How to Select the Best Tasting Meat Chicken Breeds
If taken in healthy quantities and the right balanced with other foods such as fruits and vegetables, a chicken meat can be a great inclusion to one’s diet.
For one, it is a rich source of protein, associated with less chance of cancer compared to other meat types and it is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals.
The demand for chicken meat is steadily increasing. As a result, the supply spikes up with such high demand. The surge in demand for chicken meat has spawned a number of speculation.
The most common of these is that chicken that is grown commercially are injected with grown hormones that are potentially harmful to humans.
One fact remains certain—raising chicken for meat remains to be the safest and the cheapest way to have a fresh and clean supply of chicken meat whenever needed. Also, it could be a viable course of additional income.
The best meat chicken breeds are called broilers. They are bred to grow the fastest among other breeds of chicken. Next is the dual-purpose chicken that is grown for both their meat and their eggs.
Things to Consider First
Before choosing the breed of chicken you’ll grow for meat, you need to consider a number of factors first. Among these are:
Some broilers grow fast. Usually, within five weeks a broiler can weigh up to 4-5 pounds already. If you plan on raising chicken for their meat and you select broilers, make sure that they have enough space to move around.
They tend to grow fast, so it’s ideal to prepare a large coop. Limited space will stress the chicken out, make them a bit hostile and can encourage the growth and spread of disease-causing bacteria.
Water source and drainage
Chickens poop frequently. Before you know it, your coop might be filled with chicken poop. If you’re operating in a tight space, you run the risk of spreading disease among the chicken.
Be sure that can access a water source for cleaning the coop regularly and that the water is drained properly. A clean coop is essential for the health of the chicken.
There are three general breed types of chicken. The first type is broiler. This type of chicken is the best for meat. The second is the dual-purpose type. They’re bred both for eggs and meat. The third is a layer. They are bred purely for their eggs.Broilers grow fast, and their meat is soft and ideal for consumption. Dual-purpose type has a good meat as well, but they grow slower compared to broilers. Egg layers are the longest to grow. Their meat is also hard and may not be ideal for consumption.
Best Chicken Breeds for Meat
#1 Cornish Cross
Cornish Cross is a hybrid of the White Rock chicken and the Commercial Cornish chicken. What makes this breed ideal for a backyard chicken is a speed at which Cornish Cross grows.
Within six weeks, a Cornish game hen can reach up to 4.5 pounds while a cockerel can reach up to 6 pounds. They grow so fast that their legs can’t keep up and might sustain an injury if they are allowed to keep growing for breeding or egg laying.
This breed feeds even at night accelerating their growth. This breed can be butchered as early as its fourth week.It is, however, advisable that Cornish Cross be limited to 10 weeks. Beyond this time, the chicken will suffer from a number of health problems because of too much weight and inactivity.
What’s good about its fast growth is that the meat is not only tasty but soft, as well. The taste and softness of the meat along with the fast growth of Cornish Cross make it the best choice for the broiler.
If you prefer high-quality meat over fast growth, then Bresse is the best broiler to have. The famous gastronome Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savrin used to refer to Bresse as the "queen of poultry…" and the "poultry of kings".
This chicken is reportedly the best tasting chicken in the world that’s why it’s among the most expensive chicken.
Bresse is difficult to raise. You need a lot of space because the chicken needs to be kept in free range for four months or more. Also, after they reach their 35th day, they are restricted to a diet of dairy products and cereals.
The low protein content in their diet forces the chicken to feed on insects. Feeding on insects should make their meat taste good. After a period of insect foraging, they will be kept in a cage located in a darkened area.
They are then fed with milk and corn to fatten them for two weeks. Only then will they be butchered for meat.
Bresse meat can cost as much as $25 per kilo. It might be difficult to grow Bresse but it returns afterward is all worth it.
#3 Jersey Giant
The Jersey Giant is among the largest of the broiler type chicken breeds. They can weigh as much as 13 pounds. The downside is, this breed grows slowly.
You need to grow them for at least 16 months before they’re ready for harvest. One advantage, however, is that hens lay extra-large eggs. While you are waiting for them to be ready, you can use them as layers.
Jersey Giant is not commonly grown for a commercial purpose not only because of its slow growth but because they require a lot of time and food. They are ideal in backyard chicken coops, however.
Originally, Jersey Giants were bred to replace turkey. They make closely resemble turkey in size, however, but they are no nearer to its flavor. Jersey Giant, however, taste good still.
If you want this breed, be prepared for its food. The best thing to do to lessen the expenses for food is to grow its food.
If you want a chicken that can serve as a layer but has a tender meat with excellent flavor, then the Orpington breed is best for you.
Orpington is great egg layers. They can produce more than 200 eggs a year making them a layer-type breed of chicken. They are very docile and is perfect for backyard coops.
While you are waiting for this chicken to reach its peak age, you can enjoy it as a layer. However, this chicken as a tender and very flavorful meat making it one of the best breed of chicken for meat out there.
It would be safe to say that this chicken is close to, if not better, than Bresse.
#5 Freedom Rangers
Perhaps the healthiest and the most natural of the chicken breeds are the Freedom Rangers. They are perfect for free-range and can survive on a low-protein diet.
What’s attractive about them is that you don’t need to maintain them that much. They will thrive on corn and bugs and can scout food off fields very efficiently.
This breed is meant for a pesticide-free market for meat. A downside of growing chicken in free range and low-protein diet, however, is the slow growth. It may take time before they’re ready to harvest.
If you grow a lot of Freedom Rangers, however, and if you raise them along with other breeds, the time it takes before they are ready for harvest won’t matter.
This breed, however, has a characteristic flavor that most people love. It may take the time to grow this chicken, but the results may be worthwhile, after all.
Growing your chicken in your background will allow you access to the type of meat you want which is free from hormones and medicines.
If you have the space available and can allocate time and effort, the best chicken to raise is the Bresse chicken. They are very prized for their flavor and quality. You can either sell them or enjoy luxury chicken meat for consumption.If you have limited space, but still want to have a tasty chicken, Orpington is best for you. It might take time before they are ready for harvest, but you can enjoy them as egg layers while waiting.
If you prefer faster harvest time, then Cornish Cross is the best for you. You can harvest as quickly as four months. With Cornish Cross, you can harvest a lot of chicken per space available over a year. This is ideal if you intend to sell the meat.
Do you agree with the list of meat chicken breeds we prepared? Do you have any suggestion? Feel free to leave a remark in the comment section below.