Best meat chickens

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by KDOGG331, Mar 5, 2017.

  1. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

    9,517
    1,525
    436
    Jan 18, 2008
    Massachusetts
    Okay so lately I've been thinking I might like to try some meat chickens. I'm still not sure if I will but for the sake of this post let's pretend I am.

    I am trying to decide between the regular Cornish Cross and the rangers. Unless there is something else?

    It has be easily accessible from a hatchery.

    Which brings me to another question: is there a difference between the different hatcheries "red rangers" or no? Is there a difference between those and the Meyer's Rainbow Rangers?

    I've never raised any meat chickens before so I would preferably want something fairly easy to raise and grow. Also maybe a little bit milder taste if that's possible? I've heard homegrown chicken tastes a lot different. I'm not sure I want something that grows quite as fast as the CX's but I don't want to raise super slow growing heritage breeds either.

    I've been trying to decide between CX's, black broilers, red broilers/Rainbow Rangers, and grey broilers. Or just trying some of all 4/5 haha was looking at Ideal, Cackle, and Meyer. Maybe try some from all? That's a lot of birds though.

    Are there any advantages or major differences in their stock? Or maybe there's a hatchery I missed?

    Also, does anyone know of any processors in or near Massachusetts? If I do get them, I don't think I'm quite to the point where I could do them myself yet.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. keesmom

    keesmom Overrun With Chickens

    8,654
    1,082
    391
    Jul 28, 2008
    MA
    I've raised both Cornish X and Freedom Rangers with good luck. The Cornish X I picked up at a nearby feed store because I didn't want to order 15-25 from a hatchery. The Rangers I got from Freedom Ranger Hatchery.

    I had no health issues with the Rangers. There were very few issues with the Cornish X as well. I may have lost 2 in the past 30 or so that I've had. Even though the Rangers are processed around 12-14 weeks of age they are quite similar to the chicken you are used to eating. It's the "dual purpose" ones, like my extra Faverolles that are culled each year, that have more flavor and a different texture.

    Freedom Ranger Hatchery also has black Rangers and Kosher Kings. I have not tried either of those. I'm fairly sure that's where Meyer is getting their meat bird alternatives (the rainbow, black and gray). Not sure where Ideal, McMurray or others are getting theirs.

    McMurray does offer what they call a Cornish Roaster which is a slower growing Cornish X.

    Where are you in MA? I know of one processor in Milford NH and another in New Bedford. I think there's another towards the center of the state but I can't think of the name at the moment.
     
  3. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

    9,517
    1,525
    436
    Jan 18, 2008
    Massachusetts
    Thanks for all the info! That's good to know about the taste too.

    I think you might be right about Meyer getting their birds from Freedom Ranger because the descriptions and pictures are almost exactly the same. Most places with red rangers only have one color but Meyer and FR both have the same 2 color possibilities and the same info on grey ranger/Kosher Kings too.

    My concern with Meyer is the shipping cost but Ideal has a $25 minimum poultry order and Cackle has a $20 small order charge for less than 15 birds. Both of those two the chicks are also cheaper than Meyer. So I have to look into which one is really cheaper. Although I would like to try the grey rangers/Kosher Kings.

    Also I'm sorry, I should have mentioned that I'm not sure if I want to do a big order of 25. I was thinking maybe starting with either 5 or 10 birds or maybe 15? Maybe 5 each of the 3 rangers? Unless getting more is easier or better somehow? I'm not sure what the best option is here but I don't want to be too overwhelmed at first. I figure if I like it then next year I can always put in a bigger order.

    I am in eastern MA. On the south shore near like Kingston, Plymouth, etc. I Googled it and apparently New Bedford is like 45 minutes away which isn't too bad but it's kind of a trip. Although according the map there's this tiny little zoo there, which is one I've been wanting to go to anyway, so maybe I could plan the trip around that
     
  4. keesmom

    keesmom Overrun With Chickens

    8,654
    1,082
    391
    Jul 28, 2008
    MA
    The first time I did meaties I started with 6. Do any of the feed stores near you get meat chicks in, or do special orders for people? You might want to ask around. You'd save on shipping that way.
     
  5. jennyf

    jennyf Chillin' With My Peeps

    429
    98
    111
    Apr 24, 2016
    Missouri
    I have 15 4 week old Cornish X from Ideal. The local feed store was nice enough to tack them onto their weekly order so I didn't have to pay shipping (or deal with any losses). This is my first time with meat birds but I'm happy with them so far!

    [​IMG]
     
  6. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

    9,517
    1,525
    436
    Jan 18, 2008
    Massachusetts

    I think the TSC gets meat birds sometimes and I'm not sure about our local feed store. I know the local one you can order chicks starting in February but I'm not sure if they get meat birds in.

    But so far Ideal seems to be the best as far as price.

    [​IMG]

    Most of the other ones are like $60, $70, one was even like $80, by the time you add on the extra price of the chicks, huge small order charges, and/or huge shipping fees.

    If I get em I might buy locally or go with Ideal. That's very reasonable imo.

    But that said, Meyer does have the grey rangers/Kosher Kings and Rainbow Rangers I would like to try.... but not for that price haha if I get less chicks then it's just higher for shipping.

    And I wonder if their Rainbow Rangers are any different from Ideal's Red Broilers? Or from the Freedom Rangers?
     
  7. keesmom

    keesmom Overrun With Chickens

    8,654
    1,082
    391
    Jul 28, 2008
    MA
    I think Meyer's rainbows are the same as the Freedom Rangers. Ideal's red broilers are different strain I believe, though I'm not sure it makes that much of a difference. I haven't raised them myself.

    You could take a road trip to Salem NH. Dodge Grain carries broilers spring, summer and into the fall. No minimum. I got twelve 10-day old Cornish X from them a couple of Augusts ago. $2.25 each. They saved me almost 2 weeks of feed and I didn't have to deal with any shipping losses.

    I do prefer to raise my meaties late summer into fall. It's warm enough that I don't have to worry about heat early on, and by the time it gets cool they are feathered out. The processor is less booked Sept/Oct too. Forget Nov, they're booked with turkeys. I use the one in Milford NH. We have a vegan neighbor that we like, so I don't want to do them here.
     
  8. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

    9,517
    1,525
    436
    Jan 18, 2008
    Massachusetts
    Ahh okay. I wonder if there's a difference between Cackle and Ideal? They've both been around years and years right? So maybe they've developed their own strains of the same or similar birds? Kinda like all the different sex links?

    That's a good idea! That's near Canobie Lake Park, right? Or no? That's not too far. Might be kind of fun to go up that way. Thanks!

    Hmm, maybe that would be a better time to raise them. That makes sense
     
  9. keesmom

    keesmom Overrun With Chickens

    8,654
    1,082
    391
    Jul 28, 2008
    MA
    Canobie is the same exit, so maybe you will have an excuse. You can go to Rockingham on the way too.

    For me it's easier to raise them later rather than first thing in the spring like most people do. It all depends on your schedule.
     
  10. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

    9,517
    1,525
    436
    Jan 18, 2008
    Massachusetts

    Wow really? Okay I'm definitely going to have to make this a weekend trip or something! Haha even if we don't end up with meat birds (I told my mom and she was kind of disgusted. Not really in a mean or actual disgust kind of way, I don't know how to explain it, but more just killing something cute we raised) then we could bring back more layers! :lau what's Rockingham?

    Yeah, I'll have to look into what would be the easiest
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by