The Freedom Ranger Chicken was developed in France in the 1960's to be an alternative broiler / restaurant bird to the Cornish Rock Chicken.
According to the Freedom Ranger Hatchery, "Breeding stock is imported from the regions of Burgundy and Brittany (France). The genetic stock is derived from the American and European old heritage breed of chicken and was developed in the early 1960’s to meet the highest standards of the French Label Rouge Free Range program. Currently, the Freedom Ranger genetic stock is used by most non-factory farm production models (alternative) all across Europe and also by small pastured poultry producers in search of a traditionally raised farm chicken - just like the "oldies", healthy and with a succulent flavor and texture."
"Since our Freedom Ranger Broilers are a slower growing breed, they are naturally better suited to the higher welfare and all true natural rearing systems (full pasturing, free range, organic, certified, backyard etc.…). In the United States most modern poultry industrial production models use fast growing breeds (hybrid white synthetic Cornish crosses)."
Varieties (Single Comb): Varies amongst each individual.
Weight: 4 - 5 lbs at market weight
Personality: Calm and lazy
Preferred climate: Moderate
Handles confinement: Yes
Egg Production: Fair (2/week)
Egg color: Brown
Egg size: Extra Large
carcass weight, best meat quality, taste, broiler breed, great foragers
low losses, goodsized breasts
This is the meat bird for me!
If you've read any of my other reviews, you've seen that I have a love/hate relationship with meat birds. I love to have my own home-grown, healthy meat, but I don't like many of the Cornish crosses designed for the purpose.
I experimented with a small batch of these birds last year, and this year they are the ONLY meat chickens I am raising. I have had VERY low losses with last year's or this year's set (we're talking 2 or 3 as chicks, pretty normal, out of 75).
These birds don't quite pack on the pounds like the rock crosses, but they do get pretty heavy. We actually got almost as much meat on these birds as we did with the rock x, just a different distribution. You get good-sized breasts but smaller than crosses, and more leg and thigh meat. The FLAVOR, though, is so much better! They make much better soups and stocks, too.
We do range these birds and they do great - live like real chickens - and so that helps cut back the feed costs (although grain for us has still been the bulk of the feed). However, this also allows me to buy simple local grains and the birds do not suffer from not having an engineered grain, something the crosses do not do well..
From MaryW Jul 17 2014 11:12AM
The Meaty chicken.
Freedom Rangers are the first chicken i had to learn to process . FR are best know for their meat and resistance to illness. I really liked the Freedom Rangers Here's why:
-They are the best meat quality of any chicken breed
-They are almost disease resistant.
-Easy to raise and handle.
-Was easy for me to clean, even at a young age.
-They taste the same as the other leading meat chiken breeds and you get a bit more.
They don't grow the fastest.
Overall its a great bird to learn or teach a kid to clean and prepare it. I would higher suggest this breed for anyone who is looking for a meat bird..
From Bryan Negrini Feb 3 2013 3:43PM
Freedom ranger chicken great tasting meat bird but take too long to grow
The freedom ranger chicken is a delicious tasting meat bird. It doesn't even compare to the Cornish cross you will find at the grocery store or farmers market. The only problem is that it takes nearly 16 weeks to raise it up to a harvestable size. They are great foragers but the time and labor it takes to rotate them on pasture, feed and water them for those extra weeks makes this breed a bad financial investment. A pasture raised Cornish cross will be ready for butchering in as little as 8 weeks, so at double the time the Freedom Ranger doesn't make sense.
Now if you want to raise this bird for your own dinner table and cost isn't an issue than go ahead as you are in for a delicious meal. The Freedom Rangers are much hardier than the Cornish cross, they tolerate heat and will forage for their food. Unlike the Cornish Cross who just sit there and wait for butchering day, these birds act just like normal chickens do, scratching and taking dust baths..
From Drhunt20 Sep 10 2015 2:11PM