Well some say up to 30% from pasture, especially for layers who don't need much protein. Growers will be real susceptible to protein deficiencies and it will be easy to shoot yourself in the foot.
People like meat on their chicken carcass and far too many heritage birds not only are not double breasted, they practically have no breast at all. They're just egg layers with pretty feathers and often not very good layers at that. The hatcheries and fanciers have decimated the utility quality of the genetics. Forget quality, half the time you're lucky to get the breed you ordered. I'd sure like to hear from Adam just how the breast matches up on his birds compared to a Freedom Ranger and a CC.
I refuse to raise CC birds; sickly disgusting things. I have some rainbows for layers from last years batch, if they'd ever start laying.
The 1000 birds limit makes it hard to profitably sell chickens. One can make money with non-CC birds, but they are way less profitable. Kansans due care about sustainability, they just don't necessarily want to pay for it. But some will. The problem is most of the guys marketing organic or natural chickenfeed GMO grains and so set unrealistic price expectations in the market.
KDA is beholden to big ag and all they care about small farmers and direct marketers is how to get power over them (likely so we can be shut down at will or harassed to death). I havn't heard that they're going to shut down chicken sales but it wouldn't surprise me, they've been pushing extralegal requirements and spurious restrictive interpretations of the law for years.
They're just egg layers with pretty feathers and often not very good layers at that. The hatcheries and fanciers have decimated the utility quality of the genetics.
My research reinforces your point. After the CC became the standard, most heritage chicken breeding was left to folks showing birds. But Jim Adkins is working with breeders to breed back the characterisitics that once made these birds useful, and to establish local networks of producers and growers to build markets. Once upon a time these birds did yield a marketable carcass at 16 weeks. We have to start somewhere to rebuild that genetic capability. Have you reached out to the SPN to see if someone in your area is breeding up heritage meat birds? http://www.sustainablepoultrynetwork.com/
I am at Augusta, which is only 12 miles east of Wichita. Wichita has two "natural groceries", so I do know there are people interested in good food, but I am not having much luck marketing to them. I honestly don't see much demand for heritage birds. Folks who will pay me a premium for natural grown heirloom veggies , turn their nose up at a natural (scrawny lookin to them) chicken. I do know that meat genetics of heritage birds have went down in quality, but were the breasts ever as big as a cornish cross? I mean I am 47, and the birds my folks raised didn't look much different then the heritage birds I am dressing now.
I would still like to try a first generation white rock x dark or buff cornish cross. I just don't have the space, facilities or time to be a breeder.
Chickens only need to pay for them self. I like eatin them. My small amount of cornish x for folks will be over with soon this year. I have 79 heritage birds going to pasture on wedensday, they was supposed to go today, before we got snow.
Heirloom veggies are my main gig, chickens are just food and to keep a few folks happy.
I heard that the days of pasture broilers are gonna be shut down permanently in Kansas. That bunch of idiots screaming for "less government", sure don't mind regulating po' folks.