Saturday, August 18, 2012

Meat Chickens?

We've never raised chickens with the sole purpose of eating them. Sure, we've harvested a spare, uppity rooster now and then, but we've never bought chicks with the express intent to butcher them.

I think we're ready.

Being that I'm a total noob in terms of meat chickens, I really don't know much of anything about what breed to try. Help a sister out - what breed(s) have you raised for meat? Would you choose that breed again? How was the flavor? Was the time, trouble and cost of DIY chicken rearing worth it?


  1. I haven't done them, either. Some folks - including Nita at Throwback at Trapper Creek (blog) and Joel Salatin swear by the Cornish cross breed...those those top heavy ones with the overblown breasts. Apparently, if you treat them well and with care, they do just fine. They do have a short life span...intentionally.

    My friend and some others have done the Freedom Rangers, which don't grow quite as fast or with the physical issues the Cornish cross can have. They are tasty for sure, but definitely a thinner bird.

  2. Thanks, Amy!

    I've heard a lot of horror stories about growing Cornish X meat birds too. It sounds like they can have serious mobility issues, and that the instinct to forage has been bred out of them. I hadn't heard of the Freedom Rangers before, so I looked them up. I'm definitely intrigued!

  3. I have raised meat birds for many years. I raise cornish rock crosses. I have had great luck with Murray Mc Murray mail order hatchery. You definately need to be careful about monitoring their growth rate, if they grow too fast, their bodies will outgrow their legs. The easy solution I had was to only feed them a limited amount of food, only during the day (they'll eat all night if you let them). We have, in the past, kept close tabs on costs (feed, vitamins, grit, etc), and compared costs to grocery store meat. For our area, it is NOT cheaper to raise your own chickens - you can pretty easily find chicken on sale that is less expensive. HOWEVER, i have never tasted a grocery store chick that is any where near as good as home grown. For us, it IS worth the trouble, and most years we raise about 25 meat birds. They take about 9 weeks to grow. We get them in the summer and plan to buther as the weather cools. Hope that helps.