Chickens ~ the meat kind

I feel like we made a big leap into the world of farmlife today~
our first meat chickens arrived.

It's a little scary because we will have to process them ourselves. Yikes!

They are Freedom Rangers and are specifically bred for meat but grow a little slower and more naturally than the popular Cornish X.  It was important to us that they act like chickens as they grow.  Just like with the cattle, pigs and even lamb, we want our animals raised for meat to have the best life possible.  And then ~ they will provide for our family's table.

It may be hard for some of you to understand this but we feel better about raising meat animals ourselves rather than buying them at the store.  Certainly it's not for everyone!  Meat chickens may not be for us.  However, we won't know until we try.

It's hard to believe in 10 to11 weeks these little ones will be ready.  Until then I'm going to do my best to not get attached.
 I'll keep you posted on how it goes.


  1. Kim, I admire you for taking the big leap. I've been wanting to order some Freedom Rangers too (and rabbits) but keep putting them on the back burner because i don't like the thought of butchering. But homegrown is sooo much better! Can't wait for an update post in 10-11 weeks.

  2. I completely understand how you guys feel; if I could handle the 'butchering' myself, we'd be doing the same! I can't wait to follow their progress.

  3. I think that's great, Kim! I don't have the guts (or time) right now myself, but the thought of home-raised chicken - not the artificially plumped crap we get in the stores - is very appealing.

  4. Hello, I want to say "Yikes" in deed! My husband and I have chickens only for eggs. He wanted to purchase meat birds, but I was worried about my grand-kids and how they would react. Good for you- home raised is better than store bought. Anna

  5. Good luck. I know I couldn't kill them. It would be fine if my husband would, but he won't either. I do understand your reason for raising your own and agree with it.

    I have a funny story about when my dad decided to raise rabbits so he could have fried rabbit and biscuits and gravy for breakfast. One day I'll have to write it down. My sisters and I still laugh about it.

  6. I have been wanting to do this, too. But just never take the plunge. Eating fresh eggs is so wonderful, and I know that raising meat chickens would be a very good thing. I sure need to keep in touch and see how this goes with you. When it comes to meat birds, I guess I am a big chicken!

  7. I'm not sure I could do that. I might be able to raise them and have someone take them somewhere and return with packets of meat. But, I don't think I could process them myself.
    Good luck. It must be hard to keep distanced from them, emotionally.

  8. We did this for the first time this past spring. We raised 95 Red Ranger meat chickens and processed them ourselves. We took our chickens to a farm nearby and used their equipment. The Featherman Plucker was key. Without that one piece of equipment, it wouldn't have been much fun. I had two brother in laws and a friend come for the event. We also had two 13-year old sons and a 15-year old help, and they did great.

    We did it on Memorial Day weekend, so it was a big family/friends event. That Sunday evening we cooked up 7 of the chickens in all forms and fashion and they tasted delicious.

    If the kids see it when they are young enough, it is just a part of life and they don't think twice about it. The younger they are to start, the more natural it is. My 10-year old son didn't want anything to do with it, but my 7-year old was fascinated. Each person is different.

    It went so well, that we already placed our order for a late July delivery of 150 more Red Rangers.

    Best of luck and I hope it works out for you. I'm looking forward to seeing your posts about it and how your boys took to the processing.

  9. We have raised meat chickens -- nothing tastes better. We were blessed to have an Amish processing place near us and they did that part for us for a very good price. We did some of the butchering early on -- my best tip -- on butchering day, plan ANYTHING but chicken for supper - you will not want to go there for a day or 2, lol. Nowadays, my nest is empty and I work outside the home and don't do meat any longer -- we are able to get organic at our farmer's market :)


  10. I don't know if I could butcher them, otherwise I would be doing it too!

  11. I love how you share about your family's perspective on raising animals for consumption. My four-year old knows that the trucks we see loaded with "white chickens" are going to the factory for us to eat--but our girls at home are for laying eggs. Maybe we'll make that cross over and have both types down the road--sure would be nice to know where the meat comes from!

  12. That's neat! I hope that we will be able to raise some sort of meat chicken next year. Fresh home-raised chicken is delicious and tender without those nasty preservatives. Butchering can be hard, but just trust the Lord to help you and He will! (For me, once the killing's over, I really love gutting them. You could count it as a science project, too. :) ) Also, as a tip; once the chicken is killed, we dunk it in boiled water for 5-6 seconds; this makes the feathers come off super easy & you won't have to deal with the difficult process of de-skinning (w/feathers) the bird.
    We do raise meat rabbits. That might be something neat to try. Rabbit meat is very tasty (I like it better than chicken :) )and it has four drumsticks instead of two. :)
    I do have one question. How do you grow Freedom Rangers? Are they on free pasture while broilers & Cornish Rocks are fed pellets? Thanks! :)

  13. We butchered for the first time last fall. After the first one, it was easy. Work, but not hard. Good luck to you!

  14. I have several pictures of my gramma plucking chickens to cook for dinner. When company came for dinner, she would have to kill, pluck and of course then cook the chickens. I've heard there is none better than fresh chicken. More people need to understand the process of where our food comes from and that no one should have to apologize for it!

  15. We have that on our list as well. I've been looking for freedom rangers. Did you find a goof source online? Do keep us posted on how everything goes!

  16. Alycia,
    We purchased our chicks from Freedom Ranger Hatchery in Pensylvania. They arrived one day early, all alive & healthy, and with one extra.

  17. Helpful hint: DON'T name them ;) We raised chicks for food when I was young. I had a kitten, a dog, a goat, a pony... I was OK with it. And boy, did they taste good. (my mom did not make me pluck and clean them...)


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