The little fuzz-butts are just over a week old and still doing really well! There was one that seemed sickly when the box arrived, and sadly it died shortly afterwards. But the hatchery always ships an extra chick, just in case.
So I still have 25 birds, and the rest are doing wonderfully! They’re strong, curious, run all about their box and there isn’t a single weak one in the group. This may seem totally reasonable and normal if you’re not used to meat birds. But trust me, they’re doing way better than the standard cornish x meat bird chicks.
And you can see they’re already starting to get true feathers on their wings! I think meat birds just age a lot faster than layers. They feather out more quickly, start crowing more quickly, get to harvesting weight more quickly. But if you keep them around the hens start laying younger than regular layers do. And at a year and a half old they look and move like a 6 year old layer would. Something about carrying the extra weight, or maybe being bred to grow so fast, it wears them out faster too…
But at least with the freedom rangers they run, explore, and range like a normal chicken during the time they have. They’re tastier than a normal chicken too. I’ve tried raising a double purpose breed and eating all the roosters. You really have to keep them for a year before they’ve put on enough weight, and that’s a long time to keep a bunch of roosters around.
So I get these guys instead!