Alternatives to Cornish Cross?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Vermont Poultry, Mar 4, 2017.

  1. Vermont Poultry

    Vermont Poultry Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 22, 2016
    Northern Vermont
    I will be raising meat birds again this year, last year I tried raising Freedom Ranger chickens with Cornish Cross chickens, I was not impresses with the Freedom Rangers (I believe they are also known as Red Broilers). The Freedom Rangers were aggressive to the significantly docile CX, their feed conversion rate was pitiful compared to CX, and they pooped about the same amount.

    My big question is, is their a healthier alternative to CX, with similar characteristics to the CX but with less health issues? I read about this breed called "Toad" broiler, but they are not available in my area, and I would like to get chicks for around the same price. Any answers are appreciated. Thanks
     
  2. Lelilamom

    Lelilamom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 28, 2013
    I believe there are a few alternatives. We too are looking into something other than the CX.

    To my (limited) knowledge, the Freedom Rangers aren't the same as the red broilers. Here is a hatchery that sells the "red broilers":

    http://www.neppahatchery.net/Products.html

    While this is a hatchery that sells the Freedom Rangers.
    http://www.freedomrangerhatchery.com/freedom-ranger-chickens.asp

    Here's McMurray's who sells "Red Ranger Broilers"
    https://www.mcmurrayhatchery.com/red_ranger_broiler.html

    I've also seen hatcheries sell a "Rainbow Ranger"
    https://www.meyerhatchery.com/productinfo.a5w?prodID=RRBS


    Confused? Yep, us too. We free range our CXs in a 40x40 fenced area with a leanto shelter. They taste great but we're looking for a healthier bird and better quality meat without spending the whole summer raising them.
     
  3. Vermont Poultry

    Vermont Poultry Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 22, 2016
    Northern Vermont
    Yeah our feed store likes to label Freedom Rangers and Red Broilers as the same thing, they did it on last years receipt. Thanks for correcting me.

    Last year when I raised them it was chaos, they lived in a large garage in a 4x8 brooder pen, which the bedding needed to be changed every 24 hours, I would take all 25 or 26 of them out every morning in a wheel barrel 400 feet to another part of the property and put them in a paddock. They grew waaaaay faster then I expected so 26 fat birds had to sit in a 4x8 coop every night, luckily they only spent night time in the coop but I want able to get their coop built in time, which ended up becoming a guinea fowl coop. They lived happy lives though, the CX did have leg issues that would go away for a week then come back worse, but I didn't want to slow down their growth rate by not feeding them because they acted like they were going to die of hunger after not having food for an hour. CX's are quite friendly, other then when they were chicks they never fought, but did get picked on often. And they fart like crazy when they are chicks, quite hyper active too. Anyways I hope you find a breed, I will be doing turkeys, possibly CX, ducks, maybe even quail or more guineas this year so I should be busy.

    Anyways thanks for the website information.
     
  4. Lelilamom

    Lelilamom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    HAHAHAHAHA!!!!! Yes they do. You are braver than I am wheelbarrowing them each day back and forth. Once mine are 3.5 weeks, they are outside for the duration.

    We do turkeys, BBW, each year - this will be our 5th year doing turkeys - and we paddock them with the chickens. NEVER a good idea but we don't have the space for a separate ranging area. This year I'm looking at re-arranging our paddock space so the turkey's can free range separately, but it'll mean cutting into chicken space. Turkeys are easy, much stinkier and super friendly. One year we let them just roam around and they visited each neighbor every morning begging for treats. They'd sit on our front porch basking in the sun and crapping pounds and pounds of poop in front of our front door. They'd knock on the door with their beaks and call out to us for hand outs. That year I was expecting our second child and one of the Toms followed me around like a puppy. He would sit next to me while I picked and weeded in the garden. When I told him the relationship was not mutually exclusive and was wholly unhealthy on his part, he would put his head down and look balefully at me. He dressed out at 55 lbs on the table and was quite delicious. :)
     
  5. Vermont Poultry

    Vermont Poultry Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 22, 2016
    Northern Vermont
    Yeah wheel barrowing them was no fun, always got nasty stuff on me and smelled terrible.

    I am looking forward to raising turkeys, man 55 pounds, that's massive. Was thinking of getting Bronze and White turkeys, not sure how I should go about building their coop, they are quite big. I wonder if they will get along with the wild turkeys that come by every week, haha our guineas almost ran away with them once, thinking they were their parents or something.
     
  6. Lelilamom

    Lelilamom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    When it comes to breed of turkeys, I'm not much help. We've only raised BBW. However, I've done a ton of research on the other breeds because I too have considered something other than the CX of turkeys, and what I DO know is that the heritage breeds don't dress out as big as the BBW. When it comes to their coop, we built a lovely coop with a roosting bar, metal roof, etc and our turkeys never use it, not one, not any year. They always roost in the covered run. We did have to lower the roosting bar in the run to 16 inches because once the BBWs hit about 4 mos, they can't fly very high and one damaged her wing trying to get on and off the roosting bar. Setting a broken wing on a 35 lb bird with a six foot wing span is seriously no fun and can hurt. Alot.

    You may not need a coop - just a three sided lean to with an attached covered run. The lean to is so they have some place to go to get out of the wind and rain and to put their food and water. BBWs get to table weight in 26 weeks. If you are going to winter the birds, then you will need something more weather proof and four sided with a smaller entrance. Hit up the turkey threads for ideas and good luck!
     

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