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I like the Dominiques ... a dual-purpose breed. (I don't care what the "experts" of today say. ;))

But it is really up to you... You could try a number of different breeds and see which works out best for you.

The Java was famous for its meat-producing qualities. (of yester year) We did try a few one year but went back with the Doms... but that was just me.

So I would say get a mixed batch the first year and see which does best in your area. (and meets with your families taste.)

Best of luck. (let us know how it works out.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I tried the CC (Cornish crosses) and DID NOT like them !! Several of them died as hatchlings and a few more failed to mature, but did grow very fast. But with so many disappointments I have decided to go all heritage this year !!
 

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we have been using buff orpingtons for our DP birds
they forage well so it cost less to get them up to size so they can be processed
as Apyl said barred rocks are good meat birds too
 

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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?

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.
 

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the black jersey giant was originally bred for meat production... then the cornish cross came along, also any rock is good for meat not just barred. i would also try maybe a regular Cornish.
 

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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.
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??
I just joined here so I thought I would peruse this particular subject, and of course put in a plug for my "favorite heritage breed" !
Glad to see you here, hope to see more postings from you!
Julie M
 

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I too have had issues with cornish crosses. I was raised on a farm where most animals were raised for food. My parents were concerned with rate of growth, feed efficiency ect. We raised our own feed as well. When I came back to farming, and wanting to be self sufficient, I thought about cornish cross. I acquired 6 from the local feed store when they were of course the 99 cent special. I will NEVER do it again! Thank God, I don't have to, as I raise Buckeyes, who have proven to be an awesome choice in terms of eggs, meat, and free range ability. I free range all my birds, and I did with these CC as well. But, they of course would have nothing to do with it! They sat infront of the feeders and ate ALL DAY LONG!! I call them pigs with wings! Of course I didn't know that much about them at the time, but, I can tell you as a reg vet tech, I was very concerned about the physical issues they started to have very early. They grew so heavy they had breathing problems, their legs weren't capable of carrying them ect. Anyway, we didn't get a chance to butcher at the optimum time, and they went over 9 wks and they dressed out at between 8-10 lbs! My husband decided to skin them to save time, and honestly, it was a bad decision. They were pretty much tasteless and on the tough side! Anyway, this was all before I found Buckeyes and I have never had that problem again! Personally, I don't see how anyone with a heart could raise them and think it's ok to have such issues, but, that's just MHO.
 

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Hey, want get some baby chicks come Jan. for meat , what's the best heritage meat chicken?
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.

The American Poultry Association (APA) established standards way back in the 1870's for "Standard Bred" fowl and within the American class we have Dominiques, Rhode Island Reds, Barred Rocks, Buckeyes and a number of others. In this world of poultry there are TWO types of breeds, or grades if you will, and they are "Standard Bred" and/or "Utility" and nothing more! There is NO such thing as a "Heritage Rhode Island Red" nor a "Heritage Buckeye" there are ONLY "Standard Bred Rhode Island Red's" or "Standard Bred Buckeyes" (Utility grades generally come from Hatcheries).

There are people praying on the uninformed or inexperienced buyers who are offering "Certifications" of birds and flocks as "Heritage". This is a complete farce and nothing more than a scam on unsuspecting people! Do yourself a favor and don't fall victim to these scammers, the APA has a book called the Standard of Perfection, it is the POULTRY bible and lists the standards for ALL breeds accepted by the APA. You will NOT find one mention of "Heritage" this or "Heritage" that because they are NOT real breeds!

Finally, since this post was placed in the "Breeds & Genetics" portion of the Chicken Forum I felt it important to provide this explanation here. The American Buckeye Club (ABC) which was founded in 1909 does NOT recognize the term "Heritage" as associated with the Buckeye breed. We have taken the stance that there are ONLY "Standard Bred" (per the APA) and "Utility" grade Buckeyes. If a member of the ABC elects to use the term "Heritage" in association with his or her Buckeyes it is intended strictly for the purpose of marketing meat or eggs as such. "Heritage" has no place in identification of a breed or class of poultry and is confusing people new to the poultry world.
 

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I like the Marans (not hatchery Marans! Mine came from people who breed to the standard). They grow really fast the first few months. When you butcher them at 3 or 4 months they are a lot bigger and meatier than most of the dual purpose breeds at that age.
 
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