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The Best Meat Chicken Breeds |TOP 15 Chickens For Producing Meat 2017

TOP 15 best meat chicken breeds

In the recent times, there seems to be a growing awareness among people about the consequences of what they eat, particularly meat, its source, and quality. Those that are not farmers started growing their food items by themselves such as vegetables, fruits and latter included meat in order to ensure that these food items are fresh and of high quality. 

While considering the source of their meat that could be grown in their backyard, most people opted for chicken broilers generally known for their enormous quantity of meat and their rapid rate of growth within a short period of time.

On the average, they could weigh between 4 and 5 pounds and could go up to 10 pounds within a short period of 10 weeks only, thereby, meeting the quantity of meat considered adequate for an average family within such a short period of time.

For the reasons stated above, people desirous of developing a self-sustaining life style, see the raising and breeding of broilers in their backyard as a viable option; hence, the need to identify best chicken breeds for meat.

1. Delaware

Delaware chicken

Delaware is a beautiful and bulky dual purpose chicken breed, purposely reared for its great quantity of meat with delicious taste. It originated from the United States.

It is a cross-breed developed between New Hampshire Red and Barred Plymouth Rocks with the sole aim of retaining the profuse egg-laying tradition of these breeds and to attain increased quantity and taste of its meat.

 Their major variety is white in color and has the ability to lay about 280 jumbo brown eggs in a year. It is one of the renowned meat chicken breeds that are fast in growth and maturity.

Egg production (Annual)

280

Harvest time (Weeks)

12

Weight (Male)

8.5 lbs

Weight (Hen)

6.5 lbs

2. The Cornish

Cornish Cross chicken

Cross is a notable hybrid chicken ranked very high among the best chicken breeds with the outstandingly large quantity of meat; they are usually white in color.

It has a very rapid rate of growth and matures within a short period of between 6 and 8 weeks of age. While the male weighs up to 12 pounds, the female weighs up to 8 pounds. Due to the quick growth and maturity, it could equally be harvested within a short period of time.

Other notable features of the breed include broad breasts, large thighs and the very fine taste of its large quantity of meat; hence, its consideration by commercial meat producers as one of the best breed of backyard chickens for meat. However, their activity level is very low due to the very fast pace of their growth and maturity.

Egg production (Annual)

160-180

Harvest time (Weeks)

8-9

Weight (Male)

12 lbs

Weight (Hen)

8 lbs

3. New Hampshire

New Hampshire chicken

The New Hampshire is yet; another chicken breeds renowned both for the large quantity of egg it can lay in a year as well as a large amount of its meat. It originated from the United States and is bred purposely for its meat; they mature fast and are commonly used as roasters and broilers.

They have standard and bantam varieties. Within a period of one year, it can lay up to 280 large brown eggs and start to lay eggs between 18 and 21 weeks of age. Because of its sterling features, it is nicknamed “the Chicken of Tomorrow”.

While the males weigh up to 8.5 pounds, the females weigh about 6.5 pounds; they tolerate adverse weather conditions and are known to be broody and quiet. Besides, they make good mothers as well.

However, notwithstanding its enviable features, New Hampshire roosters are known to be a bit aggressive and scramble for the hens, particularly, where the females are inadequate within their flock.

Egg production (Annual)

200

Harvest time (Weeks)

8-10

Weight (Male)

8.5 lbs

Weight (Hen)

6.5 lbs

4. Jersey Giant

Jersey Giant chicken

This is yet, another notable chicken breed for meat; it has three major color variants of white, blue and black. They are pure breed, very large in size. Incidentally, its rate of growth and development is considered to be slow when compared with other breeds in its category.

The harvesting time lies between 16 and 21 weeks; due to the slow rate of growth and maturity, it is not considered ideal by commercial breeders but yet appreciated as a backyard chicken breed.

While the male weighs up to 15 pounds, the hen weighs up to 11 pounds. Although the Jersey Giant is known to be calm, they roosters are known to be a bit aggressive. However, it is generally bred for its large amount of meat.

Egg production (Annual)

150 - 200

Harvest time (Weeks)

16 - 21

Weight (Male)

11 -15 lbs

Weight (Hen)

9 - 11 lbs

5. Bresse

Bresse chickens

The Bresse is one of the best chicken breeds reared for meat; they are large in size with blue feet; it is regarded as very popular and expensive bird. Its meat is acknowledged globally, as having the best taste among the other breeds of chickens; hence, it is a famous breed.

The variant colors are black, white and gray; the male weighs 7 pounds while the hen weighs up to 5 pounds. It is known to be very tender and has a very attractive appearance.

However, while it is famous for the large quantity and very nice taste of its meat, it does not possess as much meat as the Cornish Cross or the Jersey Giant.

