Breeding Freedom Ranger Color Yield at Home???

RichardBenfield

In the Brooder
Oct 19, 2021
4
20
28
So I have raised some heritage breed chickens for meat. I learned a lot from that, but mostly I learned that until I am much better at it, I don't want to do that again... the meat was WAY too tough. There was not nearly enough breast meat and it cost way to much to feed them for how much meat I got. They were also harder to process and much more stressful to raise.

I have also raised some Corish Roasters (not Cornish Cross, but very similar) and Murray's Big Red Broiler. I was MUCH happier with these. I like the Big Red Broilers a bit more than I did the Corish Roasters.

I have also heard and read good things about Freedom Rangers and Color Yield. I have not raised them, but I have eaten them and I think those would be great too.

The problem is a few things. The biggest being that we have experienced some logistics issues that resulted in losing quite a few chicks before they were ever delivered and we have some friends and others around here that had the same problem. While the hatchery made up for the cost of the chicks. That does not solve the problem. One of which is, we did not get the chicks. But worse is the number of chicks that died of starvation waiting to be delivered.

So I really want to find a way to hatch out chicks for myself and possibly for others in the area that do not want to rely on mail-order chicks. But we do not want inconsistent nor heritage breed performance. I understand the basics of breeding hybrids and I suspect it is very unlikely I would be able to get the correct generation of the parental hybrids needed to breed, lay, hatch the actual Cornish Roaster or Murray's Big Red Broilers.

However, when I read about the Color Yield, I feel like I am missing something... most every place I read about the Color Yield, it says:

"The Color Yield Freedom Ranger is the standard RedBro female crossed with a faster growing Color Yield male."

This makes it sound like I could order some Standard Red Broilers and some Color Yield Freedom Rangers (likely I can only get the color yield as straight run, so I'll assume both are straight run). Then once they get closer to maturity, hold back the best Red Broiler Hens and the best Color Yield Roosters. Process the others and let these grow to full maturity. Breed them, hatch and raise the chicks and end up with my own bread/hatched/raised Freedom Ranger Color Yield birds?

Is it really that simple? Am I misunderstanding something? Has anyone tried this? I am planning to order some for Spring and try it out, but I would REALLY love to get some feedback on if anyone has already done it with what results and even just what those more experienced than myself think??

Thanks,
Richard
 

NatJ

Free Ranging
Mar 20, 2017
8,214
17,295
706
USA
most every place I read about the Color Yield, it says:

"The Color Yield Freedom Ranger is the standard RedBro female crossed with a faster growing Color Yield male."

...Is it really that simple? Am I misunderstanding something?

I think they are using one kind of female to produce Red Broilers, and another flock of that same kind of female to produce these Color Yield Freedom Rangers. The "Color Yield male" would mean the kind of male that produces Color Yield chicks, not a Color Yield Freedom Ranger himself.

(No personal experience, but that's how I would read the description you found. It seems to be pretty common for existing parent strains to get combined in new ways, and the chicks sold with a new name.)

I am planning to order some for Spring and try it out
I expect you will get some meaty birds, but I expect that some will grow faster & bigger than others, and things like color will be variable too.

They will not be consistent enough for raising commercially (where it's best if the chickens have almost identical growth rates), but that might not be a problem for you.
 

RichardBenfield

In the Brooder
Oct 19, 2021
4
20
28
I think they are using one kind of female to produce Red Broilers, and another flock of that same kind of female to produce these Color Yield Freedom Rangers. The "Color Yield male" would mean the kind of male that produces Color Yield chicks, not a Color Yield Freedom Ranger himself.

(No personal experience, but that's how I would read the description you found. It seems to be pretty common for existing parent strains to get combined in new ways, and the chicks sold with a new name.)


I expect you will get some meaty birds, but I expect that some will grow faster & bigger than others, and things like color will be variable too.

They will not be consistent enough for raising commercially (where it's best if the chickens have almost identical growth rates), but that might not be a problem for you.

Thank you for the reply. That's good info. The inconsistent growth rates may not be a problem for me. But depending on how much the variance is, it might. It's certainly not ideal. I'll probably give it a shot anyway. If I do, I'll be sure to share the results.
 

NatJ

Free Ranging
Mar 20, 2017
8,214
17,295
706
USA
The inconsistent growth rates may not be a problem for me. But depending on how much the variance is, it might. It's certainly not ideal. I'll probably give it a shot anyway.
If you find some birds that grow much more slowly than the rest, you could either move them to a different pen (no competition with the bigger ones), or continue to raise them after you butcher the others (more time to gain size, but might get more tough too), or butcher them when they are quite small (like quail or Cornish Game Hen size, because if they will not gain weight quickly, you might not want them taking up pen space and eating food.)

If I do, I'll be sure to share the results.
I'll look forward to seeing that!
 

U_Stormcrow

Free Ranging
Jun 7, 2020
4,674
13,644
536
North FL Panhandle Region / Wiregrass
I can add nothing to the discussion of genetics, what little I've learned is mostly from NatJ and another poster's vast knowledge - but my culling project has taught me (particularly if you are cost conscious) - that you are generally better off culling out the slow growers, quickly (and yes, small). What they consume in feed quite rapidly exceeds any gains in weight (together with attendant gains in flavor, and toughness).

