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Anyone breed any crosses for the table? 

 

Just wondering what the best tasting birds are? I've just got some cobbs that I incubated

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Posted (edited)

I'm certainly no expert, so if anyone contradicts me then take their advice in preference.

I've never bred any chickens for the table myself, but have helped out friends with farms and smallholdings in my time. My limited experience has led me to the conclusion that the different breeds and crosses influence the size of the eventual bird and how quickly it might be ready. However, I am also convinced that what really influences the flavour is not the breed but the environment. Happy unstressed birds consistently taste better. Birds on a good diet tend to have a fuller flavour than those having to scrape their existence. Birds that exercise plenty and use their muscles tend to have a slightly richer - perhaps even gamier - flavour. And, of course, birds that have come to the end of their egg-laying days are already well past the point of being roasted (one reason why my girls don't end up in a pot, but are allowed to "retire" in recognition of having looked after us in their earlier days).

Does that help at all? Given you already breed birds, I'm guessing I'm saying things you already have an opinion on.

Edited by majorbloodnock

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Depends very much on your taste. UK type 'mushy which sticks to your teeth' battery chicken doesn't exist here. Chickens get to run about as as a result taste far better with meat that has texture/ substance. If you let your Cobbs move about they may be OK, but with these supermarket breeds flesh growth exceeds bone growth and they just break.

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No actual practical experience but I have a friend in Northumberland who has Wellsummers as table birds aside from her eggers. I know that she did a fair amount of research before choosing to go in that direction.....

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We eat our spare cockerels from hatches that are mainly for replacing our layers - so over the years we've eaten a variety of different breeds.  So far the tastiest (and meatiest) have been marans and scots dumpies - both of which are breeds traditionally kept for dual purpose.  I must admit I struggle to eat commercially produced chicken (I'm very fussy about what meat I will eat) - just doesn't taste of much and, as Beantree says, it's mushy.  I'm tempted to hatch specifically for meat  next year but I think I'll stick to traditional breeds - I'd like to try either Dorking or Ixworth if I can find them.

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A friend crosses a commercial table breed (Cobb or County Gold, I think) with Indian Game, which gives a slower growing bird with richer flavoured meat.

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I've had several groups of commercial birds in the past and I'm really not a fan; they have their place on commercial farms and smallholders set up for batch style rearing but I struggled with a large group (6, 12, more) all needing dispatching and dressing at the same time and then needing freezer space. There are dozens of varieties of Cobb etc too, some more suited for free ranging than others.

We now keep the chicks we hatch for the table, at the moment have three Marans which will be for the table. If I were going to breed or keep birds specifically for the table I'd get Ixworth every time.

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