Last night when we went out to close up the chickens in the shed we had an unpleasant surprise. We lost a meatie chicken. We had two females left, and now we are down to one. We had planned to butcher her on Saturday, but it seems we had missed the deadline of life.
At this point after trying five Freedom Rangers I would have to say it was an experiment that gave me results I won’t need to verify a second time. I no longer wonder if it would be worth it to do meat birds instead of heavy dual-purpose egg layers. At 6,000 feet it isn’t worth it.
The roosters matured very quickly and became territorial worse than any other rooster we have ever had. We butchered them early for safety’s sake. They were smaller than we had planned or expected based on the internet. The females initially grew quickly and then plateaued. They reached what we wanted for finishing weigh much slower. At 15 weeks one of the females was found dead in the coop one evening. We have to assume that it is from heart failure. Heart failure is common in Cornish Rock Cross, so much so that they are not recommended for altitudes at 5,000 and above. Freedom Rangers are supposed to be less prone to this, but I suspect that 6,000 feet puts even the heartier Freedom Ranger at risk.
Meaties were suppose to be a quick easy way to put some meat in the freezer but it didn’t work out that way. I have not butchered the last female meatie. I plan to do that this weekend. We will weigh her once we have dressed her. I am sure she will weigh in heavier than our heavy dual-purpose birds when we butcher them. But based on what has happened so far the little extra in weight doesn’t justify all that went into raising these meaties. I plan to stick to what has worked for me so far heritage heavy dual-purpose layers. Those same birds the could make breakfast for Grandma and then be Sunday dinner.