Raising Bresse Chickens for Meat

This is our trials of raising meat for our family. What was an experiment has turned into a small family ran business. We now help other families with self-sufficiency in eggs and some choose to use them for meat as well. We wanted both. The world has changed and we found a need for ourselves but it has shown to be a need for our friends, neighbors, acquaintances and fellow chicken lovers like YOU. We started by helping just a few and now we're able to help many families. 
Our goals:
  1. Self-sufficient meat (if it made sense financially)
  2. Tasteful meat - if we're going to raise it, might as well taste good
  3. Eggs - if possible, keep the hens and keep the lines going
Bresse - Our FAVORITE bird to raise (I may be partial but here is why)... These guys are ABSOLUTELY our favorite to raise for meat!!! Bresse, the most succulent, natural and flavorful tasting meat we've ever had. After all it is considered the best tasting chicken in the WORLD (They're imported from France, go figure)... but we certainly concur with that statement. They are not a true heritage breed but one could consider a hybrid heritage breed that have blue legs and a blue color tone to their skin. They do look funny when dressed out due to their blue tinted skin. You can grow them quickly to be harvested as soon as 16 weeks old, especially the roosters, but we prefer to push them to 6 months. Here is why... As we raise the birds, we have a laying flock of hens and a different bloodline rooster which give us our next batch of meat birds. The hens lay 250 eggs per year... yes you read that right... a MEAT bird gives you 250 eggs per year!!! So we keep the girls laying, give us babies and we raise the babies, keep the girls, the boys are raised for dinner. With the new girls they get a new rooster from a different bloodline and keep the cycle going. So we always have laying birds, growing birds and babies... It's just what keeps the cycle going and the freezer full while the ladies poop us breakfast (best pet in the world!). 
Cornish Cross -
We prefer tractors to allow them to eat freely at grass. However we found our cornish cross did not forage well unless we put the food on the ground and forced foraging (which was them eating the food on the ground and them getting bits and pieces of grass/etc while they're eating the food we put on the ground). Not our ideal way to raise them. Additionally THEY CAN EAT and from our experience. Even though that had 12 hrs on and 12 hrs off of food availability they did not move much and preferred to sit at the feeder and waterer. This caused a higher fat content on the cornish. Because of that we lost a lot of pounds of meat to fat. Our cornish were harvested at 8-9 weeks old and we averaged 6.6 lbs per cornish. Keep in mind there was high fat content included due to lack of lean muscle building because they did not move other than to eat and drink. We would like to try them again but from a different source for the chicks. We realize not all genetics are equal and we will try them again.
Pros: Because of what we feed the cross, they tasted very organic. A tasty meat but didn't meat our goals. The benefit of these birds are lower cost to feed overall, quicker to harvest date, so your freezer is fuller faster. 
Cons: They did not meet our goals of self-sufficiency, no eggs, no more generations to grow out and would have to rely on someone to buy chicks (if they have them).
Rangers - These were also done in tractors to the same effect of the cornish. We found they forage VERY well and we raised them outside from week 2 on (we live in AZ so it's warm enough for them). They get 24/7 food until week 3/4 and once they have sufficient feathers and weight on them they get feed once per day just like everyone else so they have to forage for food. They forage naturally and did not sit around nearly like the cornish cross did. The rangers would still 'run' to us as we approached and would still jump on top of the 5 gallon feed bucket even as they neared harvesting weight. These guys were processed at 14 weeks because we could push the additional time on them to fatten the hens up (we had to get a st run, and since then we have only ordered males for any meat bird). Males get bigger quicker, more meat by default. If your going to spend the time and money, get the most of it. The girls are less meat, but have a little bit more tenderness to the meat and a tad bit more fat in the right places. The girls were a more delicate cuisine. Now these guys did start to crow by the time we harvested since they mature so fast so if your in a no crow zone, keep that in mind. When we dressed out at 14 weeks we averaged 5lbs 10 oz for them (keep in mind this was a st run). We prefer their taste over cornish as they have more omega3 fat (yellow fat) and less fat content compared to cornish because they move around so much more. Some call it a gamey taste or a wild taste but it's our preferred fast raising meat bird.
Pros: The cost is higher for rangers because you are feeding them longer however you can keep them on grass, feed them scraps and give them weeds, leaves, fruits, just things you can give them to lower your feed cost. You can also provide microgreens, sprout seeds or fodder and even wet the feed down which will ferment it. All options to lower the feed bill.
Cons: They did not meet our goals of self-sufficiency, no eggs, no more generations to grow out and would have to rely on someone to buy chicks (if they have them).
Bresse are the only breed that met our goals and fulfilled what we wanted. The other breeds we choose we're Egyptian Fayoumi and Buff Orpingtons. These had a different array of considerations for meat.
Pros: Small bird, FANTASTIC forager (almost didn't have to feed it anything). Small eggs and could reproduce these guys quickly. Very hearty in high heat temperatures and can handle cold temperatures well. 
Cons:Too small of bird to make it worth the time. 2-3lbs of meat total off a harvested bird. Roosters crow VERY young in age, and are EXTREMELY flighty birds. They can jump 9+ feet. 
Buff Orpington: 
Pros: large bird, fantastic forager, big eggs and can even brood their next clutch for you. Very docile, easy with children and the family. Has omega 3 yellow fats because of how well they forage. You could use them as a true heritage breed and keep several generations down for several years.
Cons: lower egg counts, not consistent layers like other heritage breeds, and we did not enjoy their taste. Felt like if you needed chicken you could use them in a pinch but they did not meet our criteria in comparison to the Bresse.