The pace is picking up as spring is here and there is so much to accomplish this time of year. We have had lots of new babies arrive! Our lambing season was a great success this year with no losses. We have 100 layers growing rapidly and 100 meat birds growing even faster.
Our egg customers seem to prefer brown and colored eggs overall and so we will be providing a variety of egg colors this next year….mostly of the brown type but a few green and blues just for fun!
I have to mention the wonderful company we get our meat chickens from. We tried 3 different varieties of meat birds last year, Cornish Cross, Red Rangers and Freedom Rangers. The Freedom Rangers from Freedom Ranger Hatchery exceeded the others by leaps and bounds. The birds dealt wonderfully with our high altitude and are better adapted to free ranging, which we love. They actually walk around and forage instead of just sitting and trying to breath like the Cornish and they gained two to three pounds more than the Red Rangers. Both batches of Freedom Rangers that we have ordered have all arrived alive. 100 birds both times. We do loose a few Freedom Rangers around weeks 8 and 9 for a reason we have not found as of yet. We butchered the Freedom Rangers at 11 weeks last year and they dressed out at 6-7 lbs. per bird. The Cornish dressed out at 7-8 lbs. at 8 weeks and the Red Rangers dressed out at 4-5 lbs. per bird at 12 weeks.
We can relate to the poor Cornish though….we had altitude issues for a bit when we first moved here…it’s just the way it is for some of us. We were beginning to wonder if we shouldn’t go see a doctor we were so tired! The Cornish Cross are not recommended for growing over 5,000 ft. We are right at 5,000 and so thought we would give them a try. We did loose about 20% but are thankful it wasn’t more….they really had a hard time especially on hot days as they approached maturity. As far as the meat goes from all 3 varieties… it was all very tasty.