Meat chickens at 8 weeks
Our Freedom Rangers meat chickens are now 8 weeks old and growing well and we thought we would do an update. They spent almost two weeks in the brooder and then went out onto grass inside our chicken tractor. It will be another 4 weeks before this straight run batch of 26 chickens get to butcher weight.
Observations about our Freedom Ranger meat chickens
Without question, these Freedom Ranger meat chickens forage more than the Cornish Cross we have raised in the past. We have watched as they tear up clover, grass and scratched for insects. I’ve thrown a few bugs in the tractor and watched as they ate them.
Although they do forage for additional things to eat, I don’t think they take in very much of their daily calories this way. They still spend the majority of their day at the feeder eating the chick grower. Considering these chickens are fed for an additional 4 weeks as compared to the Cornish cross, I am not convinced they will require less feed to get to butcher weight. We are documenting how much feed we use to feed them to butcher weight.
This fall, after the heat of summer has passed, we hope to bring some Cornish cross to butcher weight as a comparison. We will record how much feed we give them and compare it to our results from the Freedom Rangers.
Our second batch of Freedom Rangers
At the 6 week mark of our first batch of these Freedom Ranger meat chicks we ordered another 25 chicks from Freedom Ranger Hatchery. For this order we elected to get all cockerels for the same price as straight run. We received 27 chicks with our second order and lost a single chick on their second day in the brooder. The remaining 26 are healthy and growing well. They will be moved to a second John Suscovich style stress-free chicken tractor next week.