For many years, McMurray Hatchery has been a proud supporter of 4-H projects across the country. Each Spring 4-H’ers across the country order their day-old baby chicks from our hatchery and raise them for projects or to show at their county and state fairs. This year, one young man’s project was so interesting we were happy to support him and share his results.
Broiler production makes up a large percentage of the United States’ food source. Jeff and Suzy Sernett’s son, Alec, has raised, shown and processed his own meat birds. For his 4-H project this year he decided to do a comparison of two of our top broiler breeds: our Jumbo Cornish X Rocks and Red Ranger Broilers. According to Alec, he prefers the Red Rangers but he wondered why they were not used in commercial broiler production. He recognized that commercial broiler production has to be as efficient as possible. His project was designed to determine the cost per bird to feed, and compare how long it takes each breed to reach its desired size for processing.
For twelve weeks, Alec raised twelve Red Ranger cockerels and twelve Jumbo Cornish X Rocks. Over the course of the project, he was careful to keep detailed records and ensure that both breeds were raised exactly alike. Both breeds were vaccinated, kept in the same set-up, and fed the same feed. To keep the data the same he kept both breeds continually eating and with full access to water.
Alec’s meticulous data was calculated to determine weight gain, rate of gain, feed consumption and final carcass weight. The findings below are the results of his project.
Alec concluded that the differences cost of feed per bird would be substantial when raising multiple birds, and the longer time to raise the Red Rangers would lead to increased labor on the part of producers. Alec did say that he still prefers the Red Rangers though for himself, because they can free range in his pasture, and he prefers more dark meat.
We would like to congratulate Alec on his successful project and for sharing his results with us — Alec’s project was awarded by being advanced to the State Fair.
BREED COMPARISON: BENEFITS AND DRAWBACKS
|Benefits of Red Ranger Broilers|
|The meat from a Red Ranger Broiler is about half white meat and half dark meat.|
|Red Ranger Broilers are good foragers and free range well.|
|Red Ranger Broilers have stronger legs and thighs, and therefore less likely to break their legs or dislocate their hips throughout the growing process.|
|Drawbacks of Red Ranger Broilers|
|They take longer to grow than a Jumbo Cornish X Rock.|
|Because they take longer to grow, their food consumption is higher in order to reach their desired size.|
|Benefits of Jumbo Cornish X Rocks|
|The meat from a Jumbo Cornish X Rock is more white meat than dark meat.|
|They grow at a much faster rate than other breeds, including the Red Ranger Broilers.|
|They require less feed to reach their desired weight.|
|Drawbacks of Jumbo Cornish X Rocks|
|Jumbo Cornish X Rocks ten to have dislocated hips or have broken legs because of their large breasts and weight.|
|Jumbo Cornish X Rocks are also susceptible to dying from stress or extreme temperatures.|
4-H BROILER PROJECT RESULTS
Comparison of Total Gain by Breed (LBS)
Avg. Daily Gain per Breed
Average Carcass Weight
Feed per Lb. of Carcass Weight