Cornish X vs. Freedom Rangers

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by jakobvanschagen, Jul 4, 2010.

  1. jakobvanschagen

    jakobvanschagen In the Brooder

    May 24, 2010
    NW Illinois
    I always enjoy reading people's post comparing these two hybrids in different rearing environments. I figured I would add my two cents in based on what I have observed with my flocks. I don't have any pics of them now but maybe I can get a pic or two in the near future.

    My pens are 8'Lx8'W with a 4' tall peak tapering down to 2' tall on the sides. The roof is all solid topped therefore they are pretty heavy pens. Instead of using these pens as tractors and moving them everyday I use them as range huts and just open the door for outside grazing during the day.

    My test group this spring at my new place was 25 Cornish X straight run, 26 black sex link roos, 25 straight run Rhode Island Reds, and 25 Welsummer straight runs. All did well. The Cornish X seemed to be of the Frankenbird strain and grew well with VERY little feathering. They were the standardized meat machines that just laid in front of the feeders and waterers and would not leave the pen. They were just typical CX that didn't do much free ranging.

    The second batch I got was 100 Cornish X from Schlecht Hatchery in Miles, IA and 100 Freedom Rangers from JM Hatchery. JM shipped the Rangers and all arrived alive. I picked up the CX from Schlecht as they are only 45 minutes from me. I went with Schlecht because of their location, price, and strain. I've seen Schlecht's CX grown out before in confinement and even at 9 weeks they are very active birds that look more like a chicken than the near naked Frankenbirds.

    The Freedom Rangers and the Cornish X groups are both 4 weeks old and are both out in the range huts now on 5 acres of mowed pasture. Both groups are growing very well and are surprisingly very active. Both groups are waiting at the door to run out of the pen and eat grass and chase bugs around. I will try to keep this post updated as to the progress of their foraging desire/abilities as they get older and heavier.

    I think anyone that has been disappointed with trying to free range their own meatbirds will be very happy with either the Freedom Rangers or Schlecht's CXs. Schlecht is definately priced right at 88 cents per chick (straight run). JM is a little higher but definately well worth the money.
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2010
  2. Minniechickmama

    Minniechickmama Senora Pollo Loco

    Sep 4, 2009
    Have you raised the Schlecht strain before? If so, how did they dress out and at what age?

    Personally, I do not like the freakish behavior, growth and so forth of the CRX birds that I have had. I have gotten them from McM. It has nothing to do with where they came from but the whole package of the eating machine behavior that makes them act crazy, and they do nothing at all but eat and poop. I finally figured out why the purebred pens stay so much cleaner, they scratch and peck around all of the time. The meaties...they do nothing but peck at the feed pan, no scratching anywhere, just waiting for the food to come to them. That is not right.

    So, my solution is to try to come up with good crosses for meat birds without resorting to the CRXs. I have some this year so my kids can show at the county fair, and my purebred stock I am going to use to cross are not mature yet. So, here are the ones I am going to try out:
    Dark Cornish Roos over:
    New Hampshire Reds
    Standard Cochins

    Next year I plan to get some White Cornish to add to that list for using over the others. I have no Rocks presently, but I am going to get some down the road to add in to see which ones produce the best table bird for us. I actually ordered Delawares, but got the Giants as a substitution. I was okay with it since I was going to try those next year anyway. However, I think I did get a Delaware in the mix anyone that was thought to be a Light Sussex. Hmm.

    Why have I selected these? Because all of them are dual purpose that I will try to hens out from for one. The other reason is size. The reason for selecting the Dark Cornish. Well, I love the color, so that is the reason for the variety, but moreso because they have the breast size to contribute. I read months ago that it would work better to use the DC roo over the other hens rather than the other roos over the DC hens. That being said, I have an EE(roo)XDC(hen) cockerel that I hatched and he is marked more like the EE, but he definitely has the body of a Cornish, and is similar in size to my 3 DC cockerels who are the same age. I have to look for the muff to tell the difference sometimes. My birds free range and I am certain that I could have dressed any of the 3 cockerels at about 10-weeks and gotten a good bird to cook. They are now 17-weeks and just beautiful. I may try some crosses as early as this fall depending when these girls start laying. Then again, my breeding pens are not complete, so maybe I won't. I will post results and track the process when I start the venture. I think I, like many others more concerned on raising birds more naturally, are interested in some of these alternative crosses. I have looked at the Freedom Rangers and Colored Rangers, but if I have my own birds to do some crossing, then why not try?

    Good luck with your experiment, and I am going to follow this thread to see what your final results are, so keep it going, please.

    Have a great holiday!
  3. mstricer

    mstricer Crowing

    Feb 12, 2009
    I have 25 freedom rangers coming on the 15th from JM hatchery and 11 Cornish X from Meyers that I will pick up on the 12th. I've never done meaties before so I didn't want to overwhelm myself. I've been practicing cull roosters, seems like we have 15 too many.
  4. bnentrup

    bnentrup Songster

    May 5, 2010
    Central Indiana
    I am just about to finish my batch of 50-Schlecht cornish X. Although I am NOT AN EXPERT, I feel that my birds have had a very steady growth rate. I feel that in comparison to others here with different strains, mine have grown at much lower weights in comparison, but have not had any deaths at all (at week 7) due to growth/legs/heart. I had a horrible dog attack last week, and in the first week lost several due to cold/crowding/trampling (my fault completely).

    At 7-weeks, I am guessing that my weigh in will be right at 4.5 lbs live. The hatchery stated theirs are suggested to be harvest at 8-9 weeks. I am guessing we will get to 7lbs in the next 2-weeks, and hope for 4lb dressed out weights.

    MY BIGGEST FAULT/learning curve issue was not feeding them extra grit in the early weeks. I have switched and noticed more weight gain since.

    Overall, these guys are NOT sitting next to the feeders and are NOT INACTIVE. However, mine are not eating any greens though (my fault for not introducing them early enough). I would indeed order from this hatchery again, now that I have a bit better grasp on the learning curve.

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