Thursday, April 5, 2012

happy feet meat

I look outside and see two Freedom Rangers in the side yard, scratching in the new spring grass, puttering about in the sunlight. They seem content in their chickenhood. Tomorrow a bunch of them will be rounded up, caged, loaded in the pickup, and delivered to Garden of Spices Farm in Greenwich. That's Ben Shaw's small farm where they will be processed for my freezer for $3.00 a piece. They will feed me, workshops, and my friends. The original trial thirty from Mr. Fox (I love that my chicken stock farmer's name is Fox) did so well I have another twenty chicks in that haybale barn right now. I donated thirty to Firecracker farm. I'm just so dang happy with them. In three months they went from chirping fluff to eight-plus pounds of happy meat. They are thriving, and I am proud of both their size and the meals they will create. Steve and Molly get the lion's share, but I get a few, and I will share some with friends. For the most part, these birds will wait in Freezer Camp to be called to dinner as I see fit. It's a a good and safe feeling. The chicken tastes amazing, too.

23 Comments:

Blogger becky3086 said...

I enjoy raising my own meat birds too. I only have 10 going right now but have to stop and get some more this week or next.

April 5, 2012 at 3:08 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I'm getting ready to raise meaties again! I'm looking forward to having a freezer of fresh meat! We call it freezer camp too, so the kiddos don't get upset over my processing the chickens. lol

April 5, 2012 at 3:21 PM  
OpenID ruralaspirations said...

I'm interested in trying some Freedom Rangers. We've only ever raised Cornish Cross (and that only once, our first summer last year). I've heard they have darker meat and a richer flavour, has that been your experience too? I'd love if you could do a post comparing the two kinds of meat birds, both in terms of raising them, their behaviours, time to market weight, etc.

April 5, 2012 at 3:23 PM  
Blogger maddogmusher said...

ruralaspirtitions:

I was going to ask the same thing. I raise 25-30 Cornish Cross every April for 7 weeks and then pay 3.00 a bird for processing too. (So worth it) I have learned to let the food run out in the evening, otherwise they gain weight too fast and have had issues.

I am thinking of trying the Freedom Rangers, but don't like the ideal of having to them almost twice as long and go through more food.

But if they taste better....

April 5, 2012 at 3:57 PM  
Blogger maddogmusher said...

ruralaspirtitions:

I was going to ask the same thing. I raise 25-30 Cornish Cross every April for 7 weeks and then pay 3.00 a bird for processing too. (So worth it) I have learned to let the food run out in the evening, otherwise they gain weight too fast and have had issues.

I am thinking of trying the Freedom Rangers, but don't like the ideal of having to them almost twice as long and go through more food.

But if they taste better....

April 5, 2012 at 3:58 PM  
Blogger maddogmusher said...

Forgot to mention I get all cockerals. You are guarantee to get more meat. I think I will be paying 1.07 per bird at the coop in two weeks for a Cornish X cockeral.

April 5, 2012 at 4:00 PM  
Blogger Hannah Loomis said...

Don't have any chickens right now, sadly, but I had to write to say I think it's hilarious that your chicken stock farmer is named Fox - I love looking out for names that match professions. I often wonder how much peoples' names actually influence their choice of career. I took my daughter to Bright Dental thinking that the nice, friendly name was to make kids feel less scared...of course it turned out that the nice, friendly lady dentist was named Dr. Bright!

By the way, I just found your blog a few weeks ago and have been really enjoying it!

April 5, 2012 at 4:15 PM  
Blogger Photo Spread said...

I will be processing the first of my Freedom Rangers on Saturday. The boys will be going first, since I'm not allowed to have roosters in the city limits. They are 8 weeks old and just starting to discovery their "roosterness" - time for the freezer for them!

I plan on giving the girls 2-3 more weeks to continue gaining weight. They they, too, will be heading to the freezer to become future dinners.

April 5, 2012 at 4:32 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

I've always thought chicken didn't have flavor but then I haven't been raising my own! Ran across this interesting article on Heirloom Poultry, the Un-Perdue

April 5, 2012 at 4:36 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I have no qualms with cornish cross, I think they are great too. The certainly grow faster, too. I am sticking with these guys because I don't use tractors or contained areas, and these guys do better on the "open range"

April 5, 2012 at 5:24 PM  
OpenID mandysmutterings said...

Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy reading you every day. Its so nice to read about some one making the dream happen one day at a time. Just wish I could have done it when I was younger as well.

April 5, 2012 at 5:36 PM  
Blogger maddogmusher said...

I bet by letting them free range you don't have to feed as much food and they taste better too. I'm going to have to try some after the Cornish X are done!

April 5, 2012 at 6:26 PM  
Blogger Mindy said...

I also loved my freedom rangers last year. I'm not a big fan of poultry farming in general (the rewards do not offset the effort, IMO) but the flavor of the freedom rangers made me think maybe, just maybe, raising meat chickens was worth it.

April 5, 2012 at 9:28 PM  
Blogger Robin Johnston said...

Please pardon my ignorance, as I am a new urban homesteader. but are "freedom rangers" a specific type of chicken? (breed?) or is that a reference to how they are fed? I love that your chicken guy is named Fox: i have a veterinarian whose name is Slaughter. :>)

April 5, 2012 at 9:56 PM  
Blogger rabbit said...

I love the relation between your butcher's name and the wild side of said names profession.
@hannah, my last name is 'Sheppard', not the "right" spelling and ironically until I met Jenna I had no interest in the profession-now sheep are up there on the list-chickens still FIRST! We're having a hatching of americauna at the end of the month and I am SO stoked! We'll just eat the roosters ;) ....

April 5, 2012 at 11:14 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Hey I just saw Jon & Maria are getting some new chickens from you...cool : )

(sad they lost Meg & Toots, but as they say, life goes on)

April 5, 2012 at 11:46 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Amy where did you see that? We JUST struck a deal! ha!

April 6, 2012 at 6:54 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

http://www.freedomrangerhatchery.com/

YES they are a breed!

April 6, 2012 at 6:54 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

Haha Jon's not one to keep something in when he's excited- already posted it on his blog!

April 6, 2012 at 9:26 AM  
Blogger Elaine said...

Mr. Fox and Dr Bright have nothing on my chiropractor who is named Dr Bak ....

And just wondering ...this has nothing to do with chickens ... did you finish Outlander ?

April 6, 2012 at 9:56 AM  
Blogger SouthernGirl said...

How exciting! I am so looking forward to this time next year when I am roasting chickens raised in my backyard. The Freedom Rangers sound great.

By the way, has the Homegrown and Handmade giveaway winner been posted? I couldn't find anything about it.

April 6, 2012 at 2:28 PM  
Blogger homesprout said...

Funny, cause Ben charged 4.50 last time I was there...

April 6, 2012 at 10:33 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

It was 3.00 a bird last year, his prices have gone up. He charged me 3.75 a bird, or 16 for 60.00

I think turkeys, ducks, and geese cost more.

April 6, 2012 at 10:48 PM  

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