22 Best Meat Chickens to Raise in Your Backyard

Meat chicken breeds in a farm

Broiler chicken breeds stand out as the superstars of the poultry world, grown primarily for their meat. Basically, these birds have been selectively bred for generations to display rapid growth and meaty frames.

However, it is worth noting that different breeds offer varying sizes, growth rates, and feed conversion rates. Some also have a distinct taste profile or texture due to their unique genetic makeup.

In this article, we’ll review 22 of the best meat chickens out there. You’ll learn about the defining traits, benefits, and quirks of each. By the end, you’ll have a clearer picture of which aligns with your poultry goals.

22 Best Chicken Breeds for Meat

1. Cornish Cross

Cornish Cross
Image credit: wolterman_homestead / Instagram
Origin:United States
Rooster Weight:8–10 lbs
Hen Weight:6–8 lbs
Growth Rate:Fast (Ready for slaughter in 6–8 weeks)
Feed Efficiency:High (Excellent feed-to-meat conversion)
Meat Quality:Tender, juicy, and flavorful

Topping the list of meat chickens is the Cornish Cross, renowned as the swiftest-growing broiler breed today. Remarkably, these chickens can achieve market weight in a mere 6 to 8 weeks.

Among their famous types are the Cobb 500 and Ross 308, both of which are labeled as the Jumbo Cornish Cross, along with the Ross 708, often referred to as the Cornish Rock.

Concerning temperament, Cornish Cross chickens are notably docile. Their main interests revolve only around food and water, showing little curiosity for other activities or even their surroundings.

To learn the whole process of raising Cornish Cross chickens for meat, watch this video:

Cornish Cross - From Start to Finish


  • Easy to care for
  • Excellent feed conversion rate
  • Rapid growth rate


2. Brahma

Rooster Weight:9–12 lbs
Hen Weight:6–10 lbs
Growth Rate:Slow (Ready for slaughter in 20–26 weeks)
Feed Efficiency:Low (Poor feed-to-meat-conversion)
Meat Quality:Dark in color, robust taste, dense

Originating from China, the Brahma chicken is a standout among heritage breeds for its large size. These fowls can bulk up to 6 to 12 pounds within 20 to 26 weeks.

Although predominantly raised for their meat, Brahmas aren’t restricted to just that; they’re also proficient layers. They can produce as many as 200 eggs a year.

Meanwhile, their meat is distinct: it’s dark-hued, offers a rich flavor, and has a dense texture.

Beyond their culinary attributes, though, these chickens boast a personality that enthusiasts adore: they are affectionate, amiable, and remarkably docile, which makes them a delight to keep.


  • Loving, friendly, and docile
  • Hardy in cold weather
  • Good mothers


  • Slow to mature
  • Have a tendency to go broody
  • Require more feed

3. Orpington

Origin:Great Britain
Rooster Weight:8–10 lbs
Hen Weight:6–8 lbs
Growth Rate:Slow (Ready for slaughter in 22–26 weeks)
Feed Efficiency:Low (Poor feed-to-meat-conversion)
Meat Quality:Plump, juicy, tasty

A gem from Great Britain, the Orpington has a long history of producing meat. Specifically, those who’ve tasted these birds’ meat commend its premium quality — plump, succulent, and brimming with flavor.

Meanwhile, on the egg front, these chickens don’t disappoint either. They yield around 175 to 200 light-brown eggs annually.

Taking 22 to 26 weeks to mature, Orpingtons can achieve a weight bracket of 6 to 10 pounds. Yet, they are predisposed to obesity, so prospective owners should be careful not to overfeed them.

With regards to their demeanor, it’s nothing short of remarkable. These chickens are often recommended to novices in poultry raising due to their calm and gentle nature.


  • Can be great layers
  • Hardy in various climates
  • Large body size


  • Slow growth rate
  • Broodiness can be an issue
  • Can become obese

4. Jersey Giant

Jersey Giant
Origin:United States
Rooster Weight:11–15 lbs
Hen Weight:9–11 lbs
Growth Rate:Slow (Ready for slaughter in 16–24 weeks)
Feed Efficiency:Low (Poor feed-to-meat-conversion)
Meat Quality:Tender, savory, flavorful

Developed in the United States, the Jersey Giant is prized for its dual-purpose capabilities.

