Aussies Living Simply

Meat Chooks

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  • #246749
    WhoWeRWhoWeR
    Member

    Hi

    Just wondering if anyone is breeding chooks just for meat? What breeds are best for meat chooks and how long it takes to grow them up?

    We are currently buying day old meat chickens from the produce but I would rather breed some instead. My hubby wants to ones from the produce because they grow up quick. I am trying to convince him to get a rooster for our girls. It’s also one step closer to be a little more independent of big businesses.

    What’s your thoughts? Are the ones from the produce ok. I know that buying them supports the big guys, which I’m not to fond of. Anyone know if I kept one of the roosters that come from the produce, if they would be able to bred? Maybe if it can It will past on it’s fast growing genes and make hubby happy?

    Would I be better off having chooks just for breeding meats or just us my girls and a large type rooster?

    Thanks

    Jenny

    #389468
    RebeccaRebecca
    Member

    I’ve heard good things about a light sussex/indian game cross – fast growing and lots of tasty meat. Haven’t tried it myself though as we can’t have a rooster here.

    You’d have trouble keeping a rooster from the produce place because they grow so large so quickly. Their hearts usually give out before they reach sexual maturity, unless you happen across a slow growing strain and I don’t think that’s what you want.

    #389469

    Rebecca

    What is wrong with that Burdekin Shire Council? One of my favorite memories as a child in Home Hill, was waking in the early hours of the morning, large casement windows at about 1 foot above bed level, open to the back verandah, listening to the call of roosters, some close by but some distant. Now it is the curlews, here in Kelso, I wonder how long it will be before people complain about the noise from curlews??

    #389470
    RebeccaRebecca
    Member

    This council isn’t as bad as many. They don’t specifically outlaw roosters, but you do need a permit. I could have gone through the permit process, and boxed the rooster at night, but one of the neighbours is dubious and likely to complain. I wouldn’t want to have a boy and be faced with having to either rehome him or eat him at short notice. So really, I should say “It’s too much trouble to have a rooster here”, rather than “I can’t have one”.

    Talk about small world – I grew up in Kelso and my parents still live there 😆 I remember those curlews – used to frighten the bejeebers out of me as a kid :shy::lol:

    #389471
    spannerspanner
    Member

    Rebecca wrote:

    the produce place because they grow so large so quickly. Their hearts usually give out before they reach sexual maturity, unless you happen across a slow growing strain and I don’t think that’s what you want.

    Hi ,

    I am in Townsville and I have had a few [23 so far] of the large meat chooks from the produce places. Yesw they grow very quickly and get HUGE but never have I had a problem with their hearts giving out. I think I harvest them at about 4 – 5 months and they are excellent. They are a ‘no name’ breed of chook. They do not breed true to type as they are crosses of crosses so to speak. I have had a few roosters in the lot I have had and they definitly get real big comp[ared to the hens BUT they have no health issues other than they are fat *xxxx*s.

    BUT with all that said I would love to grow some nice looking chookies asw ell. Something like a light sussex or an orpinton would be great.

    All I say is go get some cheep meat chooks from a produce place and give em a go. You will find out if they work or dont at your place.

    :wave:

    #389472
    RebeccaRebecca
    Member

    That’s interesting Spanner …

    I’ve bought 15 meat chicks from Lamberts, one lot that were killed at 10 weeks and the others at 4 months. The first lot were massive; most of them dressed out at 2kg plus. The second lot took 4 months to get to a decent size, and they were all around 1.6kg dressed. Both times we had mystery deaths just before they were killed, which I attributed to heart failure. The older birds were much better eating than the ones killed at 10 weeks. The young ones got too fat too quickly and were far too fatty.

    Orpington roosters are just beautiful :hug: I miss my orp boy, but I’m sure he’s happier on the farm 😀

    #389473
    gremmblesgremmbles
    Member

    Rebecca, your Orpington boy is treated like a spoilt child. My MIL loves him.:hug:

    Aside from that, we have bought meat chickens before but weren’t impressed . Yes they grow fast, but they don’t act like real chooks. They just sit and eat all day, they don’t wander about forage like normal chook. We have tried New Hampshires (roosters aggressive and hens flighty), Rhode Island reds (don’t like the yellow skin but the hens were gorgeous) and Australorps. We decided to go with Australorps as they are the best of both world, the hens lay like mad and the roosters are very tasty. Personally I am happy to have a slower growing bird that tastes great. I also want them to behave like a healthy chooks and wander about the house foraging as I think it improves the flavour.

