20 Best Meat Chicken Breeds (Pros & Cons)

Are you looking for a more sustainable and safe way to eat chicken meat? Backyard breeding might be for you. In this guide, we list down the 20 best meat chickens you can choose from.

Top 20 Chickens Breeds for Meat Production

As the world industrializes, meat production also grows with it. This statistics shows that it is a continuous uptrend.  Unfortunately, with how fast and cheap the chicken meat at the market was it came with a cost. Preservatives are added and living conditions are inhumane.

Whether you want to start a more self-sustained way of getting meat or looking forward to producing chickens for meat production, this list might be for you.

In this guide, we list down 20 chicken breeds to choose from, their size, processing time, along their pros and cons.

1. Cornish Cross

meat chickens Cornish Cross

If you are familiar with chicken breeds, seeing the Cornish Cross at the top of the list might not be a surprise for you. This broiler-type chicken is the standard breed for meat production.

This breed is commonly used by large companies for chicken production and can be found in supermarkets.

Size and Processing Time

The size of Cornish Crosses can range from 8-12lbs at the time of maturity. They relatively grow fast as well, having a processing time of 6-8 weeks.

Pros

  • Fast growth
  • Delicious meat
  • Fewer feathers for faster plucking
  • Lots of white meat
  • Docile and easy to take care of
  • Good for small backyards

Cons

  • Can’t be breed naturally
  • Needs a lot of broiler feed

 

2. Jersey Giant

meat chickens Jersey Giant

Designed to compete with turkeys, the Jersey Giant is one of the biggest chicken breeds in the whole world. They also serve as a dual-purpose breed, having a large amount of meat and a single hen producing around 250-270 eggs per year.

Size and Processing Time

The Jersey Giants certainly live up to their name as the roosters can typically grow from 11-15lbs and 9-11 pounds for hens. One of the downsides you might find is they are pretty slow with their processing time, averaging around 16-24 weeks.

Pros

  • Large Size
  • Dual purpose
  • Less susceptible to diseases
  • Docile and easy to take care of

Cons

  • Slow processing time
  • Needs a wide space
  • Needs a lot of food

 

3. Brahma

chickens for meat Brahma

If you want a gentle giant in your backyard, the Brahma might be the breed for you. This chicken is typically raised for meat production but can also produce a quite large number of eggs per year, averaging around 150-170 pieces from a single hen.

Size and Processing Time

Brahmas can weigh from 9-11lbs at the time of maturity. Their processing time is quite slow, averaging from 1-2 years.

Pros

  • Large size
  • Dual-purpose
  • Hardy chicken
  • Easy to brees
  • Docile and easy to take care of

Cons

  • Slow processing time
  • Needs a lot of food

 

4. Delaware

chickens for meat Delaware

Before the Cornish Cross, Delawares are thee chicken that is most used in the meat industry. Although they have gone a bit on the downturn, having them in your backyard might still be an option for you. Unfortunately, this breed is getting much fewer this past couple of years.

Size and Processing Time

Delaware chickens can grow to an average of 8-10lbs for roosters and 6-8lbs for hens. Their processing time is also quite fast as you can start to process them in the span of 12-16weeks.

Pros

  • Tasty and good-quality meat
  • Dual purpose
  • White feathers as not to leave marks on the carcass

Cons

  • Quite aggressive when afraid
  • Hard to get hold of

 

5. Buff Orpington

chickens for meat Buff Orpington

This breed is another popular breed for meat and egg production. This dual-purpose chicken is good for beginners and small backyards. A single hen can lay up to 280 eggs in just 22 weeks.

Size and Processing Time

The Buff Orpington can grow up to 8lbs for the roosters and 6-7lbs for the hens. Their processing time is also quite fast as they are ready for the table in just 18-22weeks.

Pros

  • Good quality meat
  • Docile nature and beginner-friendly
  • Dual-purpose
  • Good for small backyard
  • Hardy and can withstand cold climates

Cons

  • Can easily be obese
  • Needs a lot of exercises
  • Constant watch over feed consumption

 

6. Dorkings

chickens for meat Dorkings

Originating from England, the Dorking breed is another chicken that is good for meat and egg production. This chicken is good for a small backyard and very easy to take care of.

Size and Processing Time

In the time of maturity, roosters can weigh up to 9lbs while the hens averages at 7lbs. Their processing time can reach up to 20-24 weeks.

