Are Freedom Ranger Chickens Hybrids?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by hiddenflock, Jan 26, 2013.

  1. hiddenflock

    hiddenflock Chillin' With My Peeps

    We want meat birds this year, but we aren't the wildest meat hybrid fans. I hear that Freedom Rangers are great meat birds...are they hybrids?
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes.
     
  3. pastryman

    pastryman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You could try the freedom rangers this year. And then try getting a dorking cock and some la bresse hens for making next years meat chickens.

    You will get meat people on fancy restaurants can only dream of. The la bresse hens will (normaly) lay lots of eggs and find a lot of their own food. They eat lots of grass and la bresse have more breastmeat than any other breed I have heard of. Dorkings have won a lot of taste blindtest.

    Good luck. Im gettet hungry now. Must stop.
     
  4. jasmer

    jasmer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Freedom Rangers are a hybrid, yes. My husband and I are trying to avoid hybrids too because we want to maintain our own meat flock and hatch our own chicks every year from our own birds. :)

    We're looking into Jersey Giants and Dorkings. In the future we might try Bresse, but I hear that eggs/chicks are outlandishly expensive. Might be a worthwhile investment for a few to add to breeding stock, though. Jersey Giants are slow growing, it can take up to 9 months for them to fully grow, and you probably won't be able to butcher until at least 6 months from what I understand, so if you can't free range and have to buy or supplement store feed they probably aren't worth the cost, plus they almost never go broody and apparently can crush their eggs (they're a 10-13 lb chicken).

    Dorkings also appear to be somewhat slow growers, and they're not that big, but everybody keeps going on about how fantastic their meat is, they're good foragers, and typically broody, which is almost as important to us as meat quality.

    If you're looking for a self sustainable flock just add a couple broody hens of any breed and hatch eggs under them. If you want to avoid hybrids because you just don't know what went into breeding your Rangers or Cornish Xs, do some research on heritage meat breeds and consider trying out two or three and see which you like, or if you want to try crossing them to see what you get.
     
  5. hiddenflock

    hiddenflock Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks, flockwatcher, pastryman, and jasmer! That does have to be the worst thing about hybrids, that they can't breed. Since there is no shortage of chicken dinners around our house, it certainly would be more economical to breed our own...plus, I'll bet you get a better chance of good stock! Since Freedom Rangers turn out to be hybrids, and I haven't seen them in Ideal Poultry's broiler section (where they'd probably be), I was looking at White Plymouth Rocks, but now I'm thinking about Dorkings! Are they about as broody as a buff Orpington, or broodier? We've had a few short-term cases of broodiness (like five hours at the most), but nothing like the determined, full-on hatch mode that's always pinned on breeds like the buffie!
     
  6. jasmer

    jasmer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    From what I've read Dorkings very often go broody, so the odds of you getting a few broody hens in an order are probably pretty darn good. Some of our RIRs are also very broody, they won't leave the nest boxes unless they're empty. We're going to rock the Jersey Giants anyway since we'll be able to free range them long enough to get a good weight off them, but we're also going to get some Dorkings so we have some broody birds.

    Even the Cornish X you order from hatcheries will be better than what you buy in the store. You can free range them, they aren't the most eager foragers, but you can encourage them to get some exercise and forage. There are others here who do Cornish X with great success and don't have the leg problems and such that others do, but it's all in how much you feed vs how much they are forced to forage. Anything raised at home will be better than the commercial chickens. Somebody else here mentioned they prefer Australorps as a dual purpose breed because overall--temperament, laying, meat, health, etc--they feel that Australorps just come out on top. We have a couple we might try. ;)

    Two of our RIRs are very broody. One of them will only leave the nest boxes when they're empty, and she'll come back as soon as she sees eggs. We're probably going to keep her for hatching our other layers just in case we don't get any that go broody.

    I guess many breeds have had the broodiness bred out of them. I mean it makes sense from a commercial standpoint, and with incubators you don't really need broody hens anyway and it might be less hassle in the long run, plus broody hens tend to peck and make a huge fuss when you try to collect eggs. The broody RIR pecks us, and so does one of our Australorps when she's going through her daily 2 hours of "look how broody I am" (she's such a poser).

    So part of selecting our breeds includes a decent chance of broody hens, with the exception of the Jersey Giant. We want to be sure we have a few hens around every year who can hatch eggs for us since we want to do it the old fashioned way. :) You could pick whatever meat breed you like, and then order a few hens from a particularly broody breed.
     

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