Freedom Ranger backyard broilers - feed amount, feed conversion and growth

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by meganblythe, Dec 15, 2012.

  1. meganblythe

    meganblythe In the Brooder

    Nov 21, 2012
    I just finished raising a batch of freedom ranger broilers in my backyard and wanted to post my final numbers, because info like this really helped me when I was raising them (this was my first batch of chickens).

    We received 26 two day old freedom ranger chicks from Freedom Ranger Hatchery in early September. They were all healthy and stayed in a brooder in our garage for the first 2.5 weeks, then we moved them to a portable pen in the backyard. We had 15 males and 11 females. We did not give them food free choice because I was worried they would gain too much weight and have leg problems. I weighed out their feed every day and kept track of what they were given (I'm a scientist, my husband laughs at me, but I can't help it!) I projected what I thought they should eat based on some reading I had done, but they were putting on weight slower than some others that we'd seen on a BYC forum so I increased their feed consumption around day 50 and they started gaining weight a lot faster.

    We harvested all 15 males on day 73 (10.5 weeks) and then harvested the 6 of the females the next weekend (80 days). (We kept the 5 largest females for laying hens.) The males were definitely larger than the females, averaging 6 lbs each (ranged from 4.75-6.75 lbs) - note that these weights were taken AFTER the chickens bled out, it was just easier that way. Post-processing average weight was 4 lbs with a range of 3.1-4.5 lbs (not including neck and giblets, though I did keep and use those for stock). That gives a 66.2% yield. The females averaged 5.5 lb whole (4.75-6 lbs), and 3.6 lbs processed (3.3-4.3 lbs), again a 66.2% yield.

    To raise all 26 birds to the final harvest, we used 350 lbs of feed. That comes out to 13.5 lbs of feed per bird, with an average of 11 weeks to harvest. Based on what I ended up feeding them during the final 4-5 weeks I back calculated what I should've been feeding them earlier (interestingly, it matched up with how much they were eating free choice in the brooder...) Here is what I plan to do next time, for another batch of 25-26 chickens:

    Week Pounds/day
    free choice
    free choice
    free choice

  2. Life is Good!

    Life is Good! Songster

    Apr 14, 2011
    suburbia Chicagoland
    Fabulous stats! It's interesting that both males and females yielded the same percentage, despite the weight differences. I know it 'logically' makes sense, but until you do the math, it's kind of irrational.

    I tracked our FR consumption by cups consumed - and came up to about the same sort of figures. I know ours could have eaten a LOT more feed, I too restricted feed, which caused them to free range very effectively. However, I am anxious for spring to raise some FR on fermented feed. We raised CX on fermented feed this fall with terrific results overall.

    Stats like this help all of us in the long run. Thanks for being such a scientist, even in your hobby!
  3. Matrix Escapee

    Matrix Escapee In the Brooder

    Mar 21, 2011
    What was your fermented results compared to your normal dry feeding results on the CX?
  4. Life is Good!

    Life is Good! Songster

    Apr 14, 2011
    suburbia Chicagoland
    I kept extremely meticulous records on the FR we raised in the spring - but only utilized dry feed, table scraps and ranging for extras. Due to life circumstances beyond any of our control, I was unable to maintain any records for the CX this fall. In addition to our CX, I was also feeding an extra 11 layer cockerals to size as well. So the records for the CX are miserable in comparison to the FR. Further, because the fermented feed went to both flocks (layers and meaties), I did not record who ate how much of what when. Again, life interrupted.

    I do know the CX ate less overall of feed - simply based on amount of feed purchased overall. I can only attribute that fact to the fermented feed, as they grew to 11wks old, about the same point as the first butchering of the FR's.

    When we grew the FR from April-June, we had the 25 FR's, 5 Black Java layer hens, 1 Black Java roo, 13 Black Java chicks hatched from the 3 broody layers. A total of 44 beaks, 13 of them quite tiny, or 31 'fullsize' chickens to feed.

    When we grew the CX from August-October, we had 25 CX, 5 Black Java layer hens, 1 Black Java roo, 13 Black Java former chicks now 14wks old mini-chickens from the 3 broody hens and 5 10wk old mini-chickens to add to flock. A total of 49 very hungry fullsize chickens to feed.

    There are too many variables in the above two scenario's to determine accurately feed consumed by layers vs meaties; dry feed vs fermented feed; heavy daily treats vs treats are rarity. 2013 proves to be a new season - hopefully better documented!

  5. ARTofGROWINchix

    ARTofGROWINchix In the Brooder

    Dec 16, 2012
    Long Island, NY
    Excuse my stupidity.... But what is a cockeral?
    Are all males roosters and will they all crow?
    Is there any way I can get only females?
    Will Freedom Rangers females always lay eggs if there is a rooster (I'm assuming this is any male chicken) is present?
    Do FR hens lay yummy edible eggs?

    Thanks in advance for your responses!
  6. meganblythe

    meganblythe In the Brooder

    Nov 21, 2012
    A "cockerel" is a young male chicken. A "rooster" is an adult male chicken (usually over a year). I'm not sure if ALL roosters crow, but I'm sure most do (crowing varies from rooster to rooster).

    You can order only females (that's called a "straight run" - when you just get one sex) from some breeders. Keep in mind that sometime they just kill the males if people only order straight runs of females...

    I'm not sure yet how well Freedom Rangers lay - mine are still too young to lay eggs - I'll do a post on that when I find out! But I've heard/read that they will lay. But they don't need a rooster (male) to trigger laying. Domesticated chickens lay eggs whether or not there is a male around, they just aren't fertilized eggs (which is normal for what you buy in a grocery store).
  7. wyoDreamer

    wyoDreamer Crowing

    Nov 10, 2010
    Umm ... no ... straight run means you get whatever hatches out - basically straight from the nest - so it will be a mix of female and male chicks. Some occationally get 50/50 of each or even 100% one or the other, but straight run means that you get what they grab when they fill your box.

  8. jdywntr

    jdywntr Songster

    Oct 31, 2009
    Somerville, AL
    Yup and if the hatchery sexes day olds, you get your "straight run" after the sexed orders are filled. I would never buy straight run from a hatchery that sexes unless I didn't care if I got all males.
  9. meganblythe

    meganblythe In the Brooder

    Nov 21, 2012
    Oops, I clearly confused the terms in my memory. Thanks for clarifying.

  10. SunnySkies

    SunnySkies Songster

    May 13, 2012
    Very useful! Thanks!

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