On the one hand, these fowls are esteemed for their delectable meat that can be used in a variety of ways. On the other hand, they don’t lag behind in egg production; they can lay up to 250 eggs per year.

One of the significant traits of Jersey Giants is their slow growth, though. They have a longer processing time, taking nearly 24 weeks to reach a hearty weight of 9 to 15 pounds.

Yet, while their size might seem daunting to some, these chickens are anything but aggressive. Renowned for their friendly disposition, they’re particularly fond of children.


  • Largest purebred chicken
  • Generally docile
  • Good meat yield


  • Slow to mature
  • Not as efficient in feed conversion
  • Might require larger nesting boxes and roosts

5. Croad Langshan

Croad Langshan
Rooster Weight:8–10 lbs
Hen Weight:6–8 lbs
Growth Rate:Slow (Ready for slaughter in 20–24 weeks)
Feed Efficiency:Low (Poor feed-to-meat-conversion)
Meat Quality:Rich, delicious, firm

The Croad Langshan is a notable contender among meat chicken breeds. Respected for both meat and egg production, these chickens ensure a hearty meal and consistent brown egg supply for poultry enthusiasts.

However, note that patience is essential when raising this breed. Croad Langshans mature slowly, which means they take longer to reach marketable weight than other chickens.

To be exact, they gain an impressive 6 to 10 pounds over a span of 20 to 24 weeks.

Yet, for those who are willing to invest, the rewards are plentiful. These birds display remarkable hardiness. For one thing, they can adapt seamlessly to diverse weather conditions.


  • Known for their firm meat
  • Hardy and adaptable
  • Strong immune system


  • Potential issues with feathered legs
  • Very rare in the United States
  • Slower growth rate

6. Plymouth Rock

Plymouth Rock
Origin:United States
Rooster Weight:8–9.5 lbs
Hen Weight:6–8 lbs
Growth Rate:Slow (Ready for slaughter in 20–24 weeks)
Feed Efficiency:Low (Poor feed-to-meat-conversion)
Meat Quality:Juicy, tasty, textured

Hailing from the United States, the Plymouth Rock is another dual-purpose breed. These chickens cater to both egg and meat demands. However, potential keepers should be prepared for a longer wait.

In order to achieve a desirable weight for slaughter, Plymouth Rocks require around 20 to 24 weeks. This extended growth period also implies a larger consumption of broiler feed.

Yet, what they might lack in rapid growth, these chickens make up for in temperament. Their low noise output makes them perfect for residential settings.

Their taste is noteworthy, too. Back on our family farm, we have the pleasure of raising Plymouth Rocks. Apart from the large size, their meat was juicy and textured with a rich flavor compared to the others.


  • Incredibly interactive and sociable
  • Low noise level
  • Common in the country


  • Slow maturity rate
  • Need tons of broiler feed
  • Roosters can be pretty aggressive

7. Delaware

Origin:United States
Rooster Weight:8–10 lbs
Hen Weight:6–8 lbs
Growth Rate:Fast (Ready for slaughter in 12–16 weeks)
Feed Efficiency:High (Excellent feed-to-meat-conversion)
Meat Quality:Flavorful, rich, soft

The Delaware chicken holds a unique spot among heritage breeds. Within 12 to 16 weeks, these birds can already tip the scales at a hefty 10 pounds. This showcases their prime suitability for meat production.

Still, note that their prowess isn’t confined to meat alone. Delawares are also proficient layers. On average, they offer up to 150 eggs in a year.

However, there’s a catch: their dwindling numbers make them a rare find. Hence, aspiring owners might need to comb specialized hatcheries to get their hands on these fast-growing birds.

In terms of temperament, you should be aware. Delawares, with their territorial nature, demand ample space. Specifically, a minimum of four square feet in the coop per chicken is recommended for optimal health.


