Meat chicken breeds are not technically a classification. But we like to say it is so because in our minds it helps us keep straight the purpose of our birds. If you have read through our previous articles on choosing chicken breeds, you’ll have learned we talk about the four main purposes for chickens.
Those purposes are only meat chicken birds, only egg layers, dual-purpose birds and ornamental chickens.
As we walk you through each of these categories, you’ll see we listed specific breeds for you to research. Within each breed, we compared bird size, climate, color and size of eggs they lay. If it’s available, we shared how many eggs they lay each year. Just because a bird is not particularly an egg layer, they still lay a certain number of eggs per year. Also, we shared if the chicken breed is prone to broodiness (wants to hatch out eggs), whether they have a docile or aggressive personality and what country they originate from.
Please refer to the American Poultry Association for more scientific classification if you want to show your birds in competition. This article is not about that.
ONLY MEAT BIRDS ~ Chickens used for the purpose of providing meat
Brahma: These birds come in large and bantam (small) sizes. They have a pea type comb and are cold hardy. Laying a medium size brown egg they go broody often. They are docile birds originating from India & USA.
Jersey Giant: Large and bantam sizes, these birds have a single type comb and are cold hardy. They lay an extra large size brown egg and go broody often. They are docile creatures originating from New Jersey.
Malay: This chicken comes in large and bantam sizes. With a strawberry style comb, they are tolerant to heat. They lay a medium size brown egg. They go broody often and tend to be flighty birds originating from the Malay Peninsula
Cornish Rock: These chickens are known for meat! Larger birds that grow at a significant rate will stock your freezer nicely. Often times if they are not harvested by 8-10 weeks their legs will break, no longer able to support their weight. This is the go-to bird for meat. They eat a lot, grow fast and can be harvested early. You can’t go wrong with these guys!
Now that you’re familiar with great meat chicken breeds, go check out My Pet Chicken and Cackle Hatchery to get a better idea of what these guys look like. Remember they will look different as chicks compared to full grown birds. And if you’re interested in egg layers or dual purpose birds, stay tuned!
~Until Next Time,
Question: Which meat chicken breed is your favorite?
Source: The Chicken Encyclopedia by Gail Damerow; pgs 304-311 Copyright 2012