Well, I can definitely see why there are meat-specific chickens! At the same age, one chicken is almost a meal while the other is a baby. We bought four day-old Cobbs to try out, and they certainly grew quickly. However, we’ve now eaten them, and a few of the excess Leghorn and Australorp roosters, and the latter two definitely taste better. The slower-growing ones have a much stronger taste and firmer meat, with more colour. And that’s with the Cobb being free-range and foraging a lot-not restricting their movement and pumping high-protein feed into them like commercials.
Verdict-we’re happy to eat the excess roosters and leave it at that. If I was going to raise a meat-only small animal, i’d do one that didn’t require much bought feed, like rabbits. I assisted with a friend’s rabbit harvest recently, and I was very impressed at how quick and easy it was compared to a chicken. Chickens are too feed-intensive and laborious to butcher.
And after writing those last two sentences, i’m giggling at the fact that just over a year ago we were freaking out at our first upcoming chicken harvest. Oh, we’ve come a long way.