acceptable loss % for Freedom Rangers

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by HillCountryMomma, Apr 26, 2008.

  1. HillCountryMomma

    HillCountryMomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 16, 2008
    Hi Y'all,

    I got my order of 50 Freedom Rangers on Fri. So far I'm not overly thrilled.

    The hatchery did not send any extra chicks as most others do anticipating that a couple will die in transit. All the chicks arrived alive, but it was obvious some were very stressed.

    I dipped each of their beaks in water as I unloaded them and made sure they had a drink, then watched to make sure the majority had found food. Checked on them frequently.

    One died within an hour. I had 3 more die this morning within 24 hours of their arrival. So that's 4 total, an almost a 10% die off rate.

    I have a nice sized brooder in my garage (3'x3') where I've raised multiple batches of layer chicks over the years. My system is tried and true for layers. This year I haven't lost a single layer baby, even my home hatches.

    So I'm real frustrated with the meat bird losses. Worried I'm going to loose more since there is no apparent cause of death (other than the considerable stress of shipping). The chicks lie down, fade, fall over and don't ever get back up. I even tried hand feeding the last couple faders egg yolk (from my layer flock) by hand, still lost em.

    To top it all off, they sent me Golden Rangers instead of the red/bronze that I ordered.

    Nope. Not real happy! Do I just need a reality check? [​IMG] I was goign to email Barbara and complain, but if this is just the way it goes with broilers then I'll adjust. But darn, I was really hoping for better things from the Freedom Rangers.

    Liz
     
  2. wynedot55

    wynedot55 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 28, 2007
    1st off your doing a good job raising your chicks.the truth is broiler chicks are a little harder to raise than pullets.because a few more things can make them sick.with broilers you could lose 15% more or less.
     
  3. BirdBrain

    BirdBrain Prefers Frozen Tail Feathers

    May 7, 2007
    Alaska
    I would e-mail the hatchery or call her and let her know what you have encountered. I thought FR's were hardier than Cornish X's. What are their garantees regarding arriving alive? Was there insurance? AAACK.
     
  4. BirdBrain

    BirdBrain Prefers Frozen Tail Feathers

    May 7, 2007
    Alaska
    Be sure to tell her you got the wrong kind of bird as well.
     
  5. chcknrs

    chcknrs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 7, 2008
    Kelso, WA
    Greyfields has some experience with the Freedom Rangers, so you might want to wait until he comes online. I am sure he has been out working in gardens and fields, taking advantage of the wonderful day we are FINALLY having here.
     
  6. greyfields

    greyfields Overrun With Chickens

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    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    I've only lost one from my last batch of 50. Here is my general advice:

    The condition your chicks experience during transit is the #1 factor in how many die during the first day. If they were over chilled or over heated in transit, you will experience losses (even if they seemingly are healthy when you get them). You have to consider the weather between you and Wisconssin and every point in between. There is just no way to ensure that chicks are dieing due to the hatchery's fault or the postal services. I often see people just reaming Murray McMurray because they had chicks die when they got them. It just doesn't compute to me that the hatchery is to blame, when you have no way of knowing what hell the birds went through to get to you.

    So, I'm sure you can e-mail Barbara and let her know you had some mortality issues. I'm not sure if they replace birds or not which die in the first 24 hours. I've just never had the problem, sorry. I am sorry for your losses. [​IMG]
     
  7. tberggren

    tberggren Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 20, 2008
    Ithaca NY
    I would of been very happy to only have four die.
    I lose 20!! They were shipped Priority mail and it took two days to get here so I think they were pretty chilled by then.
    I had something like 8 dead in the box and then they dropped like flies the next hour or so, loss 3 or 4 more (can't just remember) over night and one this afternoon. (but that one was my fault, didn't notice he had a crusty butt until morning. No one else had crusty butts btw.

    Anyway, I am disappointed but Barbara got right back to me and explained that although they can't guarantee the birds after they leave their hands (makes sense to me) they do usually make it up on the next order.