  • Early maturity
  • Adaptable to confinement or free-range
  • Consume a low amount of feed


  • Can be pretty noisy
  • Declining in numbers
  • Known for being territorial

8. Freedom Ranger

Freedom Ranger
Image credit: churutabisfarm / Instagram
Rooster Weight:6–7 lbs
Hen Weight:5–6 lbs
Growth Rate:Fast (Ready for slaughter in 9–11 weeks)
Feed Efficiency:High (Excellent feed-to-meat-conversion)
Meat Quality:Tender, moist, high in Omega-3

Up next is a French chicken breed that’s known for its premium meat: the Freedom Ranger.

Basically, these chickens’ flesh is tender, succulent, and rich in omega-3. This makes them a top pick for those looking for a healthier meat option.

Ideal for free-range farming, Freedom Ranger chickens flourish when given space to roam. They have no problem foraging for their own food and can even eat insects.

Note, though, that being a hybrid, they don’t breed true, which can pose a challenge for consistent breeding.

As for their growth, they take a bit longer than Cornish Cross chickens. Typically, they’re ready for slaughter between 9 and 11 weeks. This timeline is a tad slower but ensures meat of unmatched quality.


  • Suitable for free-range systems
  • Richer flavor
  • Hardy and robust


  • Does not breed true
  • Aggressive tendencies
  • Slower growth compared to Cornish Cross chickens

9. Dixie Rainbow

Dixie Rainbow
Image credit: tacotamaletortillachickens / Instagram
Origin:United States
Rooster Weight:7–8 lbs
Hen Weight:5–6 lbs
Growth Rate:Fast (Ready for slaughter in 12–13 weeks)
Feed Efficiency:High (Excellent feed-to-meat-conversion)
Meat Quality:Fleshy, tasty, dense

Born and bred in the United States, the Dixie Rainbow stands as a versatile hybrid broiler breed. Yet, beyond meat, these birds have a knack for laying eggs, boasting an annual count of 200 to 250.

In terms of resilience, Dixie Rainbow chickens deserve a nod. They remain unfazed in diverse climates, whether it’s the sweltering summer or freezing winter.

However, like other fast-growers, a health concern lurks: they might develop ascites syndrome, so keepers need to stay vigilant.

When observing their personality, they exhibit a confident, sometimes territorial demeanor. Yet, it’s notable how these chickens warm up to those who care for them, which reflects their more amiable side.


  • Tolerant to various weather conditions
  • Can be raised for eggs
  • Easily tameable


  • Limited mobility
  • Can be slightly aggressive
  • Less common

10. Dorking

Rooster Weight:8–9 lbs
Hen Weight:6–7 lbs
Growth Rate:Slow (Ready for slaughter in 20–24 weeks)
Feed Efficiency:Low (Poor feed-to-meat-conversion)
Meat Quality:Juicy, tender, appetizing

Tracing its lineage to England, the Dorking chicken is celebrated for its meat. These fowls might generally take time to grow, but enthusiasts agree that their juicy, tender, and savory flesh is worth the wait. 

Taking as long as 24 weeks to achieve a marketable weight of 6 to 9 pounds, Dorkings do pose challenges. One is their inefficient feed-to-meat conversion.

In short, these birds require protein-rich feed in larger quantities. 

On another note, if you’re considering Dorking chicks for your coop, be ready to invest. Their rarity makes them a pricier option.


  • Ancient breed with a rich history
  • Great meat flavor and quality
  • Gentle and easy to tame


  • Rare and can be expensive
  • Slow processing time
  • Five-toed; may require special care

11. New Hampshire Red

New Hampshire Red
Origin:United States
Rooster Weight:6–8.5 lbs
Hen Weight:5–6.5 lbs
Growth Rate:Moderate (Ready for slaughter in 14–16 weeks)
Feed Efficiency:Middle (Fair feed-to-meat-conversion)
Meat Quality:Soft, fine-fibered, plump

Another United States native breed is the New Hampshire Red. These chickens offer high-quality meat. To be specific, soft, plump, and boasting a fine-fibered texture, they’re a great addition to any table.

