S&G/Mt. Healthy Dixie Rainbows etc...

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by tnchicken, Jan 25, 2010.

  1. tnchicken

    tnchicken Out Of The Brooder

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    May 2, 2009
    This post was from almost two years ago but thought I would update since the Dixies are now being offered through Mt. Healthy. I believe S&G has dropped Reds and Grays (or mixed everything together as Rainbows). We will raise more this summer as my wife prefers these over the CX- prettier and less messy. They are so much more durable than the CX but just not nearly as efficient. I was happy enough with the weights before. I would hope to see a little more consistency and hopefully a better FCR in the warmer months.

    *****


    I thought I would post results of a batch from S&G since results from others have been very helpful to me.

    There were 130 birds received of the Johnny Grays, Dixie Rainbows, and Red Rangers. The Reds actually arrived two weeks later than the others but were combined after a couple weeks in the brooder. This did allow for some separate data for the Reds. The birds were tractored up to dispatch.

    Due to how these were sold, it is impossible to give a breakdown for each breed but a general feel for how these perform can be estimated.
    These had a market once they achieved a 5 lb live weight and most were sold live so live weights were recorded for consistency. They were fed out and sold from 9-1/2 weeks to 14 weeks.

    Loss
    Total loss was 12 birds so approximately 9% which I think is high for these. There were occasional losses up to 9 weeks which was odd. The losses seemed to stop when vitamin supplements were stopped but this could have been a coincidence.

    Dixie’s/Johnny Grays results
    10 wks: First third- Avg wt 5.6 lb (6.4 lb high) mostly JG
    12 wks: Second third- Avg wt 6.1 lb (8 lb high) mixed DR/JG
    13 wks: Last third- Avg wt 5.4 (7 lb high) mostly Dixies

    Reds
    14 wks: Avg wt 6.3 (8.2 lb high) had a few runts

    Feed rate
    This is the killer. Total feed to get to this point was a live FCR of 5.5 which seems extremely high. The time of the year could have contributed since these were finished up in mid January. There was some feed waste also but not enough to justify such a high number.

    Positives
    These are beautiful birds that forage well and are much cleaner than CX. They can handle the elements better than a CX and might be an option for winter birds if you are in an area not prone to snow and have the pasture to support. They do seem to have more taste and texture than the CX but that could be in my head due to all the extra time and feed (or due to processed at later age).

    Negatives
    FCR! They consume a lot of feed and grow out a slower than promoted. It’s difficult for the positives to overcome this.

    Summary
    I had read some unflattering reviews of S&G birds but have mixed feelings. The Johnny Grays seemed to do better as a group. Some of the reds performed well but there were a few runts in the reds and none in the others. They do not give the quantity of meat as a CX but are not meant to. All birds that were dressed average 70% dressed/live ratio with no organs.

    The losses bothered me but could have been related to something else. I would like to try another group of these with netting in more of a confined pasture method instead of the tractors and in warmer weather to see if the FCR goes down. I also hope to raise some JM birds to compare which have gotten much better reviews. If anyone has any thoughts on improving, I am all ears….or eyes in this case.

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    Last edited: Jan 3, 2012
  2. ChikeeMomma

    ChikeeMomma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 29, 2009
    Mid Michigan
    I raised some Dixies this fall and I felt like they consumed a lot of food, too. They were definately pretty. I let mine go to 16 weeks. They weren't ready at 12 weeks. I think they are pretty tasty! I kept back the pullets and butchered the cockerals. I didn't feel as though the pullets had a lot of meat on them to make it worth it. I kept two pullets for myself and sold the others. My pullets are laying now and are beautiful! They are about as big now as my EE rooster. They are/were friendly birds. The cockerals never crowed at all. And my other LF roosters were usually crowing by 16 weeks. It was a fun experience, but I haven't tried Cornish Xs yet. So I'm going to see how those work out for me this year. Oh, I only lost one chick at 4 weeks of age. It grew normally until about 2 weeks of age and then slowly became lame -- to the point of not being able to walk (it would scoot itself around). It was like it had some neurological issue. So we had to cull it. Other than that they were very healthy. I fed them an unmedicated grower and finished them off with a finisher and cracked corn. I never gave them any vitamins, either. My order was small though -- only 20 chicks.
     
  3. tnchicken

    tnchicken Out Of The Brooder

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    May 2, 2009
    Repost
     
  4. Azriel

    Azriel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 19, 2010
    Montana
    I'm glad to see this reposted as I have been thiking of getting some of the Rainbows from MT. Healthy. I like the idea of being able to keep the pullets and grow them out to laying. I have my own DP birds, but want to try the "meat" birds but not the CX. I think that is a very nice looking dressed out bird.
     
  5. Sundown_Farmer

    Sundown_Farmer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 2, 2010
    Non-Chicago, Illinois
    Thanks. We have toyed with using these for a late winter chicken but 14 weeks takes me from Feb into June. I'll raise and process 600 CX before these are ready to rock. Maybe late summer...
     
  6. shadowmane

    shadowmane Chillin' With My Peeps

    So is the Mt. Healthy Red Ranger the same as the S&G Red Ranger? I ask because I have some of the Mt. Healthy birds.
     
  7. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

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    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    5.5 pounds of feed to make a pound of chicken (live weight)? Yikes. That's some expensive eating. For that conversion rate, you can raise grain fed beef.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2012
  8. shadowmane

    shadowmane Chillin' With My Peeps

    You either raise fast growing chickens and sacrifice the taste, or you grow slow growing chickens and sacrifice the feed costs. To me, I prefer to raise the slow growers and free range them. You wind up not feeding them as much. Its already working with my layers feeding fermented feed and letting them graze on my grass.
     

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