Verdicts in on Freedom Rangers

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by burntmuch, Dec 8, 2010.

  1. burntmuch

    burntmuch Out Of The Brooder

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    Montrose MI
    Just did a batch of FRs. Now during processing them I wasnt too impressed. The leg & thighs were big but the breast a bit thin. Now these birds were quite fatty. Now Im thinking that is natural for a chicken to put some fat during cold weather. Or it could be because I fed them quite a bit of corn along with the feed I got from the feed store." trying to save a buck" shame on me. Well we ate one for dinner tonight. The breast were sufficient. The meat, white & dark tasted great. The wife & kids loved it. The downside is not as much is left over. On a CX there would have been enough left overs for a second meal. Like chicken salad or chicken noodle soup. So did they taste that much better than the CXs. Oh yeah the skin was quite a bit thicker, Almost like neoprene. It cooked up real nice. So Im still undecided on what my next batch will be. So I guess theres no real point to this post:D Oh yeah. while raising these, They were a little better looking chicken than the CXs . I lost one big rooster at 11 weeks. Not sure why. The kids found him dead one day while I was at work.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2010
  2. CDennis

    CDennis Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the post.
     
  3. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Since you've experienced both, which would you recommend for a first timer who want's to give meaties a try???
     
  4. ChikeeMomma

    ChikeeMomma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 29, 2009
    Mid Michigan
    Just my two cents -- I've done both and am going to do the Cornish Xs again this spring. I enjoyed them more - more friendly, more meat, they did free range, raised them to 11 weeks (compared to 17 weeks). I lost one from each batch for unknown reasons -- had to cull.
     
  5. TimG

    TimG Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Compared to 17 weeks for what?

    My Freedom Rangers were plenty big for a meal plus leftovers at 11 weeks. And, that's not because my family doesn't eat much. The weights are posted elsewhere. But, there seems to be much more varied results with Rangers than with Cornish Crosses.

    I expect the opening poster's concern about fat had much more to do with his feeding them corn than with genetics.
     
  6. eKo_birdies

    eKo_birdies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 11, 2010
    Northern Colorado
    Quote:Compared to 17 weeks for what?

    My Freedom Rangers were plenty big for a meal plus leftovers at 11 weeks. And, that's not because my family doesn't eat much. The weights are posted elsewhere. But, there seems to be much more varied results with Rangers than with Cornish Crosses.

    I expect the opening poster's concern about fat had much more to do with his feeding them corn than with genetics.

    agree... i do not feed corn as scratch to any of my meat birds and have not had the same issues w/ the fat that the OP mentioned. i much prefer a leaner bird.

    i'm guessing (hoping) chikeemomma meant 7 weeks?
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    The way I read it is 11 weeks for free-ranging (reduced feed) Cornish X's versus 17 weeks for FR kept the same way. Of course, I'm guessing too.

    I think there are three things that affect how they turn out.

    1. Breeding. Not just the breed but the strain of the breed.

    2. Feeding. High protein versus low protein. Restricted feeding versus all you can eat. I'll lump exercise and foraging in with this category.

    3. Age. The older they are when you butcher, the more developed the meat will be in texture and flavor.

    To me, it is no wonder people get results all over the board. There are just too many variables involved.
     
  8. tagra123

    tagra123 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 28, 2009
    Lima, Ohio
    Just my two cents.

    For first timers, the cornish cross will look just like what you get at the store / Lee's KFC, etc. 8 pound birds in 8 weeks if you feed them properly and don't starve them to slow down the growth rate. It should take about 20 pounds of feed from chick to 8 pound finished bird. If you want meat fast this is the way to go. I think it's 10 lbs for the first 6 weeks and 10 lbs for the last 2 weeks.


    From my experience all the rest that are not hybrid are similar with my preference being white rocks for both meat and eggs.

    We usually get 3/4 to 1 inch breast meat off of the white rocks just free ranging to 18 to 24 weeks


    If you have patience then the heritage breeds like white rock and others can give you "free" chicks if you let the hens and roosters do their job.

    By the way corn I don't know why corn gets such a bad wrap. Free choice them corn along with their regular feed and just watch and see which one they prefer!
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2010
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    Quote:I don't think it is so much that corn gets a bad wrap. You need to know a bit about it and how to feed it. Corn is pretty high in energy and low in protein compared to a lot of other foods. The energy has various uses in their body, such as keeping warm in winter, but excess energy is turned to fat. A little extra fat in the winter is not necessarily a bad thing but an obese chicken is not a healthy chicken. If you google "fatty liver syndrome" you will get one reason. Obesity can also cause egg laying problems. Chickens do normally prefer corn to many other foods, just like a child will often prefer candy to other foods, but if you are raising chickens for meat or eggs, protein is much more efficient for body growth or making eggs than them eating for energy. If they fill up on corn, they are not filling up on protein-rich foods.

    It is a balance. A little corn won't hurt them. A little more corn in winter to help give them more energy is certainly OK. But if you are feeding meaties to optimize growth rate, corn is not the feed of choice. A higher protein feed is.
     
  10. tagra123

    tagra123 Out Of The Brooder

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    Lima, Ohio
    The main reason for mentioning the corn is that I know a few of the old timer's that fed whole corn to their chickens and anything else the chicken ate was up to the chicken to find and they managed to get good eggs and meat.

    We free choice corn to our chickens and ours are not fat, in fact they could have just a little more fat on them, but our chicken can find anything else they need on their own and they are expected to do so.

    I suppose penned chicks may need something besides corn since they wouldn't be able to find it themselves.

    Corn is 9% protein and is an excellent filler -- just look at the commercial feed ingredients. When we have our feed's custom layer mixed (1/2 price of commercial feed) it is usually just ground corn and roasted soybean with some minerals.

    The chickens know what they need to eat (well, most of the time -- I've seen them eat weird stuff), how else would they know when to eat some grit, or oyster shell, etc...


    The above is for free ranging chickens who can easily sustain themselves on 10 to 14% "provided" protein.

    For the meaties, by all means pour on the 20% - 24% protein feeds commercial or custom.

    I guess living in the middle of a corn field I get a little defensive when I see folks picking on corn.
     

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