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

Red Ranger broiler update

red ranger on his last day

We retired our first set of Fall broilers today.

These Red Ranger hybrids seems to be a huge step up from Cornish Cross.

The biggest chicken of today weighed in at 5.5 pounds!

Anna Hess's books
Want more in-depth information? Browse through our books.

Or explore more posts by date or by subject.

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.

Want to be notified when new comments are posted on this page? Click on the RSS button after you add a comment to subscribe to the comment feed, or simply check the box beside "email replies to me" while writing your comment.

So, how long did you have to feed them? I am hoping to order some chicks in a few months, interested in your opinion. Did you get straight run or all cockerels?
Comment by Deb Mon Nov 16 19:56:29 2015

Are you guys also planning to post more details, like what the feed conversion ratio ended up being and how yellow the fat was?

Sorry, I don't mean to jump the gun, I'm just curious since our Rangers seemed to prefer lounging over foraging, especially toward the end, and the feed conversion wasn't all that impressive.

Comment by Jake Mon Nov 16 23:03:11 2015

Deb and Jake --- I was originally planning on writing a longer post summing up their stats, but it sounds like I probably should tell you here! :-)

We got all cockerels. They're right at 12 weeks old, which is the recommended slaughter date from the hatchery. We've only killed a third of them so far, but those five birds have ranged from 3 pounds 13.5 ounces to 5 pounds 7.9 ounces, averaging 4.8 pounds.

In terms of behavior, these are quite good broilers. Jake's right that they're lazier than heirloom broilers and do spend a lot of time napping. On the other hand, they're not as slothful as Cornish Cross, always going out to scratch for food at least once a day. And except for the hawk attacks (which weren't a breed problem as much as a management problem), we didn't lose any birds, which makes these guys a huge step up from Cornish Cross.

In terms of fat color, I'll admit I wasn't impressed. It's very pale, more like Cornish Cross than like heirloom birds. That said, I think I should have started them and slaughtered them a month earlier since the killing frost in October wiped out a lot of the wild food in their pastures. I'm willing to give them a pass in that department and test them again next year.

In terms of feed conversion rate, I'm ashamed to say I was too lazy to keep track this year. My gut says that Jake's stats are spot on. These guys ate like crazy, so even though they got big, I'm pretty sure we paid more per pound than we did with Cornish Cross.

The next test will be a taste test, coming up next week. Stay tuned!

Comment by anna Tue Nov 17 16:47:34 2015

How would you guys recommend breeding and improvig gentics of your own sustainable flock, and how often would you have to introduce a new rooster into the mix? Presumably at some point they would inbreeding problems... so keep the same rooster, eat the others that will inevitably be born once they become big enough to eat, and keep the same mac daddy doing all the breeding. Looking for practical implementable info a homesteader could use.

I am very interesting in the art naturally improving the genetics of ones herd (flock) to becoming healthier and superb foragers for ones homestead ecosystem in whatever ones part of the country. I have doone a good deal of study on natural cattle herd gentics building (Jim Elizondo on You tube has has some really interesting video series on the channel Living Web Farms - seminar Sustainable Ranching 3 Day Worshop. After watching this series, pretty eye opening and thought provoking, I think that the same principles could be gainfully employed with chickens, goats, hogs, or any livestock for that matter.

Comment by Andrew Wed Nov 18 20:35:37 2015

Andrew --- That's a good question. So far, we've wanted to try so many things that I never have to worry about inbreeding. But I think I've pretty much settled on my favorite breed or two now, so starting next year I'll have to figure this out.

Harvey Ussery has this advice, but keeping three separate flocks sounds pretty tough to me on our small scale.

On my own farm, the traits I look for in chickens (beyond production) are: yellow fat at slaughter time and orange egg yolks (both signs of good foraging), not flying over fences and ending up in the garden, and surviving predators while foraging in the woods.

Comment by anna Sat Nov 21 10:32:04 2015

profile counter myspace

Powered by Branchable Wiki Hosting.