dual purpose and specifically, I select mine for rate of growth & size as they are my chicken for the dinner plate. Though be aware, that others' Buckeye lines are geared more for show qualities & with more emphasis on feather color. With my Buckeyes, I get a fast grower and a large amount of meat to boot.
The Jersey Giants, RIR, Javas all make good meat birds, but they are moderate to slow growers -- but excellent meat . . . all also provide a lot of meat per bird due to their size at maturity. The Jersey Giant, of the American breeds, probably gives the most meat (but do not mature until much older -- slowest in rate of growth). The JG meat is tender in the mature fowl than one would suspect.
The Plymouth Rocks come in a lot of varieties (Barred, Buff, Silver-pencilled, white, partridge, etc.). They were sort of the first "commercial" American breed for meat.
Don't forget the Wyandotte that comes in many varieties (white, buff, silver laced, etc.). I have never ate either of these last two but am told they have good meat qualities -- more moderate rate of growth.
--- again, all the American breeds are dual purpose (Chantecler and Dominiques).
Non-American Class heritage breeds that are great meat birds, as someone pointed out, the Dorking (difficult to find good ones; Yellow House Farm in NH has some nice white Dorkings); La Fleche (I raise too. La Fleche meat is excellent but this is a rare breed and slow grower & size is an overall concern/problem due to small gene pool) -- with my La Fleche, I have to wait longer, but the quality of the meat is one of the best fowl in the world both in flavor and texture. The La Fleche was a favorite table fowl of the French King Henri IV, 1553-1610 ("Good King Henry"). It is a white egg layer and a fowl of antiquity (so it differs from my Buckeyes who lay brown eggs).
other breeds with excellent meat (all are rare & difficult to find): Houdan, Crevecoeur,
Favorelle (another French breed) is a good meat bird and more common -
The French breeds along with the Dorking are supposed to be some of the finest quality table fowl.
A nice Asiatic meat breed is the Brahma, which good ones can be found.
The term "Heritage" as it has been applied to poultry in recent years is vastly misunderstood and should not be associated with ANY specific breed! It is nothing more than a MARKETING term created by one group, The American Livestock Conservancy (now called The Livestock Conservancy) to promote non-commercial meat and eggs. It was first used for Turkeys and in recent years has been applied to Chickens.Hey, want get some baby chicks come Jan. for meat , what's the best heritage meat chicken?