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Our Freedom Ranger results

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Mrs. Mucket, Aug 28, 2010.

  1. Mrs. Mucket

    Mrs. Mucket Songster

    May 3, 2010
    Pacific Northwest
    For those interested in Freedom Rangers, here are the results from our first batch.

    In May we ordered 25 chicks from JM Hatchery. We received 26 healthy 2-day-old chicks—all buff colored except for a single very dark chick. We lost one chick at age 3 weeks when a feeder fell on it. Around that time another one was looking lame and was isolated with a companion for a few days but recovered nicely. Other than that we had no health problems. We started the chicks on Nutrena Starter/Grower crumbles. At four weeks they switched to Nutrena Meatbird crumbles and went outside to a free range area. They foraged well and eagerly ate feed twice a day. All along they were fun to watch and they grow visibly every day!

    Out of the 25, we had 6 pullets and 19 cockerels. Most turned out to be red birds, some with a bit of black or cream marking. Three of the hens were yellow, one was a tricolor (the dark chick). Her coloring is patchy, not barred, with a lacy look on shoulders. One cockerel turned out to be a barred tricolor. Other than him we did not see much barring.

    We kept out the barred cockerel, one red cockerel, and all 6 hens for breeding and processed 17 cockerels. Due to family scheduling we had to process in two batches three weeks apart. Here are the dressed weight ranges: At 10.5 weeks we processed 8 cockerels. They ranged from 3.5 to 4.5 pounds. At 13.5 weeks we processed 9 cockerels. They ranged from 5 to 6.5 pounds. All are tasty! Though we’d heard that FRs have less white meat than grocery store chickens, ours have had plenty. The breasts are narrower but longer. The Ranger drumsticks and thighs are noticeably larger. While I normally eat two thighs (my favorite part) from a store-bought chicken, one Ranger thigh is enough for me. I don’t have much of an oven right now so I have crock-potted two of the birds, and the broth seems richer too. The family and some friends enjoyed grilled pieces too. Can't wait to roast one when we get a good oven in.

    We have not done a cost ratio but Rangers are definitely worth raising. Interestingly, the remaining 8 birds do not eat anywhere near as much proportionately as the flock did before processing. Maybe the girls never did have huge appetites, though I know the dark pullet was always eager to eat since her first meal. These keepers do not seem to be eating any more than our laying hens, while the whole flock of meaties ate quite a bit more proportionately before processing date.

    We plan to put one Ranger roo in with our laying hens and put some other hens in with the Rangers to balance things out, then switch roos at some point so we get chicks from both roos and see what we end up with. The hens we add will be white- or colored-egg layers so we can tell their eggs apart from the Ranger eggs.
  2. hensonly

    hensonly Songster

    May 15, 2008
    upstate NY
    I also did Rangers from JM this spring. We processed thirty one birds in July at 12 weeks. We were unable to build the tractor we planned, so they were in a coop the whole time. It was newly built so they had grass, which they did not kill in the two months they were on it.

    We had the buff, and the red, and two of our birds were barred, and just gorgeous. I'd have kept them if they'd been pullets, but I didn't want two more roos.

    Our dressed weights were from 5 1/2 lbs (four birds under 6 lbs), and the rest were evenly spread, at weights between 6 lbs and 8 lbs. We used Dumor chick starter for the first four weeks, went to starter/grower for two, had two birds go lame. Called JM and they said to cut the protein. So I combined the starter/grower and grower/finisher, bringing the protein to about 17 percent, as JM suggested. ONe bird recovered fine, the other did not and was grown out in a dog crate in a corner of the chicken house. He did not eat well but I spent ten minutes morning and night steadying him so he didn't fall over while he ate, and he stayed healthy, though he was one of the smaller birds. He did have decent meat, as I couldn't tell which of the smaller birds he was.

    So we were very happy with our Rangers, too. If I'd had more room, I'd have kept a couple of hens just to see how they mature. Maybe next time! They were very nice birds, calm, curious, active, really nice.
  3. sonew123

    sonew123 Poultry Snuggie

    Mar 16, 2009
    onchiota NY
    Im real tempted to do a mix next year 20 FR's and 25 CX-I like the fact the freedoms will free range-but the CX are much faster so I can process 2x in one year:) good job guys-ur talking me into them real easy:)

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