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Friday, July 2, 2010

Cornish versus Freedom Rangers – final verdict

by Dale

We packed and iced our Coleman cooler with 7 Cornish and 7 Ranger broilers which weighed up to about 80 pounds and put it in our trunk. We drove 2, 500 miles from Maryland to Utah by way of Mount Rushmore to serve them up in a taste test at our Johnson family reunion for about 50 people. My brother- in-law cooked them up in Dutch ovens. They were WONDERFUL! The verdict – No one could tell them apart.

It may be that the slow cooking for 2 ½ hours with herbs and spices diluted the differences. It may be that my feeding program did not accentuate their particular characteristics. For example, both were raised in pasture coops. Perhaps the Freedom Rangers would have developed differently in a free range pasture netting system which I had planned but never employed.
Well this year is history and I have 70 chickens left in the freezer which will get us through until next spring. Which will I grow next year? I don’t know. I will have to ruminate on it. I like characteristics of both. The Freedom Rangers are more healthy and active but the Cornish Cross are cheaper to produce. Maybe I will try it again next year under a free range system rather than my pasture coops. See my last article for the economic analysis of the two breeds.


Rachel said...

I would personally choose the FRs over the CX birds just because I don't want to raise birds that have all sorts of health problems due to genetics, even though they cost less.

Diane@Peaceful Acres said...

Our FR's are on death row! D-day is Monday the 5th. We harvested one bird for Father's Day (72 days) and it was absolutely the best chicken we've ever eaten! The skin was a bright yellow and the breast was surprisingly juicy and tender however only weighing in at 1.11 lb/whole breast. Our birds have been free ranging for 12 weeks. They only get a small amount of grain in the am and pm.

From a personal note. I have hated raising these meat birds. They are the meanest things I've ever raised. They peck at my feet and ankles. They are now flying on my back and pecking at my back. They are ravenous.

I may get a couple cornish x's to raise to supplement our freezer. My friend who's raising Cornish X is not having any health problems with them even at 8 wks. Just because most people have health problems doesn't mean that it's a given. They do not act at all like the FR's. The only difference I can figure is that the FR's really want MORE grain and the CX already are just eating grain grain grain. They are filling up to their hearts content sitting at the trough all day long. Mine act like they are starving. Go figure. I have a few Rhode Island reds in with the FR because I got them as chicks at the same time. The RIR don't act like the FR. They in fact are the first to go out to pasture and are very content.

That's been my experience. It's not been fun. I've hated every minute with these birds. I'll give the CX a try just because this was such a bad experience.

Anonymous said...

It seams like your Freedom Rangers were starving and attacking you to get food. What makes you think there is enough bugs to eat. I have 25 FR's and they are very friendly but they are free range plus all the food they can eat and they eat a lot.

Robert said...

Loved reading your post. I did the same experiment this past summer as well. I did not track costs separately, however, so I appreciate your analysis. I guess I was a little surprised that the cost gap between the breeds was so wide. The CX obviously eats more per day, but the extra days until slaughter must be where the FR falls behind.

I wrote a post recently recapping the summer and ended by saying I would choose FR over CX based mostly on mortality and that vitality you talk about. Check us out at www.hisandhershomesteading.wordpress.com

Thanks. Robert.