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Chicken Breeds item created by brightpennies, Dec 8, 2015
Pros - A Real Meat Bird That Can Actually Walk or Hobble and the Nicest Birds We Own
Cons - Feet and Lazy
These birds are great because of their size and friendliness. They look funny when they walk because its different from the majority of chickens. The bottom line is they can get to where they want to, especially if there is food there. I like them better than cross cornish because they walk for the most part and actually forage somewhat. They are extremely lazy, because they move to their food and lay down in place to eat. They rarely stand in one place and just go to their belly and sleep. I got them from the Amish who got them from Townline Hatchery in Michigan. These are the only birds that I will buy next year. We have one hen left. Her name is Jumbo. She's 4.5 months old and I don't think she's laying yet. If she is they are the small ones that we just started getting. Rooster were not mean. Their size and clumsy feet keeps them from effectively fornicating.
Pros - Supposed free range chicken, red in color
Cons - Costs more to raise, not any more adept at ranging that any other meat chicken, longer to raise, huge carcass with poor meat to bone ratio, a hybrid
I have raised Cornish Cross meat chickens for the past 10 years, and one day I went to take my batch of 75 to process and some guy suggested I raise some Freedom Rangers or commonly called Red Rangers.
So the next year I raised a batch of 25 of the FR/RR and was not impressed.
Let's take a step back to that fateful day when I went to the butcher...
That man's FR/RR chickens had a much larger body cavity than my CC, but I would safely say that they had % less meat and were raised for 4 weeks longer than my CC.
When I raised the FR/RR, I have found that they don't range any better than the CC, took more feed and time to raise than the CC.
When I took mine to process, I was not impressed with the amount of internal fat that they had, compared to the CC.
Will not be raising the FR/RR again, nor recommending them.
Pros - Easy to Handle, Affectionate, Fast Growing, Good layers, Trainable
Cons - None
I got some of these last year to fill my chick quota, but now I plan on getting them consistently. I haven't butchered any of mine because they are just so friendly! (I will cull on 2nd or 3rd birthday.) I currently have three that are amazing. I am training one as a therapy chicken and she is doing great. I take mine to schools and day-cares and they are super tolerable. I have never had an aggression problem with any of the roos or hens. I love this breed.
Pros - Fast-growing meat birds; good layers year 'round; sweet hens
Cons - Roosters can be aggressive; foot problems
I purchased ten Freedom Rangers from the TSC during Chick Days. Some of the chicks were questionably labeled, but I have since confirmed that Freedom Rangers are a recognized breed. I intended to eat them all, since they were listed as meat birds, but the three hens were so friendly that I ended up keeping them. At only three months, the roosters were enormous and had to be processed, yielding huge carcasses with lots of tender dark meat. A few of them had issues with their feet, presumably from growing so quickly. The hens have not had any lasting foot problems but they are nowhere near as big as the roos. The roosters were nasty to the hens, but sweet with me, and all are excellent foragers. The hens don't lay as well as some of my other girls, usually 3-4 eggs a week, but they have continued to lay into the winter without artificial light.
These are great birds, and I would happily buy more in the spring.