Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Chicks have Arrived!

Our broiler chicks have arrived. This year we ordered 20 Freedom Rangers instead of Cornish Rock crosses. Why did we switch? Purely economical. To get the few birds we wanted, the Cornish Rocks would have cost us $2 per bird plus shipping. We had friends, however, that were ordering the Freedom Rangers and had already topped 100 birds on their order so they were getting quite a discount.

According to my friend, they are a heritage breed that are better rangers than the Cornish Rock. That means they do better on the grass running around. If you've never seen a Cornish Rock cockerel at 4-6 weeks, they are quite ghastly. They are top heavy because they were bred to have extra large breasts and they easily break their legs from walking around. Because the Freedom Rangers grow a little slower, this isn't supposed to happen. Now, all this information was from my friend, so I ordered them.

After I ordered them, however, Hank Will, editor of Grit Magazine, sent me this article from the Mother Earth News website. According to the author, Troy Griepentrog, this was not his experience. He shared that the Freedom Rangers were not a true heritage breed but a four-way hybrid like the Cornish Cross. He also felt they grew too fast, as well. His final analysis was that the next time around he would purchase a true heritage breed.

No matter the controversy, I have 20 Freedom Rangers in a Rubbermaid bin in my laundry room. They arrived Friday and their wing feathers are already coming in. That is fast. Today we took them outside and put them in the grass under over-turned laundry baskets for a few hours. I intend to do that as long as the weather is nice. Hopefully, I can acclimate them to being outdoors and can get them out of the laundry room sooner than we have in the past.

What do you think? Cute, ain't they?


  1. We also did the Cornish X a couple years ago. Their breasts were huge! Incredible how fast they grew! We butchered in about 8 weeks time. Would like to know how the Freedom Rangers go. Keep us posted :)