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Free Range meat chickens

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by mixedrun, Jan 26, 2007.

  1. mixedrun

    mixedrun New Egg

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    Jan 26, 2007
    NW Illinois
    I'm looking for a good free range (and I mean literally free range, not just more than a 1'x1' space) breed which makes a good meat chicken. I hate those fatty, half dead Cornish Rocks. I am leaning toward White Wyandotts. Any other suggestions?
     
  2. bigzio

    bigzio Overrun With Chickens

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    Jan 20, 2007
    Wisconsin
  3. tricia

    tricia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 25, 2007
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    I noticed they have a minimum order of 50. If anyone in MN/WI would like to split an order I would love to order from them. I just really wanted to start with 20-25 broilers.
     
  4. ChrisnTiff

    ChrisnTiff Out Of The Brooder

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    We free range our cornish x with great success. We find the freedom rangers to be mostly hype and they do not grow much faster than say a barred rock cockerel, white rocks, or even a new hampshire red. The cornish x can be good free rangers if given a chance. We let our 50 or so cornish go where they please and they would venture a good distance away from their shelter and eat plenty of grass, bugs and any of the other goodies you would expect. They also will take about a week or so longer to grow out due to all the extra exercise they are getting. We don't have any problems with flip, though we did have one unexplained death at about the 1 1/2 week point in our last batch. We find the free range cornish to be a bit better in flavor as well as texture. Happy chickens=tasty chickens. So I'm just saying maybe don't count out those cornish x yet. Any other chicken is going to take almost 4 to 6 months before they are ready for processing and at that point we find them a bit tough. Good flavor for soup but hard to chew coming off the bbq. Either way you go good luck.

    Chris
     
  5. tricia

    tricia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 25, 2007
    West Central Wisconsin
    That's good to know, thanks for the info. I was planning on getting cornish x's and giving them organic feed and allowing them to free-range. I think I'll stick to that plan for now and maybe sometime down the road try the freedom rangers just for comparison.

    Thankis again!
     
  6. mixedrun

    mixedrun New Egg

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    Jan 26, 2007
    NW Illinois
    Thanks, Chris. Interesting; I never thought a cornish X could make in 'on the range'. I'll give it a try.
     
  7. deeszoo

    deeszoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would be leery of free-ranging them in hot weather, though. I just don't think they do well then. I have been doing a lot of reading on free-ranging meat birds. It can be done in the heat of summer-but it is a lot of work. Those poor guys just can't take the heat.
     
  8. urbanagrarian

    urbanagrarian Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 4, 2007
    Massachusetts
  9. Kitsune

    Kitsune Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I raise light sussex when I want meat birds and layers, the roos get big and they are tasty (obviously a slow cook needed, as with all the slow growers) this year I'm going to try caponising them and see how that goes.
     
  10. SueNH

    SueNH Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I let my Cornishx free range during the day. They did wander around a lot but nothing like the regular birds. They did all the normal bird things just a whole lot less gracefully. Only thing they couldn't do was perch or fly. I did let mine live the entire spring and summer. The birds dressed out at over 10lbs each. Figured since their lives were destined to be so short they may as well have all the good, warm weather.

    The only thing I'll do differently this spring is make their night fortress a little easier to move. More for cleaning than anything else. Some serious chicken poo going on there.

    I did process some young Australorp and Australorp x barred rock roos and wyandotte at the same time. Carcass was a fraction of the weight and much tougher. Still very tastey. Just not nearly the efficient use of feed. I won't raise the dual purpose birds for meat intentionally, only process them because you can't give away extra roosters here. Everybody else has extra roos to give away too.

    The birds didn't seem bothered by summer heat but that's relative I suppose. Summer heat in NH is a whole lot different than summer heat in Texas. The birds did have lots of shade to get into and even a swale with running water all year round.
     

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