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

Red Ranger foraging prowess

Processed Red Rangers

Last year, we were overall quite pleased with our Red Ranger broilers, but I wished their fat was more yellow than white. Did the fault lie in the breed (which forages a lot more than a Cornish Cross, but a lot less than a "normal" chicken) or in the time of year? To answer that question, we started our chicks a month earlier in 2016 so they'd bulk up while the grass was still green and bugs were still copious.

This week, we harvested half of our current flock. Unfortunately, the fat is still white, pointing to breed as the culprit.

Despite the lower quality fat, I still think Red Rangers are a good compromise for the average homesteader. They're relatively efficient converters of feed to meat, don't die like Cornish Cross, and do produce succulent meat that doesn't require special cooking techniques like heirloom breeds do.

All of that said, in the interest of cutting back our workload so I don't stress myself out again next summer, Mark and I decided to outsource our broiler production to the same folks who provide our pastured lamb each year. So...back to Cornish Cross we go!

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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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Hmmm strangeā€¦our Rangers have yellow fat, weighing in at about 5+lbs but they did get some scratch, so maybe it was the corn in the scratch. Maybe the breed various some??? We did have some other chickens with white and some with yellow fat, so maybe it is the breed and its variations? The Amish in our area commented about the Cornish Hens, saying that they only feed them in the morning and at night and they don't have a problem with them dying; however, they are confined in chicken tractors on pasture. Not sure if my comment is helpful or not. I just hope you don't stress too much. The chickens are healthier than anything from a grocery store - yellow or white fat :) - cheers!
Comment by Patty Sat Oct 22 16:24:09 2016

I too had red rangers this year. They got good and large 6+ lb at 14 weeks. They all had LOTS of yellow fat.

I seem to remember that someone said red rangers are hybrid birds and as such it depends a lot on the genetics of the parents and there is a lot of veritability in the different hatcheries

Comment by BW Sun Oct 23 14:48:10 2016

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