If your standard is some fast growth Cornish or young, meaty Ranger, waiting will produce expensive disappointments. Instead, save time, disrobe the birds. Clip the wingtips, remove the backbones, put those in the "soup/stock" bag. Prepare your young disappointments 1 or 2 at a time (I'm finding you can do them in the crockpot on high with almost no liquid without the breast drying out much), then add the bones from that meal to the reserved backs and wing tips for making your stock/stew.

They are too small to be worth processing in bulk for sausage.

(my experience only)
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
28,076
22,799
907
Southeast Louisiana
I found this on Redbro.

Since it is obtained as a result of hybrid crossbreeding, it is difficult to obtain chickens at home. It is best to buy a hatching egg or small chicks.

And this on the Color Yield.

The Color Yield Freedom Ranger is the standard RedBro female crossed with a faster growing Color Yield male

I don't know the genetics of the hybrids but it sounds like you can get some variation in size of the offspring. That's not unusual with breeding hybrids. How much variation you will get and how the smaller compare to the "heritage" you tried is unknown. You may find that the best of the offspring are really good and the worst are still significantly better than the heritage. Or maybe not. And, as mentioned, speed of growth is an important characteristic in feed costs.

the meat was WAY too tough.
We all have our preferences and tolerances, but three things tend to be very important in this. One is the age that you butcher them. In general the older they are when you butcher them the more texture and flavor they have, especially if cockerels have hit puberty. Those hormones can make a big difference.

How you manage them when you butcher. You need to age them until rigor mortis passes.

How you cook them. There are lots of different recipes for cooking older birds and still get them to come out tender. You can't cook a 20 week old bird the same way you can an 8 week old bird and expect the same results.

There was not nearly enough breast meat and it cost way to much to feed them for how much meat I got. They were also harder to process and much more stressful to raise.
Some of this is personal preference but you are certainly right on the size. Some people might prefer thigh meat or may find the "meat" birds more stressful, especially if they start dying on you. But that's not you.

My suggestion is to try it and see how they meet your specific goals and situation. It doesn't matter how I raise them or what my goals are, yours are the ones that should matter to you.

If your goal is to develop your own breeding stock, it might take a few years to get where they are consistently what you want. But by selectively breeding your best you can get there. The way I look at it I'm not interested in breeding one really large bird (thought hat may become my breeding rooster) but get to the point that the worst are still fairly decent. You will get more worsts than you will bests.
 

HomesteadNowhere

Songster
Dec 2, 2020
178
274
128
Ohio USA
If that's true then if you bought stock of redbro and color yields and cross them. But you'd still have to buy replacements for those breeders.

I'm experimenting with freedom rangers. Cockerels in the freezer and pullets to start cross breeding them. I ended up with a new Hampshire cockerel and a Bielefelder cockerel that did best of the group. I'm going to breed the FR hens to the NH starting in the spring.
Since FR are like all broiler lines, made up of many parent and grandparent lines etc. So the offspring I get will be all over the place. At worst they'll be like non-broiler chickens, though I hope they'll at least be a bit more meaty. At best they'll be not quite as good as buying the actual FR.
My hope is to select the best and create a strain. But honestly it will take many years to get anything that is homogeneous.

I'm hoping to get some new Hampshire from freedomrangerhatchery Henry noll line, which are noted to be bred for meat. Keep the best to breed from and maintain a small breeding flock of. That would probably give you the easiest path and fastest turn around to offspring that you know will be meaty AND be able to keep breeding yourself. Then it's just up to you to select and breed.
 

nicalandia

Free Ranging
12 Years
Jul 16, 2009
8,803
4,319
506
Stuck In a Dream
My Coop
My Coop
This makes it sound like I could order some Standard Red Broilers and some Color Yield Freedom Rangers (likely I can only get the color yield as straight run, so I'll assume both are straight run). Then once they get closer to maturity, hold back the best Red Broiler Hens and the best Color Yield Roosters. Process the others and let these grow to full maturity. Breed them, hatch and raise the chicks and end up with my own bread/hatched/raised Freedom Ranger Color Yield birds?

Is it really that simple? Am I misunderstanding something? Has anyone tried this? I am planning to order some for Spring and try it out, but I would REALLY love to get some feedback on if anyone has already done it with what results and even just what those more experienced than myself think??

Thanks,
Richard

I have done an extensive research on this, I was even able to find a broiler calculator(that was taken down afterwards for some weird reasons). but basically a Red Bro Male x Red Bro Female = Red Bro chicks(so using the females would be acceptable), the Color Yield males you get are (Color Yield Male x Red Bro Females) so they are somewhat smaller than the Sire

Here is the Original thread with pics I made: https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/broiler-cross-genetic-calculator.1393432/

Red Bro x Red Bro:
1635016380093.png




Here is a chart for CornisX male over Red Bro Female:

1635016480095.png
 

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