in 2015, we raised 4 different breeds of dual purpose chickens. Below is a little about each breed.
Freedom Ranger: A very active breed that thrives in a free range environment. Suitable for foraging and pasture, Freedom Rangers produce tender, succulent meat with more Omega 3 fat and less saturated fat than common breeds. Hens will lay eggs at approximately 16-20 weeks (August, 2015). For use as meat birds, Freedom Rangers should be processed at 5-6 lbs and 9-11 weeks of age (second week of July, 2015).
Barred Rock: Docile and hardy breed that thrives and adjusts well in a variety of environments, including cold weather. Their tame demeanor makes them suitable for small family farms and backyard pets. Barred Rocks produce meat suitable for stews and soups and should be processed between 16-20 weeks of age (August, 2015). Most hens will lay eggs year round beginning at 20-25 weeks of age (September, 2015)
Red Cross: Our Red Cross chickens are Rhode Island Reds crossed with Columbian Rocks. They are a hardy breed that thrives in a free range environment. Good for pasture and foraging these are a relatively calm chicken. For use as meat birds, Red Cross birds should be processed anywhere from 18-20 weeks (less if you like your meat more tender, albeit smaller). Most hens are very good egg producers with a POL (point of lay – this is when they begin laying eggs) at around 25-30 weeks (September, 2015).
Buff Orpington: Docile and friendly breed with quiet disposition and nice personality. These chickens are definitely foragers – we call them “escape artists” so they would definitely thrive best in a free range environment. Buff Orpintons are known for their plump and juicy white skinned meat. As meat birds, they should be processed at around 18-22 weeks (August, 2015). As egg layers, the hens are very good year round producers with a POL (point of lay) at approximately 20-25 weeks (September, 2015).