Pros

  • Good quality meat
  • Dual purpose
  • Docile and easy to take care of

Cons

  • Hard to get a hold of

 

7. Chantecler

chickens for meat Chantecler

Originating from Canada, the Chantecler breed can withstand a cold and harsh climate while maintaining its egg-laying capabilities and good-quality meat.

Size and Processing Time

This chicken can grow up to 5lbs for hens and 7.5lbs at the time of maturity. It can take up to 20-24 weeks for them to reach this weight.

Pros

  • Dual-purpose
  • Hardy and can withstand the cold climate
  • Do good inside confinements and small spaces
  • Docile and easy to take care of

Cons

  • Rooster can get aggressive with one another
  • Quite small compared to other breeds

 

8. American Breese

chickens for meat American Breese

This breed originated from France. This chicken is sought after for its marbled meat and delicious taste. If you want a chicken meat on the fancier side, the American Breese might be for you.

Size and Processing Time

This breed can weigh up to 6-7 pounds for the rooster and 4-5 pounds for the hen. It can take from 16-20 weeks for these chickens to reach maturity.

Pros

  • Delicious, high-quality meat
  • Docile and easy to take care of
  • Dual-purpose
  • Hardy breed and can tolerate warm climates
  • Can be breed naturally

Cons

  • Pricey and rare
  • Small size compared to other breeds
  • Slower processing time

 

9. New Hampshire Red

chickens for meat New Hampshire Red

The New Hampshire Red is one of the most popular chicken breeds across the world. This dual-purpose chicken is good for meat and egg production. They are relatively easy to take care of and have a good temperament as well.

Size and Processing Time

This breed can grow from 6-8lbs for roosters and 5-7lbs for hens. You can harvest these chickens for as early as 14-16 weeks.

Pros

  • Dual-purpose
  • Low maintenance
  • Very common and easy to find
  • Docile and easy to work with
  • Do well in confinements and free-range
  • Easy to breed

Cons

  • They have a tendency to fight each other

 

10. Buckeye

chickens for meat Buckeye

Buckeye is a breed that is good for both egg and meat production.

This dual-purpose breed is best for people with large yards since these chickens love to forage.  

Size and Processing Time

This breed can grow up to 9lbs for roosters and 6-8lbs for hens and have a relatively slower processing time averaging at about 6-10 months.

Pros

  • Dual-purpose
  • Easy to breed
  • Docile and easy to take care of
  • Low Maintenance

Cons

  • Not for confinements and small yards
  • Slower processing time

 

11. Leghorn

chickens for meat Leghorn

Both the white and brown leghorn are a decent choice for dual-purpose chickens. This breed is designed for backyard breeding and does good both in confinement and free-range.

This breed is very common for beginners as Leghorns are low maintenance and great for produce.

Size and Processing Time

Leghorns can weigh an average of 6-8lbs and can reach maturity at 16-21 weeks.

Pros

  • Dual-purpose
  • Decent amount of meat
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Docile and easy to take care of
  • Good for small backyards and confinement

Cons

  • Slow processing time

 

12. Freedom Rangers

chickens for meat Freedom Rangers

This breed is best for people with large farms and yards. As freedom rangers are designed for organic consumption, they don’t generally need a lot of protein feed.

Size and Processing Time

These chickens a relatively small compared to other breeds in this list, weighing from 5 to 6 pounds with a processing time of 9-11 weeks.  

Pros

  • Versatile eaters
  • Low-maintenance
  • Great quality meat
  • Docile and easy to handle

Cons

  • Smaller Size
  • Not God for confinement

 

13. Croad Langshan

chickens for meat Croad Langshan

This Asiatic breed is definitely on the rarer side but if you manage to get hold of this chicken, you will not regret it.

Size and Processing Time

Croad Langshan will not disappoint you with its size. Roosters can grow up to 10lbs while the hens are a bit smaller, averaging at about 8-10lbs. The processing time can take about 20-24 weeks.

Pros

  • Great quality white meat
  • Dual purpose
  • Versatile eaters
  • Docile and easy to take care of

Cons

  • Rare
  • Needs a large space

 

14. Dark Cornish

meat chicken breeds meat chicken breeds

Dark Cornish or also known as Indian Game is another chicken good for meat production. If you want a breed that has a lower fat content, the Dark Cornish might be for you.

