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Red Ranger Chickens

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
I got 10 meat chicks called the Red Rangers and have a few questions. We also have laying hens but i might keep 1 to see how it does for laying eggs, for the heck of it.

1- I am curious does anyone know what breeds went into developing the red ranger meat chicken? I would think road island red and...?
2- Are they the same as the freedom ranger meat chicken?
3- Has anyone tryed seeing how they do laying eggs?
4- Do they have problems with there legs like other meat breeds?

Thank you
Edited by Highland Hens - 4/9/13 at 9:32pm
I love my chickens with mashed potatoes and gravy.
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I love my chickens with mashed potatoes and gravy.
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post #2 of 23

I have 14 red rangers at 6 weeks old and was thinking the same things, I see no one has replied . The question of legs is one I hadn't thought of. Hate to waste one of these great birds to a bad leg 6 months down the road.

post #3 of 23

I do not know what went into making Red Rangers, but I do not think they will be the most efficient layers.  In general, the bigger the bird, the more it will eat to maintain itself.  Red Rangers are bred to be big and put on a lot of meat, so you can expect that they will be eating a lot more than birds with a lighter body type to produce the same eggs.  I have not kept them past 3 or 4 months old, so I do not know how they are as layers, but I think there are better choices out there. 

 

I just finished off the last three left of the 14 Red Rangers I raised this spring, and I had some problems with bumblefoot, but not with leg problems.  I had one cockerel that was in obvious pain from bumblefoot, and he spent most of the day laying down.  I processed him first, but I noticed that most of the birds had black scabs on the soles of their feet. 

 

Freedom Rangers are a different "brand" of colored broiler, and different breeds probably went into making them than the Red Ranger. 
 

post #4 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Highland Hens View Post

I got 10 meat chicks called the Red Rangers and have a few questions. We also have laying hens but i might keep 1 to see how it does for laying eggs, for the heck of it.

1- I am curious does anyone know what breeds went into developing the red ranger meat chicken? I would think road island red and...?
2- Are they the same as the freedom ranger meat chicken?
3- Has anyone tryed seeing how they do laying eggs?
4- Do they have problems with there legs like other meat breeds?

Thank you

1. no idea

2. are they the same? no because it's my understanding the freedom is a trademarked name and the guy who started that breed has retired and his son is in charge of the line of birds. Now are they and dixie rangers and the other ranger varieties not as good, better than or equal to the freedoms are up for grabs and will likely depend on whom breeds them (esp. since many hatcheries out source some if not all the chicks they sell and if they have extras and their competitors are short a few birds it's my understanding they sub contract to each other for those instances).

3 use the search function because I'm sure someone has done it, but more than likely they use the eggs for breeding purposes, or as a suppliment for their own laying flock when not hatching them out. (remember they are bred to be a meat bird, not a laying or DP bird so egg production would not be very high)

4 It's my understanding they may have leg problems, but because they are a slow growing meat bird there are less problems, but I have never raised any form of rangers, I am going on what I have read here, again use the search function that's what it's there for.

Hello there!

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Hello there!

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post #5 of 23

I raissed 35 Freedom Rangers last summer as meat birds.  Only one developed any leg problems and he was the first to be butchered.  I decided to keep two pullets and one rooster to see what 1st generation Freedom Rangers might look/grow like.  However, the rooster was massive and a brute and was terrorizing my laying flock and egg production went way down.  He was butchered at maybe 5 months of age and I made Coc au Vin.  He was over 8 lb fully dressed.

 

One of the hens developed a prolapse during the winter and I butchered her.  Her remaining sister I butchered this spring.  She was big and healthy, over 7 pounds fully dressed but quite fatty (the prolapsed one was fatty too, which may have led to the prolapse).  Anyway, neither pullet produced many eggs and they ate more than the rest of my flock (2 BPR, 1 WPR, 2 EES and 2 Welsummers).  Since I wasn't getting many eggs and didn't have a rooster for breeding, it didn't make much sense to keep them.  

post #6 of 23
I'm very new to having chickens (got my first flock this year), but I read that Red Rangers are the same breed as Columbian Blacktail, which are a cross between a Rhode Island Red and a White Sussex. The pictures that come up when searching for them certainly look alike. If it is the same breed, Columbian Blacktails are known for being excellent layers. I have six, and they are great hens personality-wise, too. They're very friendly and curious.
post #7 of 23

I still have a cross from a red ranger hen and a dark cornish rooster. This hen is a laying machine. Layed all winter. Nice dense, meaty bird.


