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Friday, December 31, 2010

Buckeye Chickens, A True Dual Purpose Breed?

Through the years, we have raised different breeds of chickens in our quest for a true dual-purpose bird. Realizing that no standard breed of chicken was going to have the enormous breast of the Cornish X, we  looked for a breed that would give a decent carcass by 16 weeks. We never found a breed that was truly satisfactory and raised a batch of Cornish cross chickens each year for the freezer.
I had been attracted to the Buckeye chickens for some years but never followed up until this fall when I ordered 25 pullet and two cockerel chicks from Stromberg’s. What actually pushed me into action was finding this evaluation guide published by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy. This guide details how to select for meat qualities and growth rate. Good stuff to know, and the photos that accompany the explanations are of Buckeye chickens. I got into gear and was fortunate enough to get my order in for a 9/22 hatch.
These chicks are feathering out quickly, which is fantastic news in my climate. They have the most unusual temperaments of any chicks I’ve raised. They are alert and active but not flighty. Any movement draws their attention and they meet me at the brooder door at feeding.
The first evaluation takes place when the birds are 8 weeks old. In  less than 3 weeks we will be assessing the birds; I'm excited. They are assessed again at 16 weeks which coincides with butchering time. Then we will know for sure what kind of table birds these Buckeyes make.

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