Size and Processing Time

This breed can weigh from 8-10lbs for roosters and 6-8lbs for hens. They can take about 20-22weeks to reach maturity.

Pros

  • Large size
  • Great quality meat
  • Low-maintenance
  • Hardy and can withstand harsh climates

Cons

  • The roosters’ temperament can sometimes become aggressive

 

15. Plymouth Rock

meat chicken breeds Plymouth Rock

The Plymouth Rock might be the most popular chicken breed in the world and for a good reason. This chicken is very versatile as it’s designed for mass production of both eggs and chicken meat. It’s a hardy breed and can withstand cold and climates and very low maintenance.

Size and Processing Time

The average weight of this breed is 7-8lbs for the rooster and 6-7lbs for the hens. The Plymouth Rock will take from 20-24 weeks to mature.

Pros

  • Great amount of meat
  • Low-maintenance
  • Designed for mass production
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Docile and easy to take care of

Cons

  • Roosters can get aggressive with other chickens
  • Weak against other chicken breeds

 

16. Kosher Kings

meat chicken breeds Kosher Kings

This breed is the best if you want to have a healthier substitute for Cornish Cross. Kosher Kings are generally active and a good option if you want to go organic and all-natural.

Size and Processing Time

Kosher Kings is designed strictly as a meat chicken. This means that they have a faster harvest time, averaging about 11-14 weeks. The hens can weigh up to 4-5lbs while the rooster can grow up to 6lbs.

Pros

  • Good quality meat
  • Fast processing time
  • Low-maintenance
  • Versatile eater
  • Docile and easy to handle
  • Active and loves to forage

Cons

  • Small size
  • Needs a wide area

 

17. Turken

best meat chickens Turken

This chicken can be mistaken for a turkey due to its appearance but this breed is one hundred percent a chicken. Turken or also known as Naked Neck is great for small backyard farms. They are less prone to stress, hardy, and can produce both chicken and eggs.

Size and Processing Time

Turken can generally weigh an average of 6-9lbs for roosters and 4-6lbs for hens. Its processing time is decently fast as this breed can hit the age of maturity at 11-18 weeks.

Pros

  • Dual-purpose
  • Fast processing time
  • Fewer feathers
  • Hardy and can withstand both hot and cold weather
  • Low-maintenance
  • Good for small places and containment

Cons

  • Eats a lot

 

18. Ginger Broiler

best meat chickens Ginger Broiler

This breed is another substitute for Cornish Cross. As its primary function is to give meat, it’s not good for egg-laying and breeding.

Size and Processing Time

Ginger Boilers can typically get from 5-6lbs pounds in the span of 10-14weeks. Although it’s on the smaller scale compared to the other chickens in this list, the Ginger Broiler grows relatively fast and produces good quality and lean meat.

Pros

  • Good quality meat
  • Docile and easy to handle
  • Needs a lot less feed since they love to forage
  • Good for high-altitude places.

Cons

  • Hard to breed
  • Can become aggressive towards other chickens

 

19. Egyptian Fayoumi

broiler chicken breeds Egyptian Fayoumi

Originating from Egypt, this active, hardy, and low-maintenance bird might be the one for you.

Size and Processing Time

Egyptian Fayoumis can grow from an average of 5lbs for roosters and 4lbs for hens. They take about 14-18 weeks to reach harvest size.

Pros

  • Dual-Purpose
  • Disease-Resistant
  • Active and loves to forage
  • Hardy and can withstand hot climates

Cons

  • Small size
  • Needs a larger space

 

20. Wyandotte

broiler chicken breeds Wyandotte

Wyandottes are generally large chickens that are good for both egg and meat production. They are sought after for their yellow meat and large size.

Size and Processing Time

This breed can weigh up to 8-9lbs for roosters and 6-7lbs for hens although their processing time is at a slower pace, averaging at 20-24 weeks.

Pros

  • Dual-purpose
  • Low-maintenance
  • Large Size

Cons

  • Slower processing time
  • Needs a larger space

In conclusion

With that, the guide is finished. We hope you find the right chicken for you in this list of 20 best meat chicken breeds. Raising chickens, like any other animal life, can be hard at times so we hope this little guide helped you with choosing a new addition to your flock.

 

meat chicken breeds

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