Saturday, May 12, 2012

Freedom Rangers

Our first batch of Freedom Rangers is nearly ready to harvest!
I have mentioned them before, but these were bred in France to meet the high standards of the Label Rouge Free Range program.  They are a slower-growing breed that is better suited to free-ranging and natural rearing systems.  We've noticed that from the very beginning these birds are much more healthy and vigorous compared to the batches of fast-growing Cornish cross chickens we have raised.

As you can see, our chickens are kept safe from predators (and the darn dog) in the Joel Salatin-style movable shelters.  They are raised on pasture and are moved to fresh grass daily.  We mix our own feed from barley, oats, organic corn and organic field peas (no genetically modified grains or soy), and we add fish meal, flax seed, Thorvin kelp, Fertrell's poultry mineral mix, Redmond salt and the high-mineral Desert Dynamin clay from Agri-dynamics.  The feed is soaked with our high-mineral well water and either raw apple cider vinegar or skimmed soured raw milk from our cows for 24 hours.

The price for these chickens is $5 per pound (this price is based on the feed costs, which are enormous.  We don't even factor in the soured milk, as that is a by-product of our cream and butter consumption.  By mixing our own feed we are able to keep the costs at a minimum and maximize the available nutrition).  It's hard to look at a bird on the hoof and estimate how much it will weigh (thus the 40-lb turkey situation we had one year), but they are supposed to grow to be about 3-5lbs.  Some are larger and some are smaller, so if anyone wanted a smaller bird to make it more affordable, we can arrange for that.

If anyone is interested in trying one of our chickens, please write me an email before next weekend!

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