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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

And I meant it!

Last year was the last straw with raising Cornish X Broilers.  It was just too creepy wading into the seething pool of over-genetically-modified poultry twice a day.  I said I wouldn't raise them again and I meant it!  But what to raise in their stead?  The only redeeming quality (and also, frankly, the creepiest thing about them) was that you could go from chick to freezer in 8 weeks.  But they go through high protein (read: $$$) feed like nobody's business and can barely lumber around after six weeks.


I had raised Red Rangers before and I did like them.  They took almost another month to reach table weight, but were much better at foraging and did not require as much high protein feed.  But, now that I process them myself, removing all those dark red feathers was not something in their favor.  Then the solution presented itself in my inbox:


Photograph from Meyer Hatchery
I just ordered Gray Ranger Broiler chicks.  I order my chicks from Meyer Hatchery (see website here) because they are a) cheaper than Murray McMurray, as healthy as MMcM, and their customer service is terrific.  I know they will take a bit more time to mature, but look at those feathers!  I will have to be diligent about clipping wings, as these guys (and gals) are a lot more active than the Frankenchickens.  That is another plus.  I can set up my electronet and give them some ground to cover as well.  Another thing I did this year, was to limit my order to my needs and my neighbor's (he who helps me process them).  Raising almost 30 chickens last year was too much.


They arrive the week of April 18, so I have to add another few things to my list - besides re-covering the hoop house, I need to clean it out and set up the electronet.  I will let you know how they stand up to the FrankHens.

17 comments:

  1. Processing 30 birds last year must have been one BIG job! That's a lot of feathers . . . and chicken guts. :o/ The Gray Ranger Broiler birds seem the more natural way to go. Especially the sized-down number you'll have to raise . . . and butcher!

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    1. Mama Pea - I am hoping that these turn out like the original French reds I raised. It will be such a pleasure not having to deal with all that milling about my ankles.

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    1. Debra - Mmmmm, is right. Just had one of last year's this weekend and it was DELISH!

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  3. Hi Susan, I know very little about chickens at the moment and am learning as I read people's experiences. It's interesting about the Cornish X chickens. I did a search and read your post about the debate between the slower group and the cornish group. Thanks for the lesson. And kudos to you for raising AND processing 30 chickens. Very inspirational :)

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    1. Rain - I would not necessarily recommend processing that many by yourself! I had help, but both helpers are over 80!!! Frankly, they are more help than most of the 'help' that's under 30 around here. If you want to raise meat chickens fast, then there is nothing faster than the Cornish X. But the trade-off (IMHO) is that you are promoting the continuation of a genetic frankenbird.

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  4. I raise 100 Freedom Rangers or Kosher Kings every summer, and I have never ever clipped a wing. I don't see where it is necessary at all. Just keep them happy with adequate room and feed, and they should be fine. I like to get mine around the end of June, as the weather is then easier for them to handle (I also live in Upstate NY). Good luck!

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    1. Farm buddy - that is good to know! It will be a lot easier to manage without having to worry about them going over the fence. I'm not familiar with Kosher Kings - I will have to look them up. Thanks for the info!

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  5. I really don't know anything about raising chickens, but it's interesting to read about your experiences. LOL I googled Gray Ranger Boiler instead of Broiler...and got stoves instead of chickens.

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    1. LOL! Well, Jenn, it's all related at some point... :)

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  6. Check out this website:
    www.freedomrangerhatchery.com
    This is where I get my chicks. They have Freedom Rangers, Kosher Kings, Black Freedom rangers, and some others. I have been lucky enough to find a mobile processor that comes to my farm to do my birds. They are very nice, professional, respectful of my birds and me, and they do a fantastic job. I imagine there is something similar in your area. Well worth it!

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    1. Thank you, FB. I will check them out for next year's order. I like using small businesses. I haven't located a mobile processor but I don't mind doing it myself (with the help of a neighbor) when it's a manageable amount of birds. Where are you located, vis a vis Albany, if you don't mind me asking?

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    2. I am located in Chenango County, and although I am southwest of you, I usually have colder weather, as we are in a high, cold pocket. I always compare temps with my sister, who lives in Salem, NY.

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  7. These are a huge improvement over those Frankenchickens! Mama Pea, remember "Apple Pie Gal"? I think she referred to those Cornish broilers as "The Creepy Meats"... haha funny what will stick with you - I will always call them that now :)

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  8. We keep hens here just for eggs. Hard to imagine processing hens, mc less 30 hens. Guess I name all my girls, and just can't eat them. Good luck on your new meat birds. Wish I was closer to you to be able to check out your spread. Frankenhens and all

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  9. Handsome birds! Looks like a great choice. I find those meat birds creepy too :(

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  10. Thanks for the info. We stopped ordering the cross breed too. They were just wrong in my opinion. Wrong with nature anyway.

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