Meat Chicken Breeds

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Meat Chicken Breeds

Meat Chickens:

easy diy chicken coop plans meat chickensMeat chickens are breeds that have been bred over the years to produce the highest amount of meat possible per each bird. They are usually large with broad chests and big thighs and tend to look like the football players of the chicken breeds. Meat chickens are usually poor egg producers, although there are several dual-purpose breeds that have both a decent amount of meat and lay a good amount of eggs.  The breed you choose will probably depend on your purpose. Do you want a good all-around bird for your backyard that will provide your family with eggs but also put meat on your table? Then you likely would want to choose one of the dual-purpose breeds. But if you’re only raising chickens for meat and want a bird that will give you the highest meat yield, then stick with one of the following meat chicken breeds.

meat chickens meat chicken breeds

Cornish Cross commercial broiler

The first type is not technically a breed, but rather a hybrid cross known as the Cornish Cross or Cornish Rock. It is a cross between the White Cornish and the Plymouth Rock. It is the primary breed used by those raising chickens for meat as well as by the commercial chicken meat industry today. They grow fast and have a very broad, well-muscled body. So much so, that if left to grow, they can actually collapse under their own weight. These birds are usually slaughtered between 6 – 10 weeks.

Next of the meat chickens is the Cornish. As mentioned above, it is used for creating the Cornish Rock, but it is also a good meat bird in its own right. The Cornish is a popular choice for those raising chickens for meat that are not interested in hybrid crosses. It is known for having good meat quality as well as good flavor. It is another fast growing breed that has a large broad body and wide set legs. It has nice light flesh that dresses easily. Cornish are great for broilers or fryers.

meat chickens meat chicken breeds raising chickens for meat

Dark Cornish Hen

Due to its size, the Jersey Giant also falls in the class of being one of the good meat chickens. Although technically it is a dual-purpose breed, as it has decent egg laying capability, they excel at meat production as well. It used to be well used in the commercial meat industry, but due to its slower growth, has mainly been replaced by the Cornish Rocks. But if you don’t mind the slower growth and are interested in a heritage breed, the Jersey Giant is a great choice. They also make a good choice for producing large, excellent capons – a castrated rooster known for very tender and flavorful meat.

meat chicken breeds raising chickens for meat

Buff Orpington

Now if you want good meat chickens but also want eggs, then other good dual-purpose breeds aside from the Jersey Giant would be the Plymouth Rock, Orpington, and Buckeye. Each of these breeds lay a decent amount of eggs and are also great quality meat chickens.



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7 Response to Meat Chicken Breeds

  1. Gretchen on November 16, 2012

    Great post – I enjoy learning about the different breeds – after we get our chicks next year, we will have 11, but none of the bigger meat birds. I would love you to link up this and other posts on my permanent chicken link up:

    • Sarah on November 16, 2012

      Thanks! Hope you enjoy your 11 chicks :)
      Will head on over and link-up!

  2. on November 22, 2012

    Great post. I used to be checking continuously this blog and I’m inspired! Very useful info particularly the closing section :) I handle such info a lot. I used to be seeking this certain info for a very long time. Thank you and good luck.

  3. HaxW on November 24, 2012

    I was looking at and I believe this website has some really useful stuff on it! Nice articel about meat chickens.

  4. ceci groce on February 4, 2013

    Ive read here that the white leghorn isnt a good meat bird, but Ive heard of them called “Fried Chicken Specials” also

    • Sarah @ Backyard Chicken Keeping on February 5, 2013

      They really don’t make a great meat bird as there’s just not a lot of meat on them. The Leghorn is a much more scrawny breed as they put their efforts into egg production rather than meat/muscle production. But since the roosters don’t lay eggs, I do know many people who raise Leghorns for eggs will then use the roos for meat. Even though there isn’t much meat, it still is chicken meat! So that may be where you’ve seen them used as fryers.

  5. thalia b on March 4, 2013

    very nice post, i definitely love this fabulous website, keep up the good work!


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