Slow growing Red Rangers

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by maplebendfarmmn, Jul 25, 2015.

  1. maplebendfarmmn

    maplebendfarmmn Out Of The Brooder

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    My husband and I decided to go with Red Rangers this year for meat birds as they looked to be the middle ground between heritage birds taking 6 months to mature and cornish crosses that looked to be feathery lumps. This is our third year raising birds, our first year we had barred rocks as our meaties (they were the other half of our straight run we ordered to get egg birds). We were pretty disappointed by the carcasses. Very little breast meat (but the thighs and legs were good sized). The meat tasted great. Last year we went with Buff Orpingtons because of their reputation for good temperaments and being bigger birds than the rocks we were hoping for a little bigger birds. Well, that was a no go. Horrible temperaments, CONSTANT fighting and aggressive toward us. Some birds were being so badly bullied they couldn't get off their perch to eat or drink. The bullies were so busy being bullies and chasing everyone else around they did not gain weight like they should have either. We split everyone up into small groups, but then THEY would fight. It was a nightmare. We gave up and slaughtered everyone at five months. Disappointment yet again. Now this year, hoping for a little better carcass we went with the Red Rangers. They are almost 6 months old and have not really put a lot of meat on their bones. They are heavy birds, but I can still feel their keels pretty prominently and the legs/thighs aren't much better. They eat a 22% protein meat maker crumble (available at all times) and have access to forage in a field all day. They are put into a large secure coop each evening with a lot of places to perch. Everyone is bright, alert and active, eating well and stools look good.

    What I'm getting at is, has anyone else had this problem with red rangers? Am I expecting too much of a difference in the carcass of
    a red ranger to that of a heritage breed? Should I keep feeding them hoping that they'll "fatten up" or cut my losses and butcher the lot?

    [​IMG]
    This is one of the little roos at about 4 weeks old.
     
  2. GitaBooks

    GitaBooks Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    We found that if we waited a little longer then suggested for our heritage breeds (New Hampshires, White Rocks, Barred Rocks and Orpingtons) then we got more meat off of them. What hatchery are you getting them from? Poor genetics could be the problem, as could inbreeding, worms, or some other parasite.
     
  3. slingshotandLAR

    slingshotandLAR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've seen some pretty big ranger roosters that were 18 weeks old.....

    It sounds like your fed up with slow growing birds, I also tried herriatage birds with similar results. I say go ahead and butcher them, then get some CX and raise the chickens your looking for.

    Ours average 4.77lbs processed at 7 weeks consistently. They are fed twice a day and live in tractors that are moved once a day.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2015
  4. GitaBooks

    GitaBooks Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Cx definitely give you a good amount of meat for a low cost. [​IMG]

    Just thought I would like to carefully bring up the fact of the ethics behind these birds, as they have trouble walking, perching, behaving naturally, ect. They can't breed well and they often suffer from sores, leg issues and heart attacks. I don't think it is worth getting a cheaper bird if you sacrifice a healthy, happy animal.

    Just thought I would add my thoughts, I'm not trying to argue. [​IMG]
     
  5. ms2rt

    ms2rt Out Of The Brooder

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    CX is the way to go. We got 5 for a 4H project and they were all over 5 pounds at 7 weeks. We kept them for an additional week in order to accommodate the time line for a butchering party and i cut back their feed to once a day, otherwise we would have butchered at 7 weeks and saved about 20 pounds of feed.
     
  6. slingshotandLAR

    slingshotandLAR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Our birds are happy and healthy.....

    They eat all kinds of plants and bugs, they go outside at 3 weeks old and stay for 4 weeks. I rarely have birds with leg problems as they get older, between all the walking they do when we move the tractors they pick bugs all day. Add to that they get feed twice a day and they do very well.

    I understand what your saying, but you can raise these birds happy and healthy.
     
  7. GitaBooks

    GitaBooks Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    I'm glad yours are happy. That's awesome! [​IMG]
     
  8. nstah92

    nstah92 Out Of The Brooder

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    I actually have a few Red Rangers. They are about 81/2 months old now and are probably about 3-4 maybe five lbs. I had a rooster as well, however he was very aggressive towards us when trying to get near the coop or hens. I had him butchered and he was probably a good 7 or 8lbs. That was about a month ago. Made a big pot of chicken corn soup and chicken pot pie just from him!
     
  9. maplebendfarmmn

    maplebendfarmmn Out Of The Brooder

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    We ended up butcher all the boys at about 6 months. End result was about a 4# carcass. Pretty disappointing for the amount of food these guys ate. They taste amazing but I will not be trying red rangers again. The girls actually started laying eggs before we started butchering and they were so small that we decided to just keep them as egg birds. They are laying on par with our barred rocks and are great foragers. Ideally I would like to have had more birds for meat but such is life. I will probably try the cornish crosses next year to keep the peace with the hubby (he's sick of the heritage birds). I just really do not like the thought of those poor frankenchickens. Although maybe we can do alright with them. We have also been raising BBB turkeys the last couple of years and they are especially known to have leg and heart problems as well. We have not had an issue and have gotten everybody through to slaughter healthy. Thanks for the input everyone!
     
  10. Fentress

    Fentress Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I thought Red Rangers were basically the same as Freedom Rangers. I have not raised either, but I have read about Freedom Rangers, a red feathered meat hybrid designed to come off at 12 weeks. Your performance with the Red rangers seems off. In general, my experience with chickens from hatcheries, is that they are bred to be layers, even if they are supposed to be dual purpose. I now have some standard bred Barred Rock, obtained from a breeder. They are huge and make good roasters, but their lay is mediocre at best and they take forever, even for a heritage bird to mature. I feel your pain. I was going to try some Freedom Rangers for a young tender carcass and keep the BR for roasters. You might want to try some breeders, a few do breed for utility as well as the Standard of Perfection. Good Luck.
     

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