Sustainable Meat Chickens?

Discussion in 'Meat Chickens' started by Mama Hen, May 26, 2020.

  1. Mama Hen

    Mama Hen New Member

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    Hi all!
    We currently have a small flock of Freedom Rangers that are roughly 6 weeks old, and so far we really like them. They seem to be growing well, and have sweet personalities. My question is, has anyone ever hatched FR’s from their own flock? I have been trying to research it a little, and read somewhere that the chicks would not be the same as the parents- they would be a throwback to a previous ancestor. Has anyone tried this? Even if they don’t retain all the qualities of a FR, would they still make a feasible meat chicken? I am new to meat chickens, and although I know that Cornish X is probably the most economical, I am more interested in seeing if there are any more sustainable meat chicken options... something that I can possibly keep a handful of, and hatch out chicks, but will still grow fast to a good size. Any thoughts would be appreciated! Thanks!
     
  2. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    Welcome to the forum. Looks like we still have some gremlins in the forum because I posted earlier and I see it's not here.

    I said I would reach out to someone who might have had them.

    I've been thinking about this since I read your question. I'm having trouble understanding how it is that they won't breed true. If the hatchery that developed them had to go through all the recreation of the breed then they would have been out of business by now if that was true.

    Some of what I did read mentioned protein amounts. Using too high of a protein level is more than likely going to keep them from maturing slow enough that they would be capable of breeding.
     
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  3. Mama Hen

    Mama Hen New Member

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    Thanks for getting back to me! That’s exactly what I was wondering too, if they don’t breed true.
    I hadn’t considered it, but it definitely makes sense that lower protein would make them mature slower. Like I said, new to meat chickens here. Might try that!
     
  4. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    I stumbled across a site that experimented with the protein levels. High levels like 26% had the birds much too large at just a few weeks old. They went down to 18%, I think it was, to slow growth down.

    It seems the biggest challenge is keeping them light enough to allow them to mature enough for breeding. Chances are the hatchery that is raising them is using artificial insemination to breed new generations.
     
  5. Mama Hen

    Mama Hen New Member

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    Very interesting! Thanks for the info- it’ll be interesting to see how they do.
     
  6. Nm156

    Nm156 Well-Known Member

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    I'd feed them a 20% protein feed.They are hybrids,hybrid never breed true.You might get 2 that grow faster and most others would probably grab the egg laying genes and grow normal.The most sustainble/affordable option would be to hatch egg strain breeds and cull the roosters before 8 weeks.
     
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  7. Mama Hen

    Mama Hen New Member

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    That’s what our initial plan was- we actually purchased the Freedom Rangers by accident at our local feedstore, thinking they were Orps. When we figured out what happened, we got a just over a dozen Australorps that will hopefully eventually be a sustainable dual purpose family chicken.

    So is the 20 percent protein feed exclusively for meat chickens, or would it be a good idea to feed that to our other chicks in the future as well? And how long do you recommend feeding it to them?
     
  8. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    I kept my birds on 20% their entire lives. My main reason was to avoid layer feed since I kept many of my roosters for breeding purposes. The girls had free choice oyster shell when they felt the need for a boost.

    Quite a few of my birds lived to be ten years or older. But, this is important, my birds were not hatchery birds. That appears to be important for longevity if there was a desire to keep them around and avoid egg laying issues.
     
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  9. Mesa

    Mesa New Member

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    I’m going to keep back a couple freedom ranger hens and breed them back to a heritage breed like Marans it Bresse.
    I think it’ll give you a faster growing Maran or Bresse. Maybe worth the experimentation.