Egg production (Annual)

250

Harvest time (Weeks)

16 - 20

Weight (Male)

7 lbs

Weight (Hen)

5 lbs

6. Orpington

Orpington chicken

This is yet, one of the best breeds for both their eggs and meat; it has a broad body with three variant colors of white, black, blue and buff. They are usually not very big in size and are mostly used as broilers due to their tender meat with a pleasant taste.

Orpington breed is equally for its ability to many eggs and could lay up to 180 per annum. While their roosters weigh 10 pounds, their hens weigh 8 pounds. Generally, their rate of growth is slow and is due for harvesting when they attain between 18 and 24 weeks of age.

They are gentle, friendly and make great garden pets.

Egg production (Annual)

180

Harvest time (Weeks)

18 - 24

Weight (Male)

6 - 8 lbs

Weight (Hen)

8 - 10 lbs

7. Freedom Rangers

Freedom Rangers chicken

The Freedom Rangers is across-breed intentionally developed for it to function as a good pasture-fed meat chicken. They are particularly bred for the pesticide-free meat market; this makes it a special breed when you are considering chicken breeds for meat.

They are predominantly Red in color; other variants include tricolor, black and some with shades of bronze and gray. It takes a longer period of time to grow and mature for meat; the harvesting time is between 9 and 11 weeks.

While the males weigh 6 pounds, the hens weigh up to 4.5 pounds. They thrive on low protein feeds and are good foragers. Freedom Rangers breed is, therefore, very easy to breed and love to roam about in spacious nests; hence, ideal for the free-range setting.

Egg production (Annual)

144-192

Harvest time (Weeks)

9- 11

Weight (Male)

4.5 lbs

Weight (Hen)

6 lbs

8. Brown Leghorn

Brown Leghorn chicken

The Brown and White Leghorns are essentially the same in their characteristics and are dual purpose chickens bred for both eggs- laying and for the quantity and quality of its meat. It has other color variants such as buff, black, white and red. They can lay up to 280 eggs in a year.

While the rooster weighs 6 pounds, the hen weighs 4.4 pounds; their harvest time is between 15 and 20 weeks. Both the eggs and the meat usually have great taste.

It is a very good forager and could tolerate hot climate. However, cocks could be a bit aggressive some of the times, but the breed is reputed to be among the greatest egg-layers with very decent and tasteful meat; hence, a notable dual purpose chicken breed.

Egg production (Annual)

280

Harvest time (Weeks)

15 - 20

Weight (Male)

6 lbs

Weight (Hen)

4.4 lbs

9. Egyptian Fayoumi

Egyptian Fayoumi chicken

The Egyptian Fayoumi is yet another dual purpose chicken reared for both its high productivity and good meat. The major color is silver; it has a very quick rate of growth and development. For this reason, they could be ripe for harvesting between 14 and 18 weeks of age.

While the male weighs 5 pounds, the female could weigh up to 4 pounds. Besides, it is a very active bird as well as a well-known chicken breed for its ability to resist diseases

The Egyptian Fayoumi chicken breed is equally known as a good forager; the meat and the eggs have a very great taste too.

However, they are hardly aggressive but could be flighty.

Egg production (Annual)

240

Harvest time (Weeks)

14 - 18

Weight (Male)

5 lbs

Weight (Hen)

4 lbs

10. Turke​​​​n (Naked Neck)

Turken (Naked Neck) chicken

The Turken (Naked Neck) chicken breed took its name from the close resemblance it has with Turkey, particularly, at its neck. Their variant colors include black, white, blue, buff and gray. It is well known for its large production of eggs and for its fine meat; hence, it is a dual purpose chicken breed.

It can lay up to 104 eggs annually; they are good backyard chickens and regarded as one of the best meat chickens; they thrive in any part of the country. Similarly, Turken breed tolerates vagaries of weather and could adapt very well to any situation which makes their breeding easy.

They can equally put on weight easily; the cock weighs up 6 pounds while the hen weighs 4 pounds. It has a harvesting period of between 11 and 18 weeks with very tasteful meat. They are known to be very good mothers as well as a meat chicken breed that are less prone to stress.

Egg production (Annual)

104

Harvest time (Weeks)

11 - 18

Weight (Male)

6 lbs

Weight (Hen)

4 lbs

11. Buckeye

Buckeye chicken

With the Buckeye chicken breed, we have an excellent dual purpose chicken breed with a high level of eggs production and quality meat. The major variant color is Mahogany red; they lay 200 eggs per annum and are known as lovers of cold weather.

Due to its ability to tolerate cold weather, it is considered as the ideal meat chicken breed best for the people living in the Northern parts of the United States. Besides, they are very much adaptable and resist diseases as well.

Their rooster weighs up to 9 pounds while their hen weighs about 6.5 pounds. The Buckeye chicken breed is known to be quiet and easy to control. Besides, it is one of the chicken breeds known to be highly adaptable and disease resistant.

