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If you’ve never maintained chickens before, you may be surprised to find that there are separate hen breeds for egg and meat production. While the best egg layers are not always the best tasting or fastest-growing meat producers, certain breeds excel at both.
When it comes to raising chickens for consumption, you want to choose a breed that tastes well and produces an abundance of meat in a short period. And when you’re looking for hens to lay eggs, you do the same thing: you look for chickens with a high egg production rate.
Certain hens, on the other hand, are suitable for both uses, and these are the ones we shall discuss in this article.
Chickens For Egg-laying
Egg-laying breeds have a thinner frame than other breeds because they devote their resources to egg production rather than fattening up. Additionally, they are less prone to become broody, since when hens sit on eggs, they stop laying and will not begin until their babies have fled.
The two most popular egg-laying hybrid chicken breeds are Golden Comets and Cinnamon Queens. Both breeds may deposit up to 320 eggs in their first year of laying.
Chickens For Meat
If you don’t want eggs and are just interested in meat chickens for your new farm, choose Cornish Crosses, which are identical to Golden Comets in terms of egg production.
Cornish cross meat chickens are a hybrid meat chicken kind that develops to butchering size at six weeks of age. These birds should not be maintained alive for an extended period beyond ten weeks.
Chickens With Dual-Purpose
Dual-purpose hens are birds that may be raised for both eggs and meat. In most cases, you’ll rear a chicken like this primarily for egg production during its prime egg-laying years (one to three years) before slaughtering it for meat.
Due to the difficulty of obtaining meat at this age, establishing a larger flock, retaining some of the birds as egg layers, and then culling the younger birds each year is an excellent idea.
Why Should You Consider Purchasing a Dual-Purpose Chicken?
Numerous advantages accrue from growing dual-purpose chickens. Raising one dual-purpose chicken is similar to parenting two but with the attention of one (you save the work associated with keeping two chickens).
You have complete control over the diet and living conditions of your hens, which results in happier birds and higher-quality eggs and meats for you!
What Traits Distinguish a Dual-purpose Chicken?
- Produce copious amounts of eggs and meat.
Dual-purpose hens lay over 200 eggs every year. Chickens develop to a plump size and are good table birds in general. Fowl raisers with dual-purpose breeds may continue to employ retired egg layer birds. While the meat has lost its tenderness, it is perfect for slow-cooked meals like stews.
- Tender Meat at a Young Age
Dual-purpose strains are great for obtaining tender chicken meat. You’ll get the most tender, juicy chicken meat if you cut them in half at a young age.
- Hens Make Outstanding Mothers.
The hens are renowned for being great layers that are not too broody. Additionally, they make great organic incubators. If you have dual-purpose hens, you will not need brooders or incubators.
Therefore, if you’re looking for the best dual-purpose bird breeds for your coop, you’re at the correct spot! The following is a list of the greatest hens for egg production and the finest roosters for meat production.
How Many Chickens for Eggs and Meat Do I Need?
So how do you determine how many chickens to purchase? The values change with time, and there is no one-size-fits-all method for determining them.
However, for personal family use, about two chickens per person are required, which will produce up to seven eggs each week, depending on the breed. For meat, you’ll need around 18 meat birds per person.
This, too, varies according to a range of factors. How much chicken does your family eat daily? Will you consume the whole bird or only the breasts? Will you debone it and make stock and crafts out of the bones and feathers?
Consider your family’s routines and needs before determining the number of chickens you needed.
Consider your spatial talents. How much room do you have for chickens? Do you own a large amount of land? Is it only a little backyard? This will affect both the kind and quantity of chickens you raise.
Which characteristics do you want to see in your flock? Do you want them to be impenetrable? Are they capable of becoming good free rangers? Are you very adept at escaping and fleeing from predators? Do you want them to be friendly lap chickens?
After you’ve answered these questions, consider the top dual-purpose breeds mentioned below.
Best Chickens for Meat and Egg Production
The Wyandotte, sometimes known as the American Sebright, is a dog breed that originated in the 1870s in the United States. It was called after the Wyandot tribe in North America.
It’s a popular dual-purpose breed that produces a large number of eggs, a substantial amount of meat, and a variety of colors and patterns. Additionally, it is a popular display bird.
The Wyandotte is a dual-purpose breed with a long history of being a great egg layer and meat producer in America. It is a breed that matures rapidly and is available in nine distinct color and patterning variants. The Wyandotte is a popular exhibition bird, particularly in Germany.
