Many people start a backyard flock because they want their own supply of farm fresh-eggs. However, raising chickens for their meat is another popular choice. Just like when you raise chickens for their eggs, it’s important to choose the best breed for your needs. Pay attention to the weight and processing times of different breeds. You should also take the temperament and hardiness of your birds into account. If you want help getting started, check out these three best chicken breeds to raise for meat.
Cornish Cross chickens are the most popular choice among commercial chicken meat producers, with good reason. Bred specifically for meat production, Cornish Cross chickens grow faster and produce a tastier product than dual-purpose breeds. These birds can reach 12 pounds in just six to eight weeks. Each bird provides a large amount of breast, leg, and thigh meat. However, Cornish Cross chickens require a lot of feed and other resources to accommodate this rapid growth.
Jersey Giants are the largest chicken breed in the world, weighing in at an average of 11-13 pounds. Unfortunately, this also means they have a longer growth period of about 16-21 weeks. Jersey Giants are another breed that requires a lot of feed in order to sustain them. These factors make them unpopular among commercial farmers, but they’re valuable members of any backyard coop. While you wait for them to reach their full size, you can enjoy large brown eggs from your Jersey Giant hens. Plus, Jersey Giants are docile, good at foraging, and excellent brooders—all traits that make them a valuable member of your flock, even without considering the meat they provide.
Red Broilers are a great alternative to the Cornish Cross. Like the Cornish Cross, these are a faster-growing breed of bird however, they do not get as large. This means that they are less prone to leg problems. The Red Broiler reaches processing age at 10-12 weeks. A big plus for the Red Broiler is that they are an active breed and more likely to forage; meaning they might save you some on feed in the long run!
Once you’ve chosen the best chicken breeds to raise for meat, it’s time to get your backyard coop started. Find all the supplies you need, including your chicken processing equipment, at Stromberg’s Chickens.
Which valuable breeds do you have in your flock? Share your favorites with us in the comments!