    In saying that we have just bought Splash (the Orpington Rooster Rebecca kindly gave me) 6 Light Sussex hens for his harem and we plan to see what that cross tastes like. 😆

    #389474
    lollie3lollie3
    Member

    With watching a show on the Lifestyle channel madeby Hugh Fernley Wittingstall called River Cottage Spring I am looking at tring to find a place here in SEQ close to where I am and getting a free range oragnic chook to eat, doe anyone have any ideas on where I can lay my hands on one please.

    Louise

    #389475
    marigoldmarigold
    Member

    Lollie, Lilydale chooks are freerange and are sold all around SE Qld, including some supermarkets like coles, though I don’t think they are organic .

    Some small butchers also advertise freerange chooks, again, not so sure about the organic bit.

    #389476
    lollie3lollie3
    Member

    Ok Marigold I will have a look I think I have seen them on the shelf at Coles. If I can get away from the battery chook I would be much happier I know they will have access to the outside so they can scratch around etc etc if you know what I mean.

    #389477
    mattomatto
    Member

    If you want a chicken that looks like a store bought chicken, you want to get an Indian (a.k.a. Cornish) Game. The have the big meaty drumsticks and breasts that look what you buy in the supermarket. Most of the commercial meat chickens originated from this breed anyway, although they have been bred and inbred until they are more freaky mutant Frankenchickens than the real thing. The heat failure others have mentioned is one thing but these birds have been bred to put on meat so quickly that they develop body mass faster than their bones can develop so they often break their legs and die before they reach maturity.

    Any hoo, the Indian Game are also good for crossing with other breeds – apparently the Indian Game crossed with a Dorking will give you the nicest tasting chicken you’ll get, although I haven’t tried this one myself. There was a River Cottage episode that taste tested a couple of different crosses and the IndianGame was used for one or two of them.

    Myself, I’ve gotten used to my home grown mongrel cross bred and various pure bred excess roosters not looking quite as nice and plump (read scrawny and boney) as the store bought variety but what you lose on size and early maturity you make up on taste.

    Matt

    #389478
    WhoWeRWhoWeR
    Member

    Thanks for the replies. We have been having lots of discussion here about what to go with and at the moment it looks like we might try Australorp hens with either a Cornish rooster or a Sussex rooster. The Australorps are good for eggs and are a decent size. Does anyone know if Australorps lay during winter?

    I am finally winning hubby over on having to have them grow out fast 😀 But now we are divided on which rooster.

    Does anyone have experience with Cornish roosters? From what I have been reading they aren’t a very active chook and rather docile. Is that true? Are they able to roost like normal chooks or are they like the meat chooks? I would rather have a rooster that was nice and active and scratched around with the others. Not like the meaty’s we have.

    Anyone know of a good place to get pure Australorps in the South Burnett or North Brisbane area?

    Thanks

    Jenny

    #389479
    RebeccaRebecca
    Member

    Our Australorp girls have been laying all year round. They take a couple of days off here and there, and unusual weather can knock them off lay for a week or two, but otherwise they’re pretty reliable. They do tend to go broody easily though, so we need to clear the nests of eggs a couple of times a day.

    #389480
    gremmblesgremmbles
    Member

    All chooks moult a bit over autumn and winter and their laying slows. Laying eggs is actually related to the number of hours of daylight, so laying gets less until the shortest day of the year (ususally june I think) and then picks up again as the day gets longer. Commercial egg producers actualy keep their hens under lights to prevent this. It’s not good for the chooks not to have a bit of a break.

    For good quality Australorps try http://www.freewebs.com/queenslandfeahterbrokers/

    We have bought Australorps from a few places and these were by far the best birds (and the excess roosters tasted delicious).

    #389481
    WhoWeRWhoWeR
    Member

    Thanks

    We just knocked off our first round of meat chooks (produce ones) and ate one tonight. I found them very fatty. They had a lot of fat inside and just under the skin. It’s actually took away from the taste. Is there something that I have done that may have caused these chooks to be so fatty?

    Australorp crosses shouldn’t be as fatty should they?

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