What information can you give me on developing chicken breeding stock?
P.T.MississippiAnswer: Thank you for contacting ATTRA, The National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service for information about developing a breeding stock of chickens to raise offspring for sale and meat. Tim Shell, a producer from Virginia, has developed strains of meat chickens in the past to sell to local pastured poultry producers in his area. He wrote an article for the American Pastured Poultry Producers Association (APPPA) newsletter in which he discusses his business practices. The article is entitled, “Raising Your Own Meat Flock?.” Tim Shell is no longer producing poultry, I believe he is doing mission work out of the country now.Harvey Ussery, a poultry producer and writer for Countryside Magazine and Backyard Poultry Magazine, wrote an article entitled “Sunday-Dinner Chicken: Alternatives to the Cornish Cross” in which he discusses slower growing hybrid alternatives as well as breeding strategies to obtaining a meatier standard breed. The article can be found through the following link: http://www.backyardpoultrymag.com/issues/4/4-2/alternatives_to_the_cornish_cross.htmlSince you mentioned that you were particularly interested in the Delaware breed, you may also be interested in this short informative article entitled “The Delaware Chicken”. It can be found through the following link: http://www.backyardpoultrymag.com/issues/3/3-2/the-delaware-chicken.htmlThe American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC) is a great resource for information on heritage breeds of livestock. Of interest to you may be their information on Chicken Assessment for Improving Productivity including how to select for meat qualities and rate of growth as well as ongoing selection of breeding stock. This information can be found on their webpage: http://www.albc-usa.org/EducationalResources/chickens.html The ALBC is also a good source to help you find suppliers of heritage poultry breeds. Lastly, you might find ATTRA’s publication, “Meat Chicken Breeds for Pastured Production”, helpful. It discusses alternative options for the fast growing cornish cross and includes a list of suppliers in the further resources section. The publication can be found through the following web link: http://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/meatchicken.htmlResources: Shell, Tim. Raising Your Own Meat Flock? APPPA GRIT. Issue 23, Winter 2003. Ussery, Harvey. Sunday-Dinner Chicken: Alternatives to the Cornish Cross. Backyard Poultry Magazine. online article (accessed 4/16/10) http://www.backyardpoultrymag.com/issues/4/4-2/alternatives_to_the_cornish_cross.html Schrider, Don. The Delaware Chicken. Backyard Poultry Magazine. online article http://www.backyardpoultrymag.com/issues/3/3-2/the-delaware-chicken.html American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC) heritage chicken resources online http://www.albc-usa.org/EducationalResources/chickens.html Fanatico, Anne. Meat Chicken Breeds for Pastured Production. ATTRA publication online. http://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/meatchicken.htmlHope you find this information helpful. If you have further questions on organic or sustainable agriculture, please feel free to contact ATTRA at 800-346-9140