Color ranger q

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by SandraMort, Aug 11, 2008.

  1. SandraMort

    SandraMort Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 7, 2008
    ny
    I was reading https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=12691&p=5and saw some very interesting things.

    - There's a big growth spurt between 8 and 10 weeks, and they could potentially hit 10 lbs (maybe more?)
    - These birds are intended to live at least 81 days (12ish weeks)

    That's PROMISING! I can totally get behind the idea of some jumbo birds, if they're healthy and happy to let grow that long.

    My questions:

    1) How long can you let them stay alive? How long do they keep growing/at what point will the weight max out and just have them eating food with nothing to show for the expense/time? At what point does the flavor/texture start to degenerate? How long can I stall in order to stagger processing over multiple dates?

    2) How will the amount of food in the later weeks compare to the earlier weeks? I saw:
    "b) The ammount of feed to go the last couple pounds puts you on an upward swinging exponential curve." but didn't *really* understand too well.

    3) How do these birds do for "cornish hens"? (I don't know what you'd call a 1-2 lb bird that wasn't a cornish chicken).

    4) I bought 100 "color rangers" from JM hatchery (super friendly customer service, btw!) and will be getting a mixture of colors. Is the difference between colors really THAT pronounced, and if so, which birds am I better processing for "cornish hens", fryers, roasters and jumbo monster chickens?

    5) If I'm doing a flock raiser type feed (I was looking at a homemade recipe for it, actually), the winter recipe included a midday mash that includes meat, but no details on what "meat" means. Can I go to the butcher and get tendons and scraps and to the fish store and get trimmings and heads and grind those and add them in? If not, what do I use? And how cold does it get before this winter addition is started? They're going to be free ranged days and cooped at night.

    Thanks!
     
  2. brandywine

    brandywine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 9, 2008
    Western PA
    I'm hoping you get some answers here, because I want to raise some of the color rangers next spring, and you ask good questions.
     
  3. AnthonyT

    AnthonyT Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 26, 2008
    Franklin, KY
    I can't answer all your questions but I'll tell you what I have found with my color ranges. They are good birds and will do well for you if you get them off to a good start.

    I feed mine a custom feed mix a local mill makes for me, it is 19.8% protein and contains Fertrell Nutri Balancer plus Fast Track Probiotic. These guys grow slower than a standard Cornish X so the lower protein seems to be just fine for them. I offer grit on day one and start feeding a small amout of chopped forage about day 3. By 2.5 - 3 weeks I have them out on pasture, in the future I am going to set up so I can get them out even quicker. I have a batch now that is 4 weeks old and they are going through right at 50 pounds of feed/week. They get let out early in the morning and they all rush out and stuff themselves with forage, then head to the feeders later in the moring. I feed again about 1/2 hour before dark and it helps to get them back in the house to be locked in for the night. The feeders never are totally empty, they always have access to feed if they want it. Don't worry about summer feed and winter feed and midday feed. Feeding chickens is simple but seems everyone tries to make it complicated. One feed mix will take you from chick to slaughter with these guys.

    At 4 weeks my biggest ones are just over a pound. At 5-6 weeks they would dress out nicely as 1-1.5 pound pousson (what the French call a Cornish Game hen, a much better term IMO).

    At first I noticed some differneces in the various strains of color range, but now that it has cooled of they all seem to be doing great. The Juans lagged a little in the heat as did some of the Tri-color. Now the Tricolors are the largest birds I have. I think by the time D-day comes for them they will all be about the same size on average. The redbros and the Tri-colors seem to be the most consistant in size, with the color yield close, the most range in size is in my Juans.

    I have found they are good foragers and will eat an amazingly large amount of forage. They love insects of any kind. Vegtable waste are also eaten quickly (I can start a total riot if I throw a tomato over the fence).

    Range instincts are good. They are always scratching, digging and exploring. And they will run to cover at the first hint of arial attack - hawks, airplanes, large flying insects, song birds - in doesn't matter, if it flies over the chickens scatter.

