Freedom Ranger Nerd Out Thread

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by seanengler, Jan 20, 2017.

  1. seanengler

    seanengler Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hey All
    So I am running my first batch of meat birds. Something I've been wanting to do for years and logistically have the time/space to do it. For anyone interested I will be updating this thread throughout the process with information I have been thinking about in the planning stages. I will be tracking feed consumption, bird live weights, equipment costs, feed costs and so on.

    My goal here is to track and show the costs associated with raising your own meat birds and how they would compare to a bird of equal quality and ethical standards at a farmers' market or stores that sell pastured poultry. That being said, this is something I plan on doing regardless of the costs 2x a year from now on based on my own thoughts towards the ethics involved with factory farming.

    The birds arrived this morning from Freedom Ranger Hatchery in PA, I ordered 25 Freedom Rangers and received 27, all alive and well. I did not sex them on arrival being that they have been in a box since Tuesday, I quickly put them on the scale and put them into the brooder. Upon arrival at 3 days old, the average live weight is 1.16 oz.

    Here is a screen shot of a spreadsheet I will be using to track stats along the way. I ran the sheet out to 16 weeks to be safe but do not plan on going that long. I based it off of another spread sheet I saw here on BYC.

    [​IMG]

    I will be inputing only final numbers into that spread sheet, and tracking running expenses in another.

    Running expenses so far include food, everything else I am using is existing equipment I already own. Brooder, heat lamps, waterer, feeder etc.. Upcoming expenses will be building a drum plucker and building a pen.

    So far I have spent $21.59 on feed. The feed store/grain mill near my house has three levels of feed, 20%, 18% and 16%. All around $14 for a 50lb bag. From my reading, I found that the meat birds need a higher protein for their first three weeks, 22-24%. Because of this I bought a bag of 24% starter at Tractor Supply and ended up spending more than usual, hence the $21.59. I will move back to the feed store feed as I step them down in protein to save money.

    That's pretty much all I have for now. I will be deciding soon between truly free ranging them with electric netting and just a cover to get under at night, or a Salatin style pen.

    As far as Freedom Ranger Hatchery goes, I was super pleased with the way it went. I have never bought from an online hatchery, just through our feed store in the past for egg layers. I found them to be the cheapest option for the Freedom Ranger/Red Broiler. I think this is due in part to everyone else who sells the Red Broilers that I saw just drop ships them from Freedom Ranger after marking them up. I called with some questions that were answered on the phone and then ordered online, their customer service was great.

    Anyway, as I think of more, I will add updates. Weekly numbers will be put into the spreadsheet and uploaded accordingly.
    Thanks for tagging along!
     
  2. Maeschak

    Maeschak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 29, 2016
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    Subscribing!

    Thanks for doing this-
     
  3. seanengler

    seanengler Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 23, 2010
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    Just a mid week update.....

    A few notes...the straight run I ordered looks to be about 75% pullets, kind of a bummer, but I kind of expected it from a hatchery that sexes males. Not a huge deal, I'm curious to see how the pullets dress out.

    Additionally, in the first 24 hours they consumed 11 ounces total, the second 24 hours they consumed 13 ounces.

    Water consumption is pretty high, I've got two 1 quart waterers in the brooder and I've been refilling them morning and night, not totally empty but almost, I'm amazed at how much they drink.

    Behavior wise they are super active, doing laps around the brooder like crazy chickens. Looking forward to their 1 week weigh in!



    As far as processing goes, what do you folks do? I've been finding people to process at 4-5 bucks a bird, which seems a little expensive, but is also far less than just a plucker alone not to mention a few other little odds and ends.

    For those of you that outsource your processing, what are the pros and cons from your experiences in having someone else do it?

    For those that do your own processing, same question, pros and cons? After investing in equipment and spending a day processing, would you pay the 4-5 bucks?

    Thanks!
     
  4. seanengler

    seanengler Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 23, 2010
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    Feed question!

    Ok so I've read time and time again to take them off feed for 12 hours prior to processing, I get that. But my question is, and I have searched and searched on these forums, I hate asking repeats, but my question is do they need to come off pasture and into crates while off feed? While they continue to eat enough grass and bugs to create an issue during processing?

    Thanks!
     
  5. pioneerchick816

    pioneerchick816 Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

    Hey Sean. We processed our own birds,for the first time, this past summer. Two batches. First 25 were freedom Rangers from Murray McMurray. Second we're Jumbo Cornish cross rocks. I somehow found (in all my reading/researching) a list of business owners who were willing to rent out their expensive processing equipment. Thankfully one of them was in my area. We rented everything we needed for $75 for the day & took it back the following day. This was very helpful to us. It would be a much harder task without it all (defeatherer being THE MOST HELPFUL [​IMG][​IMG]) I will continue my search for where I found out the info about renting (sorry I know this doesn't help you much), but just knowing, maybe you can be on the look out as well for equipment rental. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2017
  6. kyleag

    kyleag Just Hatched

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    I am just getting ready to finish up my first batch of freedom Rangers as well as my first go at raising meat birds at all. It was really fun, I'll post my my results this weekend once I process and weigh them.
     
  7. seanengler

    seanengler Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 23, 2010
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    Looking forward to hearing your results!

    Since you're just about ready to process, you got started earlier in winter obviously, what kind of climate are you in? How long did you spend in the brooder with the weather in your area? I'm debating what times of years to run batches in conjunction with weather. Our overnight lows in winter get down in the teens regularly, which is fine for a feathered bird, but the just prolongs border time. Our summers are also 90-100 degrees with the occasional 105-110 days, which I feel like would be super hard on a bird in a pen on a fully exposed pasture. Anyway, long story short I've been trying to plan out the best times of year to have max time on pasture, just curious what your climate is like and how the winter batch went.
     
  8. kyleag

    kyleag Just Hatched

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    I live in Southern NV about an hour outside of Las Vegas so we have pretty mild winters. It's been getting down into mid 30's but mostly stayed around 40 for the low and mid 50's to mid 60's for the high. They spent the first 3 weeks in a brooder in the shed and then were moved to a small coop outside and then into there final home at week 5. I would have gone directly into the bigger coop but was still building it out.
     
  9. Maeschak

    Maeschak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 29, 2016
    Maryland, USA
    Did you notice the Freedom Rangers feathering out more quickly than egg birds?
     
  10. kyleag

    kyleag Just Hatched

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    I think so, they were just about fully by 3 1/2 weeks.
     

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