    I do hope to try again, but next time ask for Express delivery.

    But a friend of mine from another list sent me the following, which is a cause for concern if it is true. <I just spoke with Barbara and they are closed down. From what she said, it sounded like it was permanent but she also said she was
    hoping to get things going again next year. I feel so awful for her. She had a very big customer not buy what he said he would and it devastated them.>

    May want to send her some support about now. [​IMG]
     
  8. HillCountryMomma

    HillCountryMomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 16, 2008
    Well,

    I'm not sure if I feel better or not. The birds shipped from the hatchery in Ohio to Texas, so it was a long trip. It's been warm though, especially as you head further south.

    I expected some losses, but I also expected there to be a couple extra birds sent to make up for shipping losses. Seems like all the other hatcheries send a few extra knowing some won't make it.

    I guess I'm just underwhelmed with the whole Freedom Ranger experience. Communication was less than stellar. I didn't hear anything after placing my order for a long time. Had to call to Canada to get an address to mail my check. Didn't hear anything again for a long time. When I was finally sent my invoice it was wrong and belonged to someone else (same last name). Then I received the wrong birds. Coincidentally (or not) the wrong invoice I received was for someone else's Golden Rangers. Bet they got stuck with my Reds! My order also originally said I had selected UPS overnight delivery, but the birds ended up coming to me via USPS priority. They too took 2 days.

    Frankly, if this is how the business is run on a regular basis I can see why a major buyer would back out. The whole thing is a total cluster (or at least my experience was)! I'd hate to see Barbara (or anyone else) go out of business. Odd though... you'd think if a major buyer had backed out they'd be filling other orders to make money ASAP. Mine shipped late because she told me they had a low hatch rate. Doesn't sound too bad if they have more demand than supply!

    I think from now on I'm going to go with red broilers from Ideal unless the Rangers really take off and impress me. Ideal is just a couple hour drive from me. I'll go pick up my own bids!

    Liz
     
  9. SimplyAbundantFarm

    SimplyAbundantFarm Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 24, 2008
    I had a similar disappointing experience with them -- but I bailed out before they shipped because of the issues and problems. Barbara was always very nice, but the communication from their end was non-existent. First there were the problems with ordering -- the website gladly took my PayPal payment right away, but I never heard a peep from them re: a confirmation, etc. I called Canada several times trying to get things straightened out. A week went by each time between the time I called her and the time she got back to me (only after more prodding). Twice she asked me what the correct order was, my address, etc. -- things that I had emailed to her more than once. I just figured they were busy and were overwhelmed.


    My chicks were supposed to hatch on 04/02. I had called a few days before to confirm that they would be coming and to make sure she had all of the info she needed to ship them to me on the 2nd. I never got a call saying that they weren't going to come, so I was assuming that they would be peeping at the post office by the 3rd or 4th. When Friday afternoon came and I had to head out of town over the weekend, I called Barbara. That was when I learned that my order didn't get shipped -- had I not called, I wonder if I would have ever received a call. She told me that they had a lower than expected hatch rate. I asked her if we could put my order on the 04/09 hatch and she said that she could not -- but that she would put me down for the 04/16 hatch. We reconfirmed (for at least the 3rd or 4th time) the order and she assured me they would ship on the 16th.

    I even called on the 14th and the 15th (but got no return call) to confirm whether or not they would ship on the 16th for sure. When the 17th came and no chicks and no communication again, I started to get worried that this would be a repeat of the week of the 2nd. I called Barbara and asked her if my chicks had shipped. She told me they had not -- because she had orders for the 16th and that they had a low hatch rate again. She said she did not want to disappoint the folks who were expecting them on the 16th. I reminded her that she had already disappointed me twice -- that I had been expecting them on the 2nd and then, again, on the 16th. She apologized (she is always very sweet -- but still no chicks). She PROMISED me that I would get them this past week -- on the hatch of the 23rd.

