Freedom Rangers in Illinois

Life is Good!

Songster
8 Years
Apr 14, 2011
1,179
222
226
suburbia Chicagoland
Have you thought about keeping a couple hens and a rooster long enough to provide you with a couple dozen fertle eggs so you can have another group without the cost of buying and shipping the chicks?
Not a chance! Truthfully, they eat so much that it'd be cheaper to just get new chicks! I had thought of keeping a hen or two, but they eat and eat and eat! Further, they are so much bigger than my Black Java's that I'm not sure I could integrate the flocks - my Java hens grown weight is just 5#'s - if these hens are still not fully grown, wow, they're going to be BIG! And while I'm rather taken by the barred roo in this picture, I'm not keeping more than 1 rooster - and my Java is a GREAT rooster. Not willing to take a chance on an unknown roo when I've got a great one in the yard already.
 

wsmoak

Songster
9 Years
Apr 21, 2010
355
8
121
a little north of Columbus, GA
Not a chance! Truthfully, they eat so much that it'd be cheaper to just get new chicks! I had thought of keeping a hen or two, but they eat and eat and eat! Further, they are so much bigger than my Black Java's that I'm not sure I could integrate the flocks - my Java hens grown weight is just 5#'s - if these hens are still not fully grown, wow, they're going to be BIG! And while I'm rather taken by the barred roo in this picture, I'm not keeping more than 1 rooster - and my Java is a GREAT rooster. Not willing to take a chance on an unknown roo when I've got a great one in the yard already.
I had exactly the same reaction. Feeding a trio of those for another few months until they start laying would probably pay for another batch of chicks!

And I think they'd have to be confined. My laying flock ranges around a few acres and manages not to get eaten by predators, but the FR's are both slower to react to things and slower when moving around. They'd be easy pickings if a coyote or loose dog wandered by.

-Wendy
 

Life is Good!

Songster
8 Years
Apr 14, 2011
1,179
222
226
suburbia Chicagoland
First batch in Camp Kenmore! Only did the largest 2, as the others were not yet big enough.

#1 roo - 7#'s live weight, 4#'s processed
#2 roo - 6#4oz live weight, 3#8oz processed

We're still feeding the other 23 - they're not big enough yet, these were our biggest 2. Need more feed from store though! Guess I know what I'll be doing tomorrow afternoon......
 

Life is Good!

Songster
8 Years
Apr 14, 2011
1,179
222
226
suburbia Chicagoland
10wk update, 70 days old:

Most of the cockerals are between 6#4oz and 7#'s - in other words, ready to go to Camp. While some of the lighter weight ones seem 'ready' - you can really tell which of the boys are seriously ready by their broader shoulders. It's like someone slipped football pads under their feathers when they hit that "I'm done!" stage. Even the hens who are larger have that same stature. The lighter weight hens are narrower through the shoulders and roughly 5#'s.

Processing has been delayed due to a bum A/C unit. Need to replace it, so we're doing prep work for that installation early next week. In the meantime, most of the boys seem to have become linebackers - so this weekend, time willing, we'll be in major butcher mode. The first two were not difficult (except for listening to the death throes), so perhaps we can get about 1/2 of the remaining 23 into Camp Frigidaire. The other 1/2 aren't quite ready and would benefit from an extra couple days feed/growing out.

There is a very mean cockeral who is very high on the list to be the first camper. He's not the biggest (yet), but he's so mean, he's got to be pulled from the gene pool. So I've told our sons that no matter how small he is - he's coming to church with us on Sunday for fellowship - as he SERIOUSLY needs some good churchin'! (Votes: chicken & dumplings or chicken soup - supposed to be 95 degrees on Sunday). Let me know your opinoin on the best recipe for "Big Mean Red" the bully of the chickenyard.
 

Life is Good!

Songster
8 Years
Apr 14, 2011
1,179
222
226
suburbia Chicagoland
8 out of 25 processed. 17 to go. (6hrs worth of processing?!)

Taking about 20min/bird. Seems this is a good average for most home beginners, which we are. But we're finding a 'groove' in how to do this well.

The meanie rooster WAS the next to go. He was plenty big. Did have a bit of fat on his carcass that I hadn't noticed on the two dispatched the week before. Only have 6 roosters left - and it's been interesting to see them. Most haven't yet started crowing - and seem to lack much in terms of testosterone. So, it's like having a bunch of hens around. Poopy, messy hens.

Have noticed a considerable drop in feed requirements though! Yeah! Was even able to take out a 2gal waterer as well, despite the heat. So they've got 4gal of water and still have the 10' of feeder twice daily. Although I'm noticing it's taking longer and longer for them to finish it. Perhaps they're slowing down in growth? Most of the hens are still 'triangle' shaped. We'll see as we process on Thursday evening to see what happens in terms of size. I'll post sizes all together at the end of this adventure.
 

CowgirlMama

Chirping
8 Years
Feb 23, 2011
188
0
99
Baker City, Oregon
Thanks for sharing! We have 60 Red Rangers (same bird, different name!) and it seemed like they were going through an AWFUL lot of feed... but after reading what yours have gone through, its about the same! :) Our oldest birds are 11 weeks today (we have 2 sets- the other set is 7 weeks today). I'm not sure ours are quite ready to head to freezer camp yet though... I'll have to weigh them later this evening and see where we're at!! I'm thinking we're going to wait a week or two more... BTW- we ended up with quite a few roos and not very many pullets... and our roos are starting to crow!!!! Guess it's about time to send them to camp!! :) Thanks again for sharing your experience!!!
 

3 NH reds

Songster
8 Years
Dec 5, 2011
610
31
166
Western Mass
Yes thanks for all the info. Our Red Rangers are 3 weeks old and eating well. They are skittish birds and have yet to figure I am the one who feeds them. Are others noticing Rangers behaving like this? Today is hatch day for Black Jersey Giants and I will be curious to see how they behave.
 

Life is Good!

Songster
8 Years
Apr 14, 2011
1,179
222
226
suburbia Chicagoland
11 wk update, 77 days old:

Well, we've processed all the roosters except 1, maybe 2 (think one is a roo, not quite sure, but we'll find out soon enough!). Been working in batches of 5, so we've got just 2 batches remaining. I noticed a little bit more fat tissue on the last batch done yesterday - but it's NO WHERE NEAR what I cut off of store bought chicken, so it's so minimal in my book! Still weighing about 7lbs per rooster with a dressed carcass weight of about 4lbs. Not as large as anticipated, but plenty big for the first go 'round.

The hens will be next - and some are still on the smallish side, we'll see how they fare. I've left one roo (the barred one in some of these photos) to protect the flock. It's funny, he seems to 'get it' that he's been chosen as flock keeper! He's guarding the girls very well and leading them around.....just like a regular ol' chicken.

Seems odd to have so few in the pen. While I'm thankful for the meat in the freezer - it's strange to go feed them and have to consciously remember, 'oh, wait, they won't need THAT much food!'.

We've got new Java chicks from our first ever broody - a second broody has an egg that's pipped this morning. So, I'm very much looking forward to filling the pen with Java's instead of Rangers. But these Rangers have been incredibly great birds - active, curious, thundering pigs on stilts. Will do another batch in the fall. So we'll be posting about processing in the cold instead of the heat!

Next processing day will be late Sunday. If I get another picture of the Rangers, I'll post it - I seem to be taking a lot of chick pictures lately!
 

ijon

Songster
8 Years
Jan 11, 2012
271
97
166
I kept two freedom ranger hens and had a dark cornish rooster. Very meaty offspring.
 

Latest posts

Top Bottom