Freedom Ranger Chicks

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by WolfBayou, Nov 23, 2016.

  1. WolfBayou

    WolfBayou New Egg

    2
    0
    7
    Nov 23, 2016
    We got our first Freedom Rangers about three weeks ago. We ordered 25, received 26, 4 died early as they never seemed to start eating. The rest are eating and drinking like crazy and are growing pretty rapidly. They are now just about fully feathered out and are out of the brooder and in a roughly 8x8 "shed" at one end of our kennel building. We are planning to put them in a large tractor very soon. (We live in Mississippi and the weather is pretty mild.)

    At what age would people recommend butchering them? I see people talking about Red Rangers and butchering as early as 9 weeks, but is that an optimum time? Would 12 weeks be better? Can anyone tell me what the weights for both roosters and hens are at either or both of these ages, please?

    I've read the threads on the various rangers, below, and am really pleased by our choice of birds. Neither of us wanted to do CornishX again. Thanks for whatever input you can give me on these birds.
     
  2. N F C

    N F C got coffee? Premium Member Project Manager

    37,306
    18,548
    726
    Dec 12, 2013
    Wyoming
    [​IMG]

    I haven't tried raising meat birds (yet) but just yesterday I read an interesting article about them, including the Freedom Rangers. The article is listed below in the brown section of your screen labeled New Articles. What I read is called "Raising broilers in your backyard", it was written by @CuzChickens

    Check it out if you haven't already done so!
     
  3. WolfBayou

    WolfBayou New Egg

    2
    0
    7
    Nov 23, 2016
    Thanks for the welcome! I appreciate the mention of the article. It was very helpful. :D I'm really looking forward to watching these chicks grow (and tasting them for the first time)! We are really trying to become as self-sufficient as possible and will be interested in seeing if these are substantially different from the commercial chickens we currently eat.
     
  4. N F C

    N F C got coffee? Premium Member Project Manager

    37,306
    18,548
    726
    Dec 12, 2013
    Wyoming
    Glad the article helped. Good luck to you with the Rangers, you'll have to post an update on how they're doing (and how they taste, lol)!
     
  5. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,480
    121
    201
    Jul 1, 2011
    Colorado mountains
    I've raised...let me see...6 batches of Freedom Rangers usually around 35-45 per batch. They are my very favorite type of meat bird to raise. I have found them to be very healthy and active, although I always seem to loose two or three during the first few weeks.

    I've kept pretty good track of ages and weights, so let me pull up my files...

    In my 2014 batch, I started butchering at 11 weeks. The roosters were between 5lb 4oz and 5lb 12oz, pullets 3lb 13oz - 4lb 11oz. at 12 weeks several of the roosters butchered were over 6lbs and the pullets were as big as 4lb 14oz.

    In 2015 I had less help butchering and had to do them in smaller batches so I did my first bunch of Freedom Ranger Roosters at 10 weeks and they ranged from 4ls 8oz to 5lbs. 8oz.

    I'm thinking 9 weeks is a little early, although I've been known to take one or two early over the years if they don't seem to be thriving. Sometimes there will be one that seems to have leg issues, usually a rooster and I'll butcher it early because I'm worried that it can't take care of itself but otherwise, 10 or 11 weeks would be my recommendation. I usually pick the biggest roosters on the first butchering weekend and then do the rest the following week.

    My first year I decided to keep a rooster and two pullets to see whether I could hatch out some 1st generation babies the next spring. The rooster became a monster bird, huge and too agressive with my hens so I dispatched him when he was maybe 6 months old and he weighed close to 9lbs butchered weight.
     
  6. ggtexas34111

    ggtexas34111 Out Of The Brooder

    16
    1
    24
    Feb 12, 2016
    So would you be better off waiting until you get a 9lb bird at 6 months? Or are you looking to feed them a smaller time frame to get a better return when comparing the feed bill to the end product?
    I have also wanted to start doing this. I would also think doing it in the colder weather (north texas so not too cold) is the best time?
    Not trying to jack your thread these are the exact birds I want to start with because we have a lot of room for them to ranges once they get old enough.
     
  7. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,480
    121
    201
    Jul 1, 2011
    Colorado mountains
    I stopped keeping track of how much my Freedom Rangers were eating once I put the one rooster and the two pullets in with my laying flock (and then butchering the rest) so I couldn't tell you for sure, but they are big eaters and I suspect that you get your best return for the money around 10 - 12 weeks of age. If you consider that they grow from tiny fluff balls to 5 lb birds in 11 weeks and then take another 12 weeks to put on another 4 lbs, when they're eating MUCH more every day than they did when they were little, I'm guessing your cost per pound goes way up.

    I'm also usually ready to be done with all theextra feeding, watering etc. that the meat birds require by 12 weeks and don't feel any desire to prolong their lives.

    However, one of the things I really like about Freedom Rangers is that if for some reason you have to delay butchering, or you just want to see how big they will get for an experiement, they will continue to be healthy and grow, rather than start keeling over with heart problems or get to heavy for their legs the way CX can.
     
  8. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    31,451
    3,543
    538
    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    As Hummingbird stated, the math probably does not bear that out. You'll likely get the most bang for your buck at 12 weeks.

    Something else to consider is your target eater. If they're birds for yourself, are you going to utilize a 9lb bird? Some folks will, they'll halve the bird or cut into pieces and break it down to meal size portions. Some won't, they'll want a roaster and then not use the leftovers and they'll get wasted. Just a time to know yourself and your eating style.

    If you're raising them to sell, 9lbs is way too large. Go for 4-5lb birds, from what I see folks here saying. That's what consumers want.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by