I love, love, love this breed! They fit so well with what we’re trying to do here which is raise delicious, healthy meat while acknowledging and embracing the way that the Lord created this animal to live. We want our chickens to range freely on pasture, scratching, running, flying, and roosting- in general acting like a chicken. The beauty of this breed is that they can do that and are still strong & hardy enough to handle the extra weight that was bred into them so much better than a Cornish X. And finally, I feel that I can say that the meat in the Freedom Rangers we’ve raised the last two years is hands-down the most flavorful and delicious chicken I have ever tasted in my life. The four batches of Cornish we’ve raised couldn’t begin to compare with the Rangers. And to think that when we first started raising our own chicken, we thought we were going to have to just get used to eating tough flavorless meat!
By feeding them supplemental feed & providing them with overnight housing, we are able to move them around the pasture similar to the chicken tractor model and still get the benefit of somewhat concentrated manure throughout the pasture. They will generally hang out around “home base” wandering off throughout the day and then coming back. Having them contained makes the chore of gathering them up on butchering day simplified. Just don’t open the door in the morning.
The problems we experienced this year were:
Freedom Ranger Cost Analysis
Cost of 150 Chicks: $224.90
Cost of 1600 lbs. Feed: $476.08
Original Flock: 150 birds
Losses: 97 Birds (0 leg issues, 14 predator attacks, 0 infections @ harvest, 18 hatchery at fault; 53 housing huddle; 11 neglect; 1 murder by 2 year old)
Harvested Meat: 200 lbs. 15 oz.
Average Weight Per Bird: 3 lbs. 12oz.
Average Price Per Bird: $13.22
Average Price Per Pound: $3.48/lb.
Cost of Local, Ranged Broiler: $3.49/lb.
If I wrote something here about life experience or lessons learned: Priceless, would that make the cost savings a little less laughable?