This morning, we harvested the remaining Freedom Rangers that we were raising for meat. Here is the summary:
We started with 51 birds. None died from sickness. None suffered broken legs from excessive growth. We lost 6 due to predators (raccoon pulling birds through the side of the chicken tractor at night).
23 were harvested at 10 weeks old and averaged 3.7lbs (mostly roosters)
22 were harvested at 12 weeks old and averaged 3.95lbs (all hens).
The birds consumed 900 lbs of feed.
Therefore, it took 900 lbs of feed to raise 172 lbs of meat for a 5.24:1 conversion.
Average live to package weight was 65%.
29 of the 45 birds were sold and the rest reside in our own freezer.
We also harvested 9 heritage breed roosters this morning that were approximately 4 months old. The average weight was closer to 3.5lbs, the body cavities were smaller, breasts smaller, legs larger, and I suspect the meat will be slightly tougher. Since we cook almost all chickens in the crock pot, that doesn’t matter as much. The biggest difference is the heritage birds are not nearly as nasty as the meat birds.
We are torn about what kind of birds to raise next. Freedom Rangers are off the list. If we are raising meat birds, we might as well do the Cornish cross. However, we don’t really like the meat birds as much as the heritage breeds.