Edited by ijon - 6/16/13 at 3:18am
post #8 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by ijon View Post

I still have a cross from a red ranger hen and a dark cornish rooster. This hen is a laying machine. Layed all winter. Nice dense, meaty bird.


Can you post the picture of the hen?

post #9 of 23

I'm no expert on any of this but I am under the impression that freedom rangers and red rangers are pretty much the same.  The Freedom Ranger Hatchery website says the breed was developed to meet the French Label Rouge certification guidelines in Europe (birds must be raised on pasture etc) and that they are a cross of four different heritage chicken breeds, but it doesn't say what they are.  I've read on the internet (and OF COURSE everything on the internet is true....wink.png) that red rangers and color rangers are the same thing as Freedom Rangers - it's just that Freedom Ranger is the brand name for bird from one specific hatchery. 

 

I raised 26 freedom rangers last year.  21 were harvested for meat after 11-12 weeks.  Here is a post about their growth and feed conversion: http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/729919/freedom-ranger-backyard-broilers-feed-amount-feed-conversion-and-growth

 

We kept five as laying hens (the five largest females) and they've been doing ok.  Here is a post about them as laying hens: http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/735932/freedom-rangers-as-laying-hens-impressed-so-far.  I do not give them feed free choice, because I was concerned about them getting too heavy and developing leg problems.  Instead I measured and varied the amount of feed I gave them each day (twice a day feedings) until I found the sweet spot where they eat all the food I give them, even the little hard to get bits in the bottom of the feeder.  I think they are getting just enough to eat, but no more.  They are large birds already, and they look quite fit, but no leg problems.  

 

In short, they started laying really early, at 16 weeks, which was the end of December.  I was shocked, but I've read elsewhere they other folks have found that Freedom Rangers keep laying through the winter - they don't seem to decrease production as the amount of daylight lessens.  We had a pretty high amount of double yolks eggs right off the bat.  I think one bird was laying very large double-yolkers every day to every other day.  That eventually dropped off though, and in mid-May one of the birds died.  I did a necropsy and came to the conclusion that she had a blocked oviduct.  In subsequent research I found that birds that tend to lay double yolk eggs are more likely to develop blocked oviducts so it was probably the same bird.  We still get a double yolk egg once in a while from one of the remaining birds, but rarely.  Of the four we have left, two are outstanding layers (almost one egg a day) but the other two are poor layers (one to two eggs a week or less).  One of those also has problems making shells.  When she lays, the shells are very thin and there are large bumpy deposits of calcium on one end of the egg.  I can't figure out exactly which bird is laying those though, so I haven't culled her.  Recently I've started to get more of those eggs though and they don't look as bad.  So maybe her body will work out whatever problems it is having.  

 

I haven't decided yet if I like these birds as laying hens enough to do it again, I think I want to try some laying breeds.  I'm guessing that they breeding for good meat production characteristics has removed any consistency in laying production - in other words, some will be great layers and others won't.  I don't feel like I'm feeding them too much, and even though I'm buying pretty high quality feed I'm currently only spending about $3 per week on feed, an getting about a dozen eggs.  This is about 25% less than I would be spending on eggs if I bought a comparable product from a local farmer. It will be very nice if they keep laying through the winter. So overall I'm satisfied for now, but I know it could be even better if all four birds laid as well as the two good layers.  If you have the ability, I'd suggest keeping twice as many hens as you want to have layers, make sure you have a coop where you can install trap nests so you will know for sure who is laying which eggs, let them all get into a laying routine, then cull the birds that aren't laying well.

post #10 of 23

I will try to get a picture of the hen for you.

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