Up until this year I have focused on raising dual-purpose birds. I finally succumbed to trying a few meaties this year. For those of you not familiar with chickens there are some breeds whose focus is eggs, some to have lush meatie bodies and finally dual purpose birds who do both well but don’t really do outstanding at either. Meaties are generally selected cross breeds that convert food to weight with a high efficiency, grow fast, and have that large breasts that American diet demands.
I got “Freedom Ranger” style meaties. These are meaties that grow much slower than the commercial Cornish Cross you are getting in the pink tray in your supermarket. Unlike the Cornish Cross that sit at the food trough and do nothing but eating, the FR are active. Ours actually got out and walked around and foraged. They claim that the FR have a healthy set of legs on them, unlike the Cornish Cross who often become crippled because the body grows too fast for leg development. Ours held true to that claim.
Our meatie roos had started to become protective of the flock. One of them was more than willing to take on Mr. Ranger Sir daily. We decided it was a little early, but it was time for them to go. They were taller than our dog.
This weekend we butchered the three roosters of the bunch. There were 10 weeks old. They dressed out at about 3 pounds each. I have a female who was smaller that is still left that we will butcher later.
Were they worth the time, expense, and trouble. I guess so. They did not wow me.
Time will give me a little more information to base this on. I have one female meatie left and a bunch of males that will need to go. I can use them for comparison once we butcher them.