The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Choosing a homestead broiler

Homegrown roast chicken
"Meat birds, I assume? I am contemplating a small batch, but not sure I want those cornish cross due to all the problems common for them, but is it economical to feed other breeds for a longer time before processing? Red Rangers look good, but the hatchery is out."
--- Deb

It sounds like you and I are on the same wavelength, Deb. Mark and I weren't very impressed with the Cornish Cross we raised last year. Yes, they were economical, but they barely foraged and I felt their meat was only slightly superior to store-bought.

Day one chicks

We've raised Australorps as broilers in the past and felt like their meat was extremely nutritious. But dogs and ducks and other problems meant we didn't have a large enough flock to hatch our own eggs this year. And when I pondered the hatchery catalog, I decided that if I was buying broilers, I might as well try something that would be a bit meatier and (hopefully) more economical. So, like you, we chose Red Rangers, which we reserved in midsummer for a fall broiler run.

Day three chicks

The previous photo showed the chicks the day we brought them home from the post office --- they already looked pretty big and spunky! But the comparison to the photo above, taken two days later, shows that the baby broilers are also growing fast. I plan to let them out on pasture this weekend and will keep you posted on how they fare.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Thanks. Looks like I am too late for this year, but will be interested to see what you think of them.
Comment by Deb Sat Aug 29 22:47:09 2015
We're on our 2nd batch of Freedom Rangers ( First round averaged to a little over 5 lbs processed per bird. We run them in chicken tractors in our yard and have had a good survival rate and flavor. I can't yet speak to feed conversion ratios. I didn't track on our first batch. I'm tracking this batch but I'm still 3 weeks out from processing day. If I remember I'll post a follow up!
Comment by Bear Mon Aug 31 08:38:50 2015
Our first batch of Red Rangers are heading to the butcher this week (11 weeks). They have been raised in poultry pens and moved at least once daily. They were brooded under a hover in the pasture pen too. They are healthy and active. I am curious to see the quality of the meat they produce.
Comment by Lilac Hill Farm Mon Oct 5 09:13:05 2015

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