Before you order a flock of chicks from the hatchery, study this handy chart comparing white and colored hybrids with heritage chickens. As you can see, the bottom line is a choice between fast growth and lower cost with hybrids or better flavor with heritage breeds. Note that these figures are averages.
|White Hybrids||Colored Hybrids||Heritage Breeds|
|Time to maturity||6 to7 weeks||11 weeks||16 weeks|
|Feed per pound gained||2 pounds||3 pounds||4 pounds|
|Percentage of edible meat||75%||70%||65%|
|Best management technique||Indoor||Free range||Free range|
|Flavor||Mild or bland||Rich||Richer|
Read more: For information on raising your own meat chickens see Raising Broiler Chickens.
Photo By Stuart Sutton: Blue-Laced Red Wyandotte chickens are dual-purpose egg and meat birds.