My husband and I decided to go with Red Rangers this year for meat birds as they looked to be the middle ground between heritage birds taking 6 months to mature and cornish crosses that looked to be feathery lumps. This is our third year raising birds, our first year we had barred rocks as our meaties (they were the other half of our straight run we ordered to get egg birds). We were pretty disappointed by the carcasses. Very little breast meat (but the thighs and legs were good sized). The meat tasted great. Last year we went with Buff Orpingtons because of their reputation for good temperaments and being bigger birds than the rocks we were hoping for a little bigger birds. Well, that was a no go. Horrible temperaments, CONSTANT fighting and aggressive toward us. Some birds were being so badly bullied they couldn't get off their perch to eat or drink. The bullies were so busy being bullies and chasing everyone else around they did not gain weight like they should have either. We split everyone up into small groups, but then THEY would fight. It was a nightmare. We gave up and slaughtered everyone at five months. Disappointment yet again. Now this year, hoping for a little better carcass we went with the Red Rangers. They are almost 6 months old and have not really put a lot of meat on their bones. They are heavy birds, but I can still feel their keels pretty prominently and the legs/thighs aren't much better. They eat a 22% protein meat maker crumble (available at all times) and have access to forage in a field all day. They are put into a large secure coop each evening with a lot of places to perch. Everyone is bright, alert and active, eating well and stools look good.
What I'm getting at is, has anyone else had this problem with red rangers? Am I expecting too much of a difference in the carcass of
a red ranger to that of a heritage breed? Should I keep feeding them hoping that they'll "fatten up" or cut my losses and butcher the lot?
This is one of the little roos at about 4 weeks old.