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Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Freedom Rangers are Here!

Today, April 2, we received our shipment of 50 Freedom Ranger broiler chicks from J.M. Hatchery in Pennsylvania. They are an energetic single breasted meat chicken in comparison to the lethargic Cornish Cross double breasted meat chicken. The Freedom Rangers should be better at foraging the pasture to reduce feed costs but they won’t get as big as the Cornish Cross. The breeding stock is imported from the regions of Burgundy and Brittany (France). The genetic stock is derived from the American and European old heritage breed of chicken and was developed to meet the standards of the French Label Rouge Free Range program. Currently, the Freedom Ranger genetic stock is used by most non-factory farm production models across Europe and also by small pastured poultry producers like us in search of a traditionally raised farm chicken. We will grow our Freedom Rangers for 10 weeks and process them on June 12. 

On April 16 we will receive our shipment of 50 Cornish Cross broilers. We will grow them for 8 weeks and process them the same day as the Freedom Rangers. We will keep track of mortality, feed consumption, dressed weights, and have a taste test to compare the two breeds to see which ones we like the best. This is an exciting research project for our backyard farm. It will end when we drive across the United States from Maryland to Utah on the week of June 13 to conduct the taste test with Michael & Marisa’s family. I can’t wait to put the first Freedom Ranger and Cornish Cross on the barbecue spit. Get ready to fire up the grill Michael!

Dale M. Johnson


Unknown said...

Sounds good Dale, I am always willing to eat free range, home grown chickens.

Kristi said...

Wow! I think there should be a BYF contest for admittance into the taste test bbq : )

Ecocheapo said...

How exciting! In planning otu first venture with raising meat chickens, I have gone back and forth between Rangers and Cornish. Will you be raising both in the same pasture pens?

katiegirl said...

I'm curious to see how your rangers compare to your cornish. I raised Cornish X last year, and they free-ranged beautifully! I was pretty surprised because I'd been hearing so many negative comments!

Dale Johnson said...


Here is my plan. At three weeks old will put the Freedom Rangers into my 8'x8' pasture coop -chicken tractor (see my videos on pasture coops). After that I will confine them with electrified netting so they can range over a 1,600 sq.ft. area. I will then put my Cornish Cross in the pasture coop where they will stay until they are processed. Cornish Cross are lethargic and really don't need any more space than the pasture coop (I move it twice a day).

Dale Johnson said...


If you want to drive all the way from Austin, Texas to Utah, you can come to the taste test.