What breed of chicken should I raise for meat production?

Small and Backyard Flocks September 28, 2012 Print Friendly and PDF

If you wish to raise chickens for meat production, consider raising the fast-growing broiler breed Cornish cross. This breed was developed by crossing the large-breasted Cornish and the white Plymouth Rock breeds. These birds can reach 4 to 5 lb. in six weeks and 6 to 10 lb. in ten weeks, depending on management conditions (especially housing and nutrition).

Cornish cross chickens do not do have the same level of performance in pasture or free-range systems. In Europe there is a large market for slower growing meat-type chickens. Some of these breeds have been imported into the United States and have recently become available for purchase. They are typically raised for 11 to 12 weeks and are therefore closer to sexual maturity than commercial broilers. Because they grow more slowly than the typical commercial broiler chicken, they are said to have more flavor.

For more information about selecting a chicken breed, refer to the article on Selecting the right chicken breed.

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.