are orpingtons good meat birds

So, you want to put meat on the table yourself, but what are the best meat chickens to raise? There are a lot of different breeds of meat chickens available, each having its own pros and cons. It’s important to do your homework before you jump into raising them.

We’ve been raising meat chickens since 2016 and have learned a lot along the way. In this article, I’ll help you figure out what your goals are and what the best meat chicken breed is for your homestead.

#7: Orpington (dual purpose)

Orpingtons are decent meat birds while also laying well (200 brown eggs/year). They have pinkish-white skin and are plump and juicy. They are also good foragers and very docile. Orpingtons are a cold hardy breed, which can come in handy if you live in a cold climate like me!

The Orpington is available in a range of hues, including lavender, white, chocolate, silver, blue, and buff. The fact that the hens are known to become broody is advantageous if you wish to have chicks every year.

  • Balanced proportion of white meat to dark meat
  • Because meat is older and has spent more time on pasture, it has more flavor (which can be a con, for some)
  • They can get as large as broilers (8-10 lbs)
  • Compared to broilers, they are better foragers and less feed-driven (feed can stay in their space 24/7).
  • Can be reared without a special chicken tractor using layers and a free-range environment.
  • Less prone to health issues than broilers
  • More weather-tolerant than broilers
  • Very docile and easy to work with
  • Are a purebred and can be reproduced on the homestead
  • Good for egg production (200 brown eggs/year)
  • less cost-effective to raise than broilers because they gain one pound of weight for every four pounds of feed eaten.
  • Lowest amount of edible meat at 65% of live weight
  • Because it is older and more active during processing, meat can be tougher and leaner.
  • Slower to mature than broilers and Bresse dual purpose chickens
  • Compared to the Cornish Cross, it is more feathered and has underlying hairs.
  • They don’t grow as evenly as the Cornish Cross does.

Size counts if you’re searching for a utility breed of chicken that will provide you both meat and eggs. If the chicken you harvest can only feed one person for one meal, there’s no use breeding them with the intention of putting meat on the table. Orpingtons won’t let you down in this department.

Many smallholders who use Orpingtons for breeding will rely on the hens’ innate instincts and allow them to give birth to a large number of chicks without any assistance. We take a slightly different route. We still have an incubator and a brooder plate. This is so that we can maximise the clutch size. Our Orpington hens are capable of raising up to 15 eggs, and we know they can raise 12 easily. However, our hens can only incubate a maximum of 12 eggs at a time without causing uneven heating of the eggs or running the risk of hatching chicks being crushed to death by other eggs during the hatching process. Not every egg will result in a chick. There are eggs that will not hatch and eggs that are infertile. We can incubate extra eggs and get as close to the ideal number of chicks as possible by running an incubator in parallel. Additionally, the apparatus enables us to assist any clutch that experiences difficulties during incubation or hatching inside the incubator. Additionally, any chick that struggles after hatching can receive some recovery time under the brooder plate while the broody hen tends to the active chicks. A clutch size of about seven is reasonable, and the Orpington broody hens will do a fantastic job of raising your chicks if you would rather let nature take its course.

PLACID They are a less aggressive breed than others and are more eager to spend time with you. Many of us who live as smallholders adopt this way of life in order to maintain a connection to the source of our food, whether it be through vegetable gardening or making sure that our livestock is treated humanely. The Orpington can go one step farther by permitting you to have a close relationship with your flock. Nobody wants to deal with a hostile cock or a henhouse full of hens that flee at the first sign of human presence, let’s face it. Compared to other breeds of chickens, orpingtons are more likely to permit close contact, so this situation needs to benefit everyone.

SELF-PERPETUATING This is where the Orpington really shines. They are notoriously broody. The majority of chicken keepers who raise their hens for eggs find this to be extremely frustrating. Here is a chicken that will not only provide us with eggs and meat, but it will also incubate, hatch, and raise its own replacements, which has us smallholders, or at least thrilled! What could possibly be better than that?.

Adult hens weigh on average 2. 7 – 3. 6kg and males 3. 6 – 4. 6kg. Although the dressed-out weight is obviously lower, they will still provide a sizable table weight. Orpingtons will differ from what you are used to if you have never raised your own birds for meat or if you have only ever raised broiler chickens. The supermarket-bought broiler chickens of today are genetically engineered to have abnormally large breast muscles. Traditional Orpingtons have less breast muscle, but don’t let that deter you.

#4: Bresse (dual purpose)

The Bresse chicken originates from France, but is rapidly becoming popular in the United States. They are often pricy and sold out! They have white feathers and steel blue legs. Bresse chickens are a true dual purpose breed in that they will provide a fairly meaty carcass (in 16-20 weeks) while also providing 4-5 eggs per week once mature.

It’s claimed that the Bresse chicken yields the best-tasting, similarly marbled meat to that of beef. When they reach market weight, they weigh only 5 to 7 pounds, making them smaller than broiler chickens. They have a pleasant disposition, are simple to raise, and are good foragers.

  • Balanced proportion of white meat to dark meat
  • Because meat is older and has spent more time on pasture, it has more flavor (which can be a con, for some)
  • Compared to broilers, they are better foragers and less feed-driven (feed can stay in their space 24/7).
  • Finish out faster than most dual purpose breeds
  • Can be reared without a special chicken tractor using layers and a free-range environment.
  • Less prone to health issues than broilers
  • More weather tolerant than broilers
  • Are a purebred and can be reproduced on the homestead
  • Good for egg production (200 cream eggs/year)
  • less cost-effective to raise than broilers because they gain one pound of weight for every four pounds of feed eaten.
  • Lowest amount of edible meat at 65% of live weight
  • Because it is older and more active during processing, meat can be tougher and leaner.
  • They are a smaller bird (only 4-7 lbs)
  • Compared to the Cornish Cross, it is more feathered and has underlying hairs.
  • They don’t grow as evenly as the Cornish Cross does.
  • White coloring makes them attractive to aerial predators
  • Can be expensive and hard to find

FAQ

Are Orpingtons used for meat?

The Orpington is considered a dual-purpose bird for eggs and table meat. This fowl has ornamental uses. In 1886, the Black Orpington was the winner of the Grand Prize at the Crystal Palace Poultry Show in London.

What are the best chickens for meat?

Cornish, Plymouth Rock and New Hampshire breeds are the most economical meat strains. These crosses feather rapidly and mature early and have the most economical conversion of feed to poultry meat. Some flock owners use White or Barred Plymouth Rocks, Rhode Island Reds and New Hampshires for meat.

What age do you butcher Buff Orpington chickens?

Historically, Orpington chickens made excellent broilers weighing 2 to 2.5 pounds at 8 to 10 weeks of age, excellent roasting chickens at 5 months of age, and excellent old fowl for the table as well. Males typically weigh 10 pounds and females 8 pounds. They’re first-rate layers of large light to dark brown eggs.

Are Orpington chickens good to eat?

The Buff Orpington is a delightful chicken perfect for children or beginners. A favorite among backyard chicken keepers, these large dual-purpose breeds are excellent egg layers while being equally suitable for the table. Quick to mature, hardy, and friendly, they are easy to keep and fun to have around.