Meat birds - best breed to free range

Scatterknit

Songster
6 Years
Feb 20, 2013
244
47
108
Georgia
I want a meat bird flock to free range. I have a good mobile coop, plenty of pasture/woods, plan to use electric fence, would like to use as little feed as possible. None, if possible. I have horses and lots of available compost.

In your opinion, what's a good breed to consider for this?

I don't want something that's going to eat itself to death, or get cranky and mean if it doesn't get feed. The whole idea of a bird having a heart attack or blowing out a leg because of weight just makes me shudder.
 

Kildare49

Songster
7 Years
Jun 29, 2012
293
40
136
Central Wisconsin
I have heritage breed birds for layers & meat, and also raise Cornish X.

Should be no shortage of dual purposed threads if you do search.
Just about any heavy heritage breed has the potential you are looking for.

Freedom rangers ( red rangers ) may be the ticket. quicker growth than heritage breeds
slower than the Cornish X.

It takes a different approach to raise broilers. If you want them to range for their food, they will.
I have never had a broiler with leg or heart issues. I typically have to go week or 2 longer to get them to size but 'm ok with that.
 

eviemethugh

Chirping
May 14, 2015
280
56
98
North Carolina
We let our Red Rangers free range for about a week, and with the right pasture, I definitely believe they could be ration-free. We had to stop letting them explore, because we didn't have them fenced in, they are VERY curious, and walked about 1/4 of a mile everyday to come try & get in the house! They would go off in little groups and find everything they needed, they are very sweet, and more than willing to scratch around for grass, seeds & bugs. We also decided to try a heritage breed at the same time we did a reorder, and the size difference is amazing! At 3 weeks the heritage breed is less than half the size of the Rangers. I'm really not sure when we will be able to slaughter them...they are almost small enough to be moved down to our current brooder pen with 1 week old babies. We will probably continue to try a few more heritage breeds, but still grow the RR's, we love them!
 

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