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Freedom Rangers

post #1 of 128
Thread Starter 

My freedom rangers are currently 1 month old on Saturday.  I put them out on grass at 3 weeks old, because we were having good warm weather at night.  Here are my observations:

1)  I have not lost a single one from the 50 due to disease.  A cat made off with one while my back was turned, that is it.

2)  Their feather growth is keeping up with their body growth.  They aren't all bald looking like the Cornish cross.

3)  They are very active.  They scratch at the grass, they hop up on the feeders, they sometimes fly out of the tractor when the door is open.

4)  They aren't growing as quickly as the Cornish X, but when you pick them up they feel meaty and you can tell they'll be broad breasted.  I can't say as a % how much smaller they are than a Cornish X at this age, but there's no doubt they'll make butchering weight.

I generally expect to lose 25% of my Cornish X's in a crop.  I'm really amazed how low the mortality has been... I mean that really affects my bottom line.

http://www.freedomrangers.net/

post #2 of 128
Thread Starter 

Freedom Ranger Update:

1)  I took 26 grey rangers in today for processing.  They dressed from 4-5 pounds.  They would have been 9 weeks tomorrow.

2)  I didn't keep track well enough the food consumption to calculate the FCR on them, except that I noticed nothing alarmingly high or low about it.  If anyone has ideas on how to keep track of feed consumption on 2 different pens of meat chickens, 3 different flocks of geese, 50+ birds in the brooder and 50+ in the grower arks, and 50 or so hens, let me know your system.

3)  I lost zero to disease.  All 46 which survived the first day (we had a trampling incident with some goslings which came the same day) are still alive.  I have 20 'Gourmet Blacks' which will be processed in 2-3 more weeks yet to go.

4)  They are far more active than all the Cornish X's I've raised up until now.  I mean, they scratched, moved around and some even liked flying onto the top of the tractor.  Yet they still have the big wide breast and thick legs.  They also kept their feathering throughout growth.  No bald chickens like I'd become used to.

I guess in conclusion I would buy them again for meat chickens, it's a no brainer.  But, I've also started breeding my own meat chickens and am experimenting with different crosses to use.  So, I'm not sure I'll get any more soon, but I would recomend the Freedom Rangers to friends in an instant.

post #3 of 128

What type of crosses are you going to try for your own meat birds?

Black Copper Marans - Golden Cuckoo Marans - Black Tail Buff Marans - BBS Orpingtons - Jubilee Orpingtons - Bantam Cochins - Muscovy Ducks - Quail - Midget White Turkeys - QCU Poultry Drinkers / Feeders
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Black Copper Marans - Golden Cuckoo Marans - Black Tail Buff Marans - BBS Orpingtons - Jubilee Orpingtons - Bantam Cochins - Muscovy Ducks - Quail - Midget White Turkeys - QCU Poultry Drinkers / Feeders
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post #4 of 128

Greyfields,

Excellent update.

Since reading your posts about the Rangers I've reviewed their site and emailed
them a few questions.   

I'd like to ask you a few questions:

1-Were they ok shipping you 50.  I'll need 25 max.
2-Were they all roosters or straight run?
3-How was the messiness compared to Cornish X?
4-How did they taste?
5-Did you keep any past the maturity date?  I'm just picturing
having a few with personalities I'll want to keep for my pet flock.
They are a real good looking bird.

Thanks A Lot!!!

Don

"A part of you might hate me, but son please don't mistake me, for a man who didn't care at all"
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I don't get around these parts much anymore so please don't PM me.  Use the email function under the user name.
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"A part of you might hate me, but son please don't mistake me, for a man who didn't care at all"
-
I don't get around these parts much anymore so please don't PM me.  Use the email function under the user name.
Reply
post #5 of 128

Wow, I just went to thier web page...nice looking birds no doubt! I too am wondering about the messiness of them compared to the cornishx. I might just look into them next year, instead of the cornishx. Thanks greyfields!!

Deb
Heavens Door Acres
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Deb
Heavens Door Acres
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post #6 of 128
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pawtraitart 

What type of crosses are you going to try for your own meat birds?