Reaching their market weight within 14 to 16 weeks, New Hampshire Red chickens are not just swift to mature, but they are also beginner-friendly.

As a matter of fact, their energetic and amiable nature makes them easy to manage, even for those new to poultry keeping.

Beyond their pleasant demeanor, their robust health is another plus. They show considerable resilience against many common poultry diseases, which ensures fewer concerns for their keepers.


  • Resilient to various diseases
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Very energetic


  • Average growth rate
  • High tendency to go broody
  • Competitive with food

12. Kosher King

Kosher King
Image credit: kristenslittlefarm / Instagram
Origin:United States
Rooster Weight:6–7 lbs
Hen Weight:4–5 lbs
Growth Rate:Fast (Ready for slaughter in 11–12 weeks)
Feed Efficiency:High (Excellent feed-to-meat-conversion)
Meat Quality:Marbled, rich, moist

Originating from the United States, the Kosher King is a blend of the Barred Rock and Sussex breeds. This combo results in chickens that are ready for harvest just after 11 weeks, which is quite an impressive feat.

Yet, you’ll observe that Kosher Kings are on the lighter side when compared to other meat chickens on this list. Typically, they only weigh between 4 and 7 pounds.

Nonetheless, what they might lack in weight, they make up for in flavor. Their meat is distinctively marbled, and it delivers a moist and rich taste that’s hard to beat.

If you’re interested in buying these birds, though, prepare for a hunt. They are still limited and available from only select hatcheries.


  • Fast to mature
  • High feed efficiency
  • Marbled meat


  • Require more space
  • Less availability of breed-specific information
  • Not as common as other breeds

13. Ginger Broiler

Ginger Broiler
Origin:United States
Rooster Weight:6–7.5 lbs
Hen Weight:4–5.5 lbs
Growth Rate:Fast (Ready for slaughter in 10–14 weeks)
Feed Efficiency:High (Excellent feed-to-meat-conversion)
Meat Quality:Savory, easily chewed, lean

The Ginger Broiler is an exciting new addition from the United States, designed primarily for meat production.

In fact, many consider these birds a worthy alternative to the Cornish Cross, notably without the associated health issues like congestive heart failure or mobility problems.

Within a span of 10 to 14 weeks, Ginger Broilers are set for harvest. Meat enthusiasts often laud their output for its savory taste, lean texture, and easily chewable quality.

On the behavioral side, these chickens are quite the active bunch. They exhibit a strong penchant for foraging.

In addition, they thrive with dust baths, hanging mirrors, and perches; otherwise, they can become challenging to manage.


  • Not predisposed to leg problems
  • Fast growth rate
  • Ascites-resistant


  • Less common breed
  • Active nature can make them hard to manage
  • Not the best choice for breeding

14. Bresse

Rooster Weight:6–7 lbs
Hen Weight:4–5 lbs
Growth Rate:Moderate (Ready for slaughter in 16–20 weeks)
Feed Efficiency:Middle (Fair feed-to-meat-conversion)
Meat Quality:Firm, tasty, succulent

Hailing from France, the Bresse holds a significant title. These chickens are often referred to as the “most delicious chickens in France.” A bold claim, but those who’ve tasted them can attest to their juicy and flavorful meat.

Generally speaking, Bresse chickens take their time to mature, being ready for slaughter between 16 and 20 weeks.

Thus, prospective owners may need to plan ahead for their flock’s consumption if they want to raise this breed themselves.

Even though their taste is unparalleled, Bresse chickens are rare to find in the United States. Unfortunately, this scarcity translates to a higher price tag when you do find one.

As for their behavior, these birds maintain a calm demeanor, but don’t be fooled. They are known to be fiercely protective when needed.


  • Dubbed the “most delicious chicken in France”
  • High market value
  • Active foragers


  • Moderate maturity rate
  • Expensive to purchase
  • Uncommon in the United States

15. Chantecler

Rooster Weight:8–9 lbs
Hen Weight:6–7.5 lbs
Growth Rate:Slow (Ready for slaughter in 20–24 weeks)
Feed Efficiency:Low (Poor feed-to-meat-conversion)
Meat Quality:Low in fat, rich, flavorsome

Stemming from Canada, the Chantecler chicken is exceptional among dual-purpose breeds. These birds offer both quality meat and consistent egg production, making them a versatile choice for poultry keepers.