This dual-purpose chicken breed is the heaviest on the list. These birds have the potential to grow to be very enormous. They are excellent egg layers and lay eggs of medium size. Additionally, they come in a variety of colorful and interesting hues.
Orpingtons, in our view, are the finest dual-purpose bird on our list. This is because of their size, egg-laying capabilities, vibrant colors, and peaceful demeanors.
Orpingtons, like Wyandottes, come in a range of colors. The most generally known hues are buff, blue, white, and black. Numerous breeders have experimented with and developed a broad variety of colors and feather styles.
- Roosters of Brahma
Brahma chickens are one of the largest breeds in the world, with females reaching in at over ten pounds and males weighing in at approximately twelve pounds. They lay around 200 brown eggs every year and, because of their size and considerable feathering, do well in cold climates.
They do, however, need extra care because of the feathering on their feet, which must be kept clean or the chickens risk losing their nails and even toes, which may get infected and potentially fatal.
- Rhode Island Reds
Without Rhode Island Reds, the list of dual-purpose breeds would be incomplete. Although the Rhode Island Red is a smaller dual-purpose chicken breed than some of the other kinds on our list, it is still a substantial meat bird.
Additionally, they lay enormous brown eggs and are outstanding egg layers. This is almost certainly one of the most massive and prolific egg layers on the list.
Due to their foraging abilities, Rhode Island Reds have a higher feed-to-production ratio than some of the other dual-purpose chickens on our list. This entails feeding them less to increase their output (meat and/or eggs).
5. Egyptian Fayoumi
Although the Egyptian Fayoumi is not often included on lists of the greatest birds for eggs and meat, we feel it deserves to be. This bird matures rapidly and produces a big number of eggs before it is ready for the dinner table.
These vivacious forages flourish in hot climates (thus the name) and may get out of control! They are not aggressive, but their resilience to illness is well-documented.
Although they are among the smallest dual-purpose birds you may maintain, weighing just four or five pounds, they are nevertheless worth considering.
- Australorp nigra
Another good chicken species is the Black Australorp, which is recognized as one of the finest dual-purpose chicken breeds. Their biggest claim to fame is their extraordinary ability to lay eggs. They set the record for the most eggs laid by a hen in a single year.
At the moment, this huge breed is one of the most popular dual-purpose chickens. The Australorp has been adopted as a family pet due to its friendly attitude. They are large, and they are packed with meat.
If you live in a cold area and wish to raise a wonderful dual-purpose breed, the Chantecler is an excellent choice. This bird is quiet and develops rapidly, both in terms of egg production and meat production.
It is an exceptional free-ranger, rummaging for food. Males average around nine pounds, while girls average approximately seven pounds. They, too, will be slain in less than four months.
- The Rock of Plymouth
The Plymouth Rock (also known as Barred Rocks due to its color) is one of America’s oldest chicken breeds. It was a breed that could be found across the country, and during WWII, it was a vital source of meat and eggs for our country.
The appearance of black and white stripes on the plumage is the most distinctive feature of these birds. The bars vary according to gender and kind.
As with many other chickens raised in northern areas, the Plymouth Rock is hardy, disease-free, and can endure extreme temperatures. They have a reputation for thriving in a range of surroundings and possessing amiable attitudes.
- A star in black
The Black Star chicken is a hybrid, one of the few available dual-purpose hybrids. This chicken is an exceptional egg layer, producing up to 300 eggs each year. Roosters may grow to reach eight pounds in a short period, making them a good choice for a dual-purpose breed.
Roosters are easily identifiable by their black feathers and white dot on their heads. They are gregarious, laid-back hens who thrive in a broad variety of temperature conditions.
It’s unsurprising that the Australorp, otherwise known as the Australian Orpington, is such a versatile bird. What could be better than a chicken that is hardy enough to survive difficult circumstances, maintains a healthy weight, and lays an abundance of gorgeous eggs?
The greatest dual-purpose chicken breeds are critical for the homestead since they provide both meat and eggs. Breed selection is one of those problems that elicit strong feelings in every chicken owner. Breed selection is just as critical as the coop’s location, design, and construction.
Starting a chicken farm is easy and does not require much money depending on your capacity and pocket. You can check the article I wrote about comparing layers or broilers chicken farming to decide on which to start.