I am doing pens of the following:

1)  Dark Cornish on Barred Rock
2)  Dark Cornish on Speckled Sussex
3)  Dark Cornish on White Rock
4)  Reverse cross Barred Rock on Cornish
5)  Reverse cross RIR on Cornish

I have the least optimism for #4 and #5.  I lost one Cornish rooster to a tragic electric fence incident, so it will take me a few weeks to get all the correct eggs set.

I'm aware none of these will have white plumage; but I don't have access to a white Cornish roo (yet).  I need to find some breeders.

post #7 of 128

What do you think about a dark cornish on new hampshire red or delaware?

Black Copper Marans - Golden Cuckoo Marans - Black Tail Buff Marans - BBS Orpingtons - Jubilee Orpingtons - Bantam Cochins - Muscovy Ducks - Quail - Midget White Turkeys - QCU Poultry Drinkers / Feeders
Reply
Black Copper Marans - Golden Cuckoo Marans - Black Tail Buff Marans - BBS Orpingtons - Jubilee Orpingtons - Bantam Cochins - Muscovy Ducks - Quail - Midget White Turkeys - QCU Poultry Drinkers / Feeders
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post #8 of 128
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleChicken 

1-Were they ok shipping you 50.  I'll need 25 max.


I got 50 because that was the minimum at that time.  A friend down the river only needed 25, so he did an order of 50 and got a couple to go in with him.  It saved everyone on shipping really.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleChicken 

2-Were they all roosters or straight run?


Straight run.  No point in doing anything else on meat birds.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleChicken 

3-How was the messiness compared to Cornish X?


Less messy.  They were 3 weeks in brooder, 2 weeks in an 8'x8' tractor, then 4 weeks in a larger tractor 6'x10' with a 160 SF run outside it.  I moved the tractor and run weekly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleChicken 

4-How did they taste?


Chicktastic

Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleChicken 

5-Did you keep any past the maturity date?  I'm just picturing
having a few with personalities I'll want to keep for my pet flock.


Interesting question.  As a general response, these 'breeds' were developed for the UK and Canada for the organic market.  In order to be organic there, the birds can be no younger than 81 days at slaughter.  Obviously, a Cornish X at 81 days would be immense, if still alive.  So as far as I can tell, they have the same FCR as Cornish X's, but don't drop dead spontaneously.

If I had to guess on the breeding, I'd say the terminal sire was fior sure a White Cornish.  I think he was used on a Barred Rock / Light Sussex cross.  They have some barring coming through as well as the neck feather pattern you see on a light Sussex; which is a very common breed in England.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleChicken 

They are a real good looking bird.


We went with 30 Grey Rangers being Greyfields Farm and all.  They are handsome birds for sure.  The gourmet blacks look a lot like Barred Rocks, except with yellow in the neck plumage.

My downstream neighbor got Red Rangers, and they are handsome, too.  They look like RIR's right now, but with much thicker legs and a wider stance.

post #9 of 128
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pawtraitart 

What do you think about a dark cornish on new hampshire red or delaware?


I think with all home grown "Cornish Crosses" you are going to get more virulent animals than the commercial Cornish X's.  Since the large hatchery versions are using parent stock which has been selected for size and growth rate alone (for up to a hundred years); your home crosses won't have quite the same 'self destruct' gene pattern in them.  Of course, if you do the same at home, selecting for your larger beasts, you should come up with a pretty comparible result to the commercial strains - except hopefully with better genetics for longevity.

post #10 of 128
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by greyfields 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pawtraitart 

What type of crosses are you going to try for your own meat birds?


I am doing pens of the following:

1)  Dark Cornish on Barred Rock
2)  Dark Cornish on Speckled Sussex
3)  Dark Cornish on White Rock
4)  Reverse cross Barred Rock on Cornish
5)  Reverse cross RIR on Cornish

I have the least optimism for #4 and #5.  I lost one Cornish rooster to a tragic electric fence incident, so it will take me a few weeks to get all the correct eggs set.

I'm aware none of these will have white plumage; but I don't have access to a white Cornish roo (yet).  I need to find some breeders.


I forgot to mention that I was going to try the Dark Cornish on the Black Sex-Links, too.  My BSLs are just plain meaty girls.  I think there is some potential there.  This is a meat "double cross", but since I'm breeding BSLs anyhow, it's not hard to put a Cornish on them and see what I get.

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