Barred Rock - Red Ranger Cross

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Jasonpdx, May 25, 2019.

  1. Jasonpdx

    Jasonpdx In the Brooder

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    Mar 25, 2018
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    Hi all. I recently got 25 red rangers and have been raising them for meat. But we intend on keeping five and adding them to our egg flock. We have a Barred Rock rooster. He does a good job of fertilize the eggs and then we incubate them and raise them for meat chickens. However, I'm curious about how long it will take to Barred Rock - Red Ranger cross chickens to get big enough for processing? Does anybody have any experience with this cross? When we do Rock - Orpington crosses, they take about 16 weeks to get big enough.
     
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  2. Compost King

    Compost King Crowing

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    I cross my Red Rangers with Heritage breeds to make meat birds. Never crossed any of the rocks. Making the assumption that your Barred Rock is of good meat quality I would guess you could have somewhat of a decent table bird in 12 weeks, and quite large by week 16. My Dorking x Red Rangers were between 5 and 6 pounds (males) by week 16. If you have a high (meat) quality Barred Rock you might be getting faster growth than I had. As far as how long it will take will depend on what size you are aiming for.
     
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  3. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Crowing

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    "Big enough" is relative don't you think? If you want tender you need to stay weeks this side of 16. If you're just using them for fryers or roasters then the larger size may be what you're after. I like to grill and wouldn't put a bird older than 14 weeks on it. Younger is even better.

    Compost King makes a good point as to heritage or hatchery Barred Rock you are starting with. The hatchery will be poor meat quality. And on that note Barred are slower to mature by nature of breeding for slower feather growth for better barring. A white would be better and better yet a New Hampshire or Dorking as Compost King mentioned above.

    Think of that high quality meat carcass of Dorking crossed with the Ranger reaching 4lbs live weight cockerels at 12 weeks. Split carcass in halves, lather up with your special sauce and toss them on the grill. Who doesn't drool over that?
     
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  4. Compost King

    Compost King Crowing

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    My Avatar photo is the skinned carcass of a Dorking X Red Ranger around week 18, Its a bit deceptive looking, there is much more breast meat than appears and it had such a long Keel. I got 3 meals out of the breast meat alone and that's with my heavier than normal appetite. Meat Quality Rocks will flesh out faster than Dorking's and I will assume you can get that size sooner but due to my lack of experience with quality Rocks I have no idea if they will have the same long keel that Dorkings have.

    Even if your Barred Rock is not of high meat quality the Red Ranger is and it will be better than your Barred Rock x Orpington cross.
     
  5. Jasonpdx

    Jasonpdx In the Brooder

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    Mar 25, 2018
    Portland Oregon
    Thanks for your insights, everyone. I am not sure about the lineage of my Rock roster, so we'll just have to see how it goes. In any case, it seems like things will work out fine and I should get good meat chickens in much less than 16 weeks. I'll let you know how it works out next time I do a batch of these.
     
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  6. LilyD

    LilyD Crowing

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    Personally myself I tend to go with around 16 -24 weeks processing the largest ones first and then letting the others grow out a bit more. I usually would pick them up and actually feel their weight before processing. You would get about 60% of your live weight at processing so a 5lb bird liveweight would be around 3lbs of meat once processed. You have to think about how you will be cooking them.

    I like variety. You can cook 12-16 weeks as fryers since they are pretty tender still. Roasters are 16-24 weeks for me and I roast them on lower temps around 200-225 degrees for a much longer cook time in a sealed dutch oven with broth or marinade below the bird basting often only opening it up the last few minutes to brown the skin. Anything that is older than say 30 weeks I would use in something like chicken soup or stew where you are using a lot of moisture like chicken and dumplings or enchiladas. I have used birds as old as 5 years for chicken stew the older the bird the more flavor it has when you cook it.
     
  7. Compost King

    Compost King Crowing

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    I like them at 5 pounds because I found that letting them get bigger really puts a big dent in my feed storage. If I could free range them on a pasture I would go bigger but since the majority of their meat is produced by feed I buy 5 pounds seems like the the ideal size.
     
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  8. LilyD

    LilyD Crowing

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    For me it really depends on the bird they free range in the horse pasture and keep the bugs down so technically they don't need to go until Sept because that's when there are chances of freezes and snow flying. If I wait I just change the way I use the bird no big deal.
     
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