    I think you will like them. Out of 100+ birds recieved I have lost 6 - 3 were DOA, 2 died in the brooder for no observable reason, they looked perfectly healthy, and on was a runt that just never did well and finally gave out. The 95 or so that are left are doing great and have recieved no antibiotics or coccidiostats ever.

    Hope this helps some.
    Anthony
     
  4. UncleHoot

    UncleHoot Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 22, 2007
    St. Johns, Michigan
    We had someone post here about a month ago that was rather disappointed with her Colored Range Broilers (formerly known as Freedom Rangers), so I want to make sure that your expectations are reasonable.

    The whole idea (aside from the fact that they are prettier), is that these chickens grow more slowly than a cornish cross. I'm raising mine along side of my cornish crosses right now, and at 4 weeks, they are about half the size of the cornish. I'm planning to have mine processed at 12 weeks, and I hope to have them dress at around 5 lbs.

    So... The downside is their slow growth (if you consider it a downside). But, as others have pointed out in other threads, growing longer means richer flavor, at the expense of texture. You could probably grow these out to around 16 weeks, at which point they would probably dress out at around 7 lbs, but this is just an educated guess. I'm not certain how large these chickens can get. How tough would the meat be at 16 weeks? A lot tougher and stringier than a cornish cross at 8 weeks, but probably also much more flavorful.

    Other benefits are obviously that they are more active and "chicken-like" as they run around, and as such, they are more fun to have around. Cornish cross chickens don't really act much like chickens at all (Try getting one to walk up an incline into coop.)
     
  5. willheveland

    willheveland Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 29, 2008
    southern tier,NY
    Quote:This is probably the best( honest )post actually giving people an idea what to expect with the rangers based on real hands on experience.A picture would be good also.
    thank you for input,I'm sure alot of people are still curious about them. Will
     
  6. SandraMort

    SandraMort Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 7, 2008
    ny
    I hear what you're saying, but I'm lost when it comes to understanding how the FCR is the same for them and the cornish X if they eat the same amount but the ranger is half the size.

    For ME, I don't care. I want to grow myself some chickens and they don't need to be monster sized. I only eat so much at a time.

    For Thanksgiving, it's good to know in advance that they'll only be 5 lbs or less. With 25 guests, it might just be in my best interest to process a WHOLE lot sooner and do the pouisson sized birds and impress everybody. But maybe that's throwing the baby ouot with the bathwater?
     
  7. UncleHoot

    UncleHoot Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 22, 2007
    St. Johns, Michigan
    Quote:If you have 10 Cornish Crosses that are 5 weeks old, they might consume about 4 lbs of feed per day.
    If you have 10 Rangers that are 5 weeks old, they might only consume about 2 lbs of feed per day.

    If you have your 10 Cornish processed at 8 weeks, they may have eaten about 200 lbs of feed, and on average they may weigh 7.5 lbs liveweight.
    If you have your 10 Rangers processed at 13 weeks, they may have eaten about 200 lbs of feed, and on average they may weigh 7.5 lbs liveweight.

    Over time, they both eat the same amount, but on a daily basis, the Cornish X's will eat substantially more feed.
     
  8. willheveland

    willheveland Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 29, 2008
    southern tier,NY
    I don't think Uncle Hoot is saying that eat the same amount.He is just saying at 4 weeks they are half the size.(slower growing)He said in another post that they don't rush to the feeder in the a.m.,they wait for the cornish rush to be over before they eat.

    If they are better foragers that would have alot to do with it.A bird will grow slower picking over greens and foraging than eating out of a feeder.A chicken eating out of a feeder will consume more feed faster.It doesn't mean you'll be buying alot less feed with rangers because you'll still have to feed then maybe 4 weeks longer.
    I hope I'm making sense.Does this sound right Uncle Hoot? Will
     
  9. willheveland

    willheveland Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 29, 2008
    southern tier,NY
    I must type slower than Uncle Hoot by 10 min.
     
  10. blue90292

    blue90292 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 30, 2007
    Rosharon, TX
    the FCR is based on when the bird is suppose to be processed. cornish at 48 days? or something like that, and the rangers at 81. go past those dates and your FCR means goes way off.
     

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