What's the best dual-purpose breed?
PUBLISHED: 13:30 22 May 2014
We've just got ourselves an incubator and are starting to try to hatch some chicks. What's the best dual-purpose breed we can get so that we can fatten the cocks and use the hens for eggs?
Andy Cawthray says:
There are some great dual purpose breeds out there that are rare and need some help such as the Ixworth, New Hampshire Red or the La Flèche, but good utility examples can be hard to source. Given this is your first time hatching I would look out for a strain of Sussex, Plymouth Rock or Rhode Island Red where the breeder has specifically focused on the utility qualities, for example pullets that lay on average 200 eggs in their first year and fast growing cockerels who dress out around the 5-7lb mark. My reason for stressing the breeder’s motivations is that many of the useful assets of breeds that serve both the egg and meat requirements of smallholding have been forgotten in the pursuit of plumage perfection. There is, however, a new groundswell in demand for more utility based strains in poultry resulting in many breeders selecting for those merits over those that score points on the show bench at exhibitions.