    The more I thought about it, the more I decided that I was not going to go through this again -- particularly, because I have to be out of the country in the summer for two weeks and my goal was to have the chicks shipped on the 2nd so they would have had plenty of time to grow out and for me to have them processed before I leave.

    Meanwhile, Barbara finally sent me an invoice for my chicks who were supposed to be shipped on 04/23 -- but, like happened to one of the previous posters, mine, too, was wrong -- it was for a whole lot more birds, reds instead of goldens, and for a whole lot more $$ than I had originally ordered. (As a matter of fact, I think that she was going to send me your reds, Liz, as I was supposed to get 50 goldens and the invoice and her emails were only for red/bronze.) It was just the last straw in an already very disappointing experience. I emailed Barbara and asked her to cancel my order because by this point I had lost faith in them. She was quite gracious and actually refunded my $$ within an hour via paypal. I was disappointed -- very disappointed -- but time was running out and I just could not risk one more week of excuses, errors and delays. I understand that they have had a rough year, but -- like you said -- if this is the way they do business, it is no wonder that things aren't going well for them. (I'm thinking like you are -- if they have had this big buyer back out -- how come they didn't have our chicks for us when we needed them?)

    I immediately started searching the internet for breeders of the same birds or similar birds (in fact, if you look at the hubbardbreeders.com website and click on color birds and then differentiated growth you will see the freedom ranger-'style' red broilers and grey broilers right on their website). I was lucky enough to find a hatchery less than an hour from me that hatches the very same birds. (Joel Martin -- JM Hatchery in New Holland, PA, www.jmhatchery.com) I called him and asked him if he could supply me with 100 chicks this week and -- without a problem or a hassle or any of the drama that I had been through with the Freedom Ranger folks it was a done deal. Joel's communication was excellent and -- because I was so gunshy after the FR experience -- I asked him if it was ok if I just drove up there and picked them up on the day they hatched. (I was fed up with delays and just wanted to get my birds!) They are healthy, happy, active and doing great. I received 100 chicks and have not lost a single one of them. He was great and I will buy birds from him again in a heartbeat. Shipping is included on his birds and they actually come out to be less than the cost of what my original FRs would have been with the shipping added. There is also another hatchery in PA (MT-DI -- but they don't have a website) who hatch the same types of birds. George at MT-DI calls his the Color Pak and Joel at JM calls his the Red Bro -- in fact, that's how come I am pretty sure that they all come from the same stock.

    Anyway...that is my 2008 FR saga to add to the list. I was really looking forward to the Goldens, too -- not only did I hope they would grow out well and be tasty for my customers, but they would have been pretty! You will have to let us know how they grow out.

    As disappointed as many of us have been with our experiences with them, I do hope that Barbara can get things turned around. I felt bad for her when she sent me the email explaining what had happened to the. She seemed like a really nice lady who was just totally overwhelmed by the whole turn of events -- -- but, unfortunately, I just couldn't risk waiting any longer.
     
  10. lynxpilot

    lynxpilot Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 19, 2008
    I've never dealt with freedom rangers, and have either bought local or Murray McMurray. The first several batches were virtually flawless. Our first ever batch, we lost none until about a week in and I had 2 dead from what I presume to be getting mushed by a food dispenser. Next couple years flawless. This year I ordered a big batch from MM and 4 were dead on arrival. We lost a few every night for the next several nights. Conditions were as we always do, with plenty food, water, and heat. Overcrowding was not an issue because we have a bunch of brooder areas. I had called MM the day after arrival and they gladly applied losses to my account even though at that time I was still in the spares. I never did call them about later losses because I was outside their guarantee time frame. I'd venture a guess that we had a batch with the usual bugs that the birds carry normally (coccidiosis and the like) and the transition made them vulnerable. I'm sure MM would've covered losses. They have been very good with timing, shipments, and anything else so far. Easy to talk to and very responsive. Sounds like your freedom ranger source has some business issues they need to work out.
     

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