For instance, when it comes to their meat, expect low-fat content paired with a rich and flavorsome taste. However, patience is needed, as they take their time to mature, typically being ready for slaughter in 20 to 24 weeks.

Alongside their flesh, Chanteclers are excellent layers. They produce between 150 and 220 eggs annually.

Behavior-wise, these fowls might be a bit noisy, but they have a sweet nature. They are also regarded as docile, which makes them easy to handle and a joy to raise for many.


  • Bred for Canadian climates; very hardy
  • Great backyard pets
  • Dual-purpose breed


  • Not as efficient in meat production as specialized breeds
  • Less known outside of Canada
  • High noise level

16. Leghorn

Rooster Weight:7–8 lbs
Hen Weight:5–6 lbs
Growth Rate:Moderate (Ready for slaughter in 16–21 weeks)
Feed Efficiency:Middle (Fair feed-to-meat-conversion)
Meat Quality:Tender, savory

The Italian-based Leghorn chicken holds its own in the world of dual-purpose breeds. Primarily, these birds deliver not only eggs and meat but also companionship.

More specifically, however, their meat is known to be both tender and savory. Yet, a key point to remember is their moderate growth rate — it takes them a good 21 weeks to be ready for harvest.

On the care front, Leghorn chickens are a breeze. They are remarkably low maintenance and are very easy to keep. Simply put, they require only minimal care and attention.

The widespread availability of these chickens is another advantage. In fact, a quick visit to local poultry farms should suffice, as they’re typically stocked with this popular breed.


  • Low maintenance
  • Incredibly robust
  • Easy to acquire


  • Aggressive to other chickens
  • Fair feed-to-meat conversion
  • Can be flighty and skittish

17. Dark Cornish

Dark Cornish
Image credit: prfct_strngr / Instagram
Rooster Weight:8–10 lbs
Hen Weight:6–8 lbs
Growth Rate:Slow (Ready for slaughter in 20–22 weeks)
Feed Efficiency:Low (Poor feed-to-meat-conversion)
Meat Quality:Tender, flavorful, low-fat content

The Dark Cornish, originating from England, is a distinctive fowl that provides both eggs and good-quality meat. However, it’s worth noting that these birds take their time to grow.

Requiring 20 to 22 weeks before they’re ready for slaughter, Dark Cornish chickens aren’t the fastest to mature. This results in a not-so-ideal feed-to-meat conversion rate.

However, when it comes to the quality of their meat, it’s hard to be disappointed at all. Their flesh is notably tender, packed with flavor, and has a desirable low-fat content.

An added benefit is these fowls’ impressive flesh-to-bone ratio. This means you’re getting more meat per bird, which makes them a valuable option for those prioritizing yield.


  • Compact, muscular build suitable for meat
  • Excellent meat quality and flavor
  • High flesh-to-bone ratio


  • Do not grow as rapidly as other breeds
  • Prone to obesity if not managed well
  • Predisposed to leg and foot issues

18. Buckeye

Origin:United States
Rooster Weight:8–9 lbs
Hen Weight:6–8 lbs
Growth Rate:Slow (Ready for slaughter in 16–24 weeks)
Feed Efficiency:Low (Poor feed-to-meat-conversion)
Meat Quality:Soft, dark-colored, nutty

An authentic American breed, the Buckeye chicken is known for its dual-purpose functionality. Whether it’s for their meat or eggs, these birds have got you covered.

Specifically, their meat is a standout with its soft texture, dark color, and distinct nutty taste.

Yet, it is worth noting that patience is critical with Buckeye chickens. While some are ready for slaughter between 16 and 24 weeks, others might require as much as ten months.

On a different note, these fowls appreciate their freedom. They aren’t fans of confinement and thrive best when they can roam.