Egg production (Annual)

200

Harvest time (Weeks)

18 - 24

Weight (Male)

9 lbs

Weight (Hen)

6 lbs

12. Chantecler

Chantecler chicken

Chantecler chicken is another breed that is very popular for both a high level of productivity and great meat. They are very good layers and have the ability to lay 200 eggs in a year and start laying eggs at an early age.

 Their rate of growth is rapid and they mature in good time too; white and partridge are its variant colors. The male could weigh up to 9 pounds while the female could weigh up to 5 pounds.

The Chantecler chicken breed is known to thrive in cold climate; they are good foragers and thrive well in a free- range environment too. As a result of these notable features, they are less costly to breed; hence, a popular choice among breeders of meat chickens.

Egg production (Annual)

200

Harvest time (Weeks)

11 - 16

Weight (Male)

9 lbs

Weight (Hen)

5 lbs

13. Brahma

Brahma chicken

Brahma breed is a popular dual purpose chicken breed from the heritage lineage. It is specifically reared for meat production as a result of its large size and the mass of its meat; hence, it is regarded as one of the best chicken breeds for meat. Their variant colors include blue, white, buff, gold and dark.

It can lay 120 eggs per annum; start laying their large brown eggs at an early age; while some of the cocks weigh up to 18 pounds, some of the hens can way up to 13 pounds. On the average, the cock weighs about 12 pounds, while the hen weighs 9.9 pounds; the males are bigger than the females. 

The Brahma breed has a peculiar feature of being feather-legged and they are known to be good mothers. Despite its huge size, it is calm, family friendly and reared in some cases as pets and for ornamental purposes.

Besides, it tolerates adverse climatic conditions and lay eggs during the winter period. However, it is averagely broody.

Egg production (Annual)

120

Harvest time (Weeks)

20 - 32

Weight (Male)

13 lbs

Weight (Hen)

9.9 lbs

14. Croad Langshan

Croad Langshan chicken

This is a heavy meat chicken breed with black soft feathers and green lining which makes the appearance beautiful. It is very likely to have originated from China; has feathered legs like the Brahma breed and have the capacity to lay up to 150 eggs per annum; it is one of the most popular dual purpose chicken breeds.

The variants are black and blue in color.  While the males weigh up to 9.5 pounds, the females weigh about 7.5 pounds; they have a quick rate of growth and mature within a short period of time. They are quiet, broody and well known as a strong and intelligent chicken breed with commendable longevity.

 Due to its large quantity of meat, ability to lay many eggs in a year, and their good temperament, the Croad Langshan breed is a popular choice for farmers and other types of breeders.

Egg production (Annual)

140 - 150

Harvest time (Weeks)

14- 18

Weight (Male)

9.5 lbs

Weight (Hen)

7.5 lbs

15. Rhode Island Red

Rhode Island Red chicken

This will serve as a guide for anyone who needs to make a choice from the various chicken breeds readily available; hence, the list of 15 best chicken breeds for meat highlighted below Their males weigh up to 8.5, while their hens weigh up to 6.5 pounds; they are hardy and tolerate vagaries in climatic conditions. Besides, they are calm and friendly.

Rhodes Island Red is another dual purpose chicken that comes from the Heritage breeds. It equally originated from the United States and it is one of the best dual purpose chickens bred for both a lot of eggs they can lay within a year as well as for their large quantity of meat.

This cross- breed chicken species usually have a pale pink color and can lay up to 260 large brown eggs in a year.  They have a quick rate of growth and can start to lay eggs when they attain between 18 and 24 weeks of age.  At maturity, the males weigh 8.7 pounds whereas, the layers averagely, weigh 6.5 pounds.

Its enviable features include broodiness, hardiness, calm temperaments, as well as being a renowned forager that could feed on grass which, particularly, singles it out as a chicken breed that is very easy to breed, since they can fend for themselves, even with little supply of prepared feeds.

Besides, they are friendly, active, but could be a bully to other chicken breeds; hence, the need to breed them separately.

Egg production (Annual)

260

Harvest time (Weeks)

12- 16

Weight (Male)

8.7 lbs

Weight (Hen)

6.5 lbs

Conclusion

From the foregoing, we searched for and highlighted the chicken breeds known to serve the dual purpose of having the capacity to lay many eggs in a year, as well as possessing large quantity and quality of chicken meat with delicious taste.

This was conducted in order to respond positively to the seemingly growing awareness and concern among many people, about the source and quality of what they eat, with particular regards to meat they consume.

Therefore, the list of 15 best chicken breeds for meat, would serve as a guide to any one in need of such information in order to make informed decisions with regards to the suitable chicken breeds or their combinations that could be reared within backyards in order to serve as reliable source of fresh and quality meat to various families.

Jeanne
 

My name is Jeanne. I’m a homesteader who loves to inspire others to return to their roots, learn new skills, and embark on their own homestead journey.

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