CX or Pioneer or red Rangers, which is best?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Triplecross, Jan 8, 2014.

  1. Triplecross

    Triplecross Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 6, 2013
    Southern Michigan
    I received my McMurray catalog and saw a new meat / dual purpose bird they offer called Pioneers.

    Which has the best feed conversion?

    The catalog says:
    CX 3-4 lbs in 6-8 weeks
    Rangers 6.7 lbs in 12 weeks
    Pioneers 5 lbs in 12 weeks

    It looks like Pioneer has the worst conversion but McMurray says they grow faster and heavier than Rangers.

    Which meat breed does everyone like best?
  2. Mahlzeit

    Mahlzeit Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 16, 2007
    Long Island NY
    I'm curious of the answer to this myself. Looking to order my first meat birds this spring.
  3. Bossroo

    Bossroo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 15, 2008
    Well, for one thing ... look at any grocery store chicken and one will find that the "Game Hen " comes in at about 2 lbs. at 42 days of age. While the whole fryer weighs in between 4 +/- lbs. - 5 1/2 +/- lbs. ( hen vs. rooster ) at 8 weeks of age. No question about it , live weights are much more than the dressed weights. Now these birds are the Cornish X. and is the gold standard of the commercial chicken industry as they are the MOST EFFICIENT converter of feed to meat in the shortest time thereby producing the most profit for the hatcheries, growers, and grocers, and at the same time being the least expensive meat for the consumer. [​IMG] I get the same dressed weight results for my Cornish X s. While the other types take at least 4 more weeks of labor plus more feed. [​IMG]
  4. Triplecross

    Triplecross Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 6, 2013
    Southern Michigan
    Sounds like CX's are the ones then. thanks Bossroo for chiming in.
  5. call ducks

    call ducks silver appleyard addict

    Mar 4, 2009
    waterville , canada
    So it entirely depends on what you want from them.

    A commerical broiler bird - Will give you the lowest FCR of them all (average of ~2:1) - they are the best bird for small/confined areas
    A "Pioneer", or "red ranger" - are a slower growing broiler bird that will have a FCR of 3:1 or 4:1 (depending on the strain, how much they are fed etc).They do wayyy better on a free range environment and these slower growing birds are preferred by the really good chefs from around the world for their sublime flavor and texture. Now FCR depends on the strain of them....

    Also their is a fine line between too much and not enough with both types of birds
  6. Bossroo

    Bossroo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 15, 2008
    Well, Triplecross ... since the Cornish X is so efficient in feed conversion to meat, they will need just a little bit more animal husbandry skills and effort than the average barnyard chickens. In school, some teachers will give their students all the facts and figures, however those students will not progress much beyond the next test. The really good teacher will give the student a guide as to where to obtain the needed knowledge. As the old Scottish proverb says... " The eye of the master fattens the cattle!" There are tons of threads here on this forum as well as a National Hatchery that will provide one with the necessary know how to succeed in one's efforts. Some people lament on the negative of this bird . These people may have an axe to grind and / or do not follow proper protocol as to the needs of a fast growing chicken that is selectively bred ( NOT GMO ) to be genetically pre programmed to constantly eat. Since just about every location differs in soil conditions, weather, temperature, predator pressure, etc. ( location, location, location ) one has to adjust one's management. The Cornish X will free range just fine as evidenced by many posters here and they also provide photographic proof of that skill. They will only grow a tad slower because eating lower quality feed and / or availability of protein in bugs. ( in my high desert environment [ 7" of rain / year and the grass is brown / dormant for 8 months {late spring, summer, and fall } of the year ] high predator populations and very FEW bugs] , I need to raise my birds in a more confined environment or they would never achieve any resemblance of a frying chicken). Flavor - depends on the chef's culinary skills. Texture - the younger the animal is as well as necessary quality feed it receives, the more tender it is. An older animal that needs to constantly forage will yield a more tougher bite to chew. Again , it depends on one's management skills. " Grasshopper " do your own research and you will be well on your way to success at your location ! [​IMG]
  7. Life is Good!

    Life is Good! Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2011
    suburbia Chicagoland
    Whatcha using the meat for?

    Grilling, frying, in a skillet or other 'hot and high' methods are more suitable for CX - very tender meat, can be bland tasting to some who 'know' chicken.

    Roasting, chx n dumpling, pot pies 'hot and slow' methods are more suitable for Rangers - more flavor, more structure to the meat.

    Soup, slow cookers are more suitable for heritage birds or those awful cockerals in the yard. If you've not had soup made from a 'stewing hen' - well, you've not had soup, you've had a Campbells product. Delicious!

    So, your question isn't an easy answer...not at all.

    As for husbandry skills needed:

    Do you mind the smell of chicken turds in the rain? If so, AVOID CX! They are poop machines, even with ACV in their water and fermented feed (it more tolerable, but they're still seriously messier birds).

    Do you want chickens who act like chickens? Well, again, CX can be crossed off the list. I've had batches of CX that acted like chickens, and I've had batches that had no clue they could forage, let alone walk anywhere. Rangers act like chickens - they just grow really really quickly.

    Can your neighbors appreciate 25+ crowing birds? If not - get CX. They're less noisy - except at mealtime - than any other breed I've seen. In fact, I've only heard 1 CX cockerel (out of all the ones we've grown) crow. And that was as he was going into the cone.....Rangers - noisy boys. Heritage birds - noisy boys. If your neighbors don't like noise, you're in trouble! If you're out in the sticks and it don't matter - don't worry.

    Do you have space to store 1000 lbs of chicken feed? Or will you be buying a bag at a time? Distance to the store must be taken into consideration as well. If CX, you'll be buying 2 bags of feed and 2 bags of bedding at minimum. At 8wks, they're amazing feeders! Be prepared!

    Good luck! We've grown all three - we eat all three. I just prepare them differently based on what kind of meat is there.

    For a visual comparison (photos speak volumes) - I did this post last spring...

    Hope it helps!
  8. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 19, 2011
    Massachusetts, USA
    Since you asked about feed conversion cornish x is your bird. I have raised up a few and they are the fastest coversion of feed to meat I have seen. Pelleted feed is expensive, so you are right to use the cornishX.

    If yu have never raised these, do some reading up on them. THey need a bit more care management wise to have few deaths. I found slowing down the growth using fermented feed ( mixing abut 1/4 cup of unpasturized braggs vinegar in a 5 gal pail, fill 1/2 full warm water, then add 4 qts of commercial feed), stir and let ferment for a few days. Strain some feed out, and stir in more water and dry feed. I run two pails.) THere is a thread devoted to fermented feed.

    I found the birds loved the mash and overall ate less and rarely died. You can also remove feed over night-- they truely are glutons. I have a few at 9 months old that are still glutons.

    Good luck--

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