  • Dual-purpose functionality
  • Alert, smart, and confident
  • Prolific foragers


  • Slower processing time
  • Not suitable for confinement
  • Consume more feed

19. Turken

Rooster Weight:6–9 lbs
Hen Weight:4–6 lbs
Growth Rate:Moderate (Ready for slaughter in 11–18 weeks)
Feed Efficiency:Middle (Fair feed-to-meat-conversion)
Meat Quality:Marbled, succulent

Don’t let its name or appearance fool you; the Turken isn’t a turkey but a meat chicken that hails from Germany. While these birds might look peculiar, expect that their flesh is of excellent quality.

Basically, their meat is renowned for its marbled, succulent texture and flavor.

In a different vein, one distinctive feature of Turkens is their naked necks. Yet, they aren’t just for show; they simplify the feather-plucking process. However, this trait also makes them susceptible to frostbites.

Beyond their meat-producing capabilities, though, Turkens can be delightful pets. They are friendly and docile, which makes them a pleasant addition to families or farms looking for companionable poultry.


  • Unique appearance
  • Tasty meat
  • Easy to pluck


  • Less feathering
  • Susceptible to frostbite
  • Can be somewhat violent

20. Bielefelder

Rooster Weight:10–12 lbs
Hen Weight:9–10 lbs
Growth Rate:Moderate (Ready for slaughter in 14–18 weeks)
Feed Efficiency:Middle (Fair feed-to-meat-conversion)
Meat Quality:Juicy, delicious, tender

The Bielefelder is a German breed that has been recognized as one of the top broiler chickens. Known for their deliciously juicy and tender flesh, these birds promise a culinary treat for meat lovers.

Interestingly enough, Bielefelder chickens exhibit an auto-sexing ability. This means farmers can easily tell apart the males from the females, simplifying the process of identifying which chicks will yield more meat.

Meanwhile, the time it takes for these chickens to be ready for slaughter ranges between 14 and 18 weeks.

However — this is where American poultry keepers may have some trouble — there aren’t many Bielefelders in the United States. Only a handful of hatcheries raise these fowls on an extensive scale.


  • Auto-sexing breed
  • Get along well with other chickens
  • Calm and friendly temperament


  • Might be harder to find
  • Growth rate is moderate
  • High price tag

21. Wyandotte

Origin:North America
Rooster Weight:8–9 lbs
Hen Weight:6–7 lbs
Growth Rate:Slow (Ready for slaughter in 20–24 weeks)
Feed Efficiency:Low (Poor feed-to-meat-conversion)
Meat Quality:Heavily-fleshed, fine-fibered

Coming up is a North American broiler breed: the Wyandotte. These chickens are recognized for their decent meat production. Meanwhile, their flesh quality is often described as fine-fibered and juicy.

A drawback to consider, however, is the Wyandottes’ slow growth rate. They take up to 24 weeks to be ready for slaughter, so their feed efficiency ranks low. This might add to costs for those raising them for meat.

While they’re champions in enduring cold weather, Wyandottes aren’t fans of the heat. It’s essential to keep this in mind when deciding where to rear them.

As for their behavior, they can show signs of aggression in mixed flocks, so careful monitoring is advised.


  • Beautiful feather patterns
  • Very playful and active
  • Excellent foragers


  • Not specialized for meat; average yield
  • Carry an aggressive trait
  • Don’t thrive in hot climates

22. Egyptian Fayoumi

Egyptian Fayoumi
Rooster Weight:4–5 lbs
Hen Weight:3.5–4 lbs
Growth Rate:Moderate (Ready for slaughter in 14–18 weeks)
Feed Efficiency:Middle (Fair feed-to-meat-conversion)
Meat Quality:Delicate, juicy, tasteful

Last on our list is the Egyptian Fayoumi. These chickens might be petite, topping at five pounds, but the meat they provide is nothing short of delicate, juicy, and full of flavor.

An additional perk: they mature within 14 to 18 weeks, presenting a moderate growth rate.

However, what really sets Egyptian Fayoumis apart is their robust health. They have a notable resistance to certain diseases, including the dreaded avian flu.

