What are the disadvantages of dual-purpose chickens? There are always two sides to every story. This also applies to raising chickens. As a seasoned chicken owner, I can gladly point out a few positive attributes of broilers, layers and dual-purpose chickens. Likewise, I can tell you the negative side of each one of the aforementioned types of chickens. Today we are going to discuss the disadvantages of dual-purpose chickens.
The same way dual-purpose breeds have advantages is the same way they have disadvantages. These birds need special attention now that they fall between layers and broilers. Meaning that you need to dig deeper into your pockets to maintain them throughout. This and other disadvantages make it difficult for most chicken owners to raise dual-purpose breeds.
There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing your flock of birds run in your backyard. Such a scene makes you feel happy and satisfied thanks to this great achievement. Whether they are layers, broilers or dual-purpose breeds, the feeling is the same. After all, chickens are a long-term investment with great returns if they are well taken care of.
Also, they are affordable, easy to maintain and interesting to see them around. In return, they reward you with a freezer full of roasters and fryers or large delicious eggs. These poultry products are the main reason most people keep chickens.
Some may decide to raise layers while others settle for meat-producing birds and a few opt for dual-purpose breeds. For the dual-purpose chickens, you stand to benefit from a steady supply of fresh eggs and meat.
This is the main advantage of keeping chickens that can lay eggs or produce meat. How about the disadvantages of raising this group of birds? Let’s find out more about the downside of rearing dual-purpose chickens on your farm.
Disadvantages of Keeping Dual-Purpose Chickens
Genetic variations act as both an advantage and disadvantage of raising dual-purpose chickens. As an advantage, genetic differences ensure superior qualities for dual-purpose chickens over other breeds. These qualities play a critical role in their survival and production of eggs and meat.
- However, the genetic variation is also a negative trait among different breeds of chickens under this category. Some birds produce poor quality meat that does not meet the current market standards. Their meat is usually darker in color and often accompanied by smaller breast sizes as well as fat.
- If you are not careful enough in selecting the right breed, you may end up raising less economic chickens. Since poultry farming is an investment, you may find yourself unable to keep up with other competitors in this business venture. That is the reason you need to decide whether you want to raise layers or broilers to maximize your profits in meat and eggs.
- Broilers are physically different from layers because the two groups of chickens are bred for different reasons. Meat producing chickens are somehow heavier, early maturing and larger. The opposite is true for egg layers.
- What does this mean? It simply means that due to genetic variations, it is difficult to raise a dual-purpose chicken breed that can possess both traits: excellent meat and egg production. No wonder one dual-purpose breed can become an excellent layer but make a very lousy meat producer and vice versa.
- Next on the list of disadvantages of dual-purpose chickens. The differences in flavors come as a surprise to most chicken owners. Remember I said that no single bird can have both traits equally. It is the same case with their meat. While all of them have delicious meat, their taste could be different, to say the least. This happens more often regardless of the cooking method used or the type of spices added.
- Dual-purpose breeds tend to have different flavors depending on several factors. Key among these factors is the type of feed they eat and the method of raising them. You could be confining them in their coop or letting them out to roam the yard.
- Whichever way you choose, rest assured that it will determine the quality of their meat and eggs. But one thing remains certain; these birds are generally good at foraging.
- As a result, they spend most of their time moving around in search of food. This means they exercise a lot which in turn affects their productivity. On that note, it is wise to decide whether you want to raise layers or meat producers rather than going for dual-purpose breeds.
Low Egg Production
Compared to those breeds raised for laying eggs, dual-purpose lay fewer eggs on average. Most of the egg layers are capable of producing up to 350 eggs per year. The dual-purpose hens produce an average of 200 to 250 eggs in one year.
From these figures, you can easily work out the differences and compare them with the cost of raising each type of chickens. If you are keeping your birds for commercial purposes, dual-purpose hens will not be a good choice for your project. This is because they produce less eggs which are not economically reasonable for you.
The same case scenario is true if you keeping your dual-purpose flock for meat production. You may not be able to compete with those keeping broilers for meat production. This fall-out in the competition can be attributed to the low quality and quantity of meat produced by your chickens.
Cost of Production
- The cost of production is another downside of raising a dual-purpose breed of chickens. You are more likely to spend a lot of money on maintaining these birds.
- Most of the expenses will come from their commercial feed, security and general maintenance. This is the main reason why commercial farms opt for hybrids that are specially bred to produce eggs or meat.
- Raising such breeds of chickens is less expensive than keeping the dual-purpose breeds. For instance, you need to find the right feed for these birds. In other words, you have to balance between the layers mash and broilers mash when purchasing commercial chicken feed.
- Besides, these birds require you to feed them a little bit longer to attain the standard market weight. If you are not well prepared financially, you may drain your pockets trying to keep your birds well-fed.
What Exactly are the Dual Purpose Chickens?
- Most chicken owners prefer raising breeds that can produce both meat and eggs. This emerging trend explains why these breeds are common in most backyards.
- Even though these chickens don’t produce as much meat as the broilers nor as many eggs as layers, they offer a well-balanced middle ground. Meaning that they contribute significantly to the number of eggs produced and the quantity of meat your family needs.
- With this type of birds, excess males with decent breast muscles are butchered for their meat. On the other hand, male chicks may not develop an appreciable amount of muscles as they grow, thus making them less productive.
- When it comes to raising dual-purpose hens, the situation may be a little bit different. In this regard, you may hold on to your layers while producing eggs and slaughter the male ones at maturity for meat.
- Despite their deficiency in meat and egg production, dual-purpose chickens provide you with the most flexibility. That is why they are the most popular class of chickens found in backyards today.
Here is the list of the most common dual-purpose chickens you may come across:
- Brahmas: Excellent brooders with a reputation for laying brown eggs. They are slow-growing but large-sized chickens.
- Orpingtons: known for its brooding ability. Hens lay brown eggs, forage well and grow to become large meat birds.
- Plymouth Rocks: They lay medium-sized (brown) eggs, have a calm disposition and are excellent meat producers.
- Barnevelders: They are famous for their dark brown eggs and meat. They are also among the slow-growing chickens.
- Rhode Island Reds: They’re proficient layers (large brown eggs), large-sized meat birds.
- Faverolle: Lay medium-sized large white eggs and are good sized meat chickens.
- Wyandotte: They are great layers of brown eggs as well as meat producers. Have a calm disposition and grow to become large meat birds.
- Black Sex Link: Are proficient medium-sized egg layers and meat producers.
- Red Sex Link: They are proficient large-sized egg layers and great meat-producing birds.
These are some of the well-known dual-purpose chicken breeds among poultry farmers all over the world.
Do eggs laid by dual-purpose hens have a different taste? There are great differences between eggs from hybrid layers and those from dual-purpose breeds. The main difference lies in the quality, taste, and size of eggs.
How do you tell dual-purpose breeds from the rest? You can tell if your birds are dual-purpose breeds if they produce 3-5 eggs in a week, grow to weigh 6-7 lbs, and have a lower efficiency of converting chicken feed into muscle tissue or eggs.
We have covered a few disadvantages of keeping dual-purpose chickens in this blog. These birds have genetic variations, different flavors and are expensive to maintain. Despite the downside of raising them, these chickens provide you with a balance in meat and egg production for your family.
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Chicken Board!!