In terms of behavior, poultry enthusiasts should be ready for a lively flock. These birds are always on the move — alert and active. Yet, be wary; their flighty nature means they can be a handful from time to time.


  • Cold-hardy
  • Highly resistant to diseases
  • Alert and active


  • Extremely flighty
  • Smaller size compared to other breeds
  • Might be too aggressive for a mixed flock

Tips for Selecting Meat Chickens for Your Homestead

Selecting meat chickens for a homestead requires careful thought and consideration. After all, you’ll be eating or selling these birds, so you must ensure they’re healthy, tasty, and nutritious.

Here are some critical tips to help you in the selection process:

  • Start with end goals: Before choosing any specific broiler breeds, it is critical to define your objectives. Are you raising chickens mainly for personal consumption, or are you thinking of selling the meat? The size and scale of operations often dictate the best meat chickens to consider.
  • Consider growth rate: Some birds mature faster than others. If quick turnaround is your priority, focus on meat chicken breeds known for rapid growth. However, note that faster-growing ones require more attention and care.
  • Evaluate feed efficiency: Feed efficiency refers to how effectively meat chickens convert feed into body mass. A high feed efficiency means less food is needed to gain weight, which helps keep operational costs down.
  • Assess heritage vs. hybrid chickens: Heritage breeds are purebreds and have been around for generations. They often offer richer flavors but might grow slower. Hybrids, in contrast, result from crossbreeding and are typically developed to mature fast.
  • Prioritize flavor and meat quality: All chickens aren’t created equal when it comes to taste and meat quality. While some broiler chicken breeds offer more meat, others might provide better flavor. In short, determine whether you want quantity or quality.
  • Take note of temperament: Generally, the disposition of the meat chickens you choose can affect their care. For instance, aggressive or overly flighty breeds might be harder to manage, especially for beginners.
  • Factor in the initial costs: While particular meat chickens may seem attractive due to rapid maturity, they might come with higher initial costs. Hence, think about your budget and the long-term returns when selecting breeds.
  • Ask for recommendations: Tap into the experiences of other homesteaders. They can provide invaluable insights into broiler chicken breeds that have worked well for them. You can easily do this by joining a local poultry association or online forum.

The tips outlined above are useful for optimizing homestead operations. Yet, some experimentation may still be necessary to determine what works best for you and your farm.

Frequently Asked Questions

Broiler chickens in a farm

Can Any Chicken Be a Meat Chicken?

All chickens contain meat, so, technically speaking, any chicken can be a meat chicken. Yet, note that broiler chickens grow faster and are more fleshy, which makes them ideal for meat production over other breeds.

Do Meat Chickens Also Lay Eggs?

Female broiler chickens lay eggs like any hen does. However, bear in mind that they produce fewer numbers than breeds meant for laying. Plus, they are often slaughtered before they have a chance to lay an egg.

How Long Do Meat Chickens Take to Mature?

Most meat chickens mature in 8 to 13 weeks. Yet, it is worth noting that breeds like Jersy Giants, Croad Langshans, Plymouth Rocks, Dorkings, and Chanteclers might take up to 24 weeks to reach their full adult weight.

What Is the Fastest-Growing Meat Chicken?

The fastest-growing meat chicken breed is the Cornish Cross. Specifically, these birds can reach market weight in just 6 to 8 weeks, which makes them highly efficient for meat production.

Can Meat Chickens and Laying Chickens Live Together?

No, meat chickens and laying chickens shouldn’t live together due to distinct needs. For example, broilers require high-protein feed for muscle growth, whereas layers need a calcium-rich, low-protein one.

A close friend once made the mistake of housing her broiler and laying chickens together. Due to a lack of diet variety, one group, the broilers, began to get sick and die.

The other group, on the other hand, was not affected by this issue because they were fed a diet that included only layer feed.

Broiler chickens have stood out as a top pick for meat production on farms across the globe. Their swift growth and impressive meat yield have made them a favorite among poultry enthusiasts.

Do you have any thoughts or experiences with these 22 best chickens for meat? Feel free to leave a comment below!

Leave a Comment

You may also like