Entries in Prairie Ranger (14)

Friday
Sep282012

Story of the Prairie Ranger - Week 3

 

The Prairie Ranger we grow on our farm are bred to have good feathering.  This is because they are expected to thrive living out on pasture.  The feathers help protect them from the weather extremes of heat and cold.   You can see in the picture above, that even after just 20 some days-- they are growing in their "big-boy" feathers.

Week 3

Two dramatic changes in the Prairie Ranger chickens this week.  The first as we described above --was their feathers really started to come in -- now they are in that awkward growing out stage.  The second is their speed.  The brooder often resembles a crazy overcrowded elementary playground (something I have experience with) as the chicks run and jump and twist and turn! 

If this was June and we could count on warm dry nights, the chicks would have gone out on pasture this week.  However, since the nights are cooler and wetter we will keep them in the brooder an extra week so they can enjoy the safety and warmth until they are slightly more mature.  Next time we check in, they should be out on pasture enjoying the yummy green grass and playing  in the beautiful dirt! 

Did I mention it was fast? 

 

Tuesday
Sep182012

Story of the Prairie Ranger - Week 2

 

The Prairie Ranger is not a breed of bird - but rather what we call these particular birds raised in a particular way on our farm.  They are not a heritage bird.  They are a cross of older french stock that have been bred for generations to provide us with a bird that thrives in natural environments, that stays exceptionally healthy when raised outdoors in open air environments, forages ethusiastically therfore utilizing green grass for a large part of its diet and creates excellent table characterisitics.  

One customer who recently tried our Prairie Ranger for the first time said -- "It tasted like Chicken -- I haven't eaten a  chicken that that tasted like Chicken since I was a little kid!"  

This is why we raise these fantastic birds, they do well with our pasture-centered model and they create a gourmet quality bird for your table!

Week 2

The chicks are still in the brooder for one more week where they can still seek warmth under warm lights when they feela little bit chilly.  They are starting to lose their downy fluffiness and growing their mature feathers -- a requirement to being bale to thrive outside.  They are nearly twice as tall as they were last week and they have started eating about 3 times as much.  

They share their brooder right now with a variery of laying breeds which we have hatched on farm to bolster our laying flock.  It is intersting to note the significant difference in growth rate between our heritage breed layers and the hybrid Prairie Ranger.

 

Monday
Sep102012

Story of the Prairie Ranger - Week 1

Our Prairie Ranger chickens have proven to one our customers favorite pasture poultry choices.  They have commented over and over how good they taste compared with any other chicken they have eaten.  We have loved raising them.  They grow steadily and slowly and have few health problems.  In addition, they are great foragers and thrive living out their lives on natural pasture.  

Since this will be our last batch of broilers this year, I thought I would share the life of these birds with small glimpses each week. 

WEEK 1

We receive the chicks in the mail from a small husband/wife breeder in PA.  They ship them out on Wednesdays and we receive them on Thursday, so the chicks go through very little stress.  This time, they were delivered by the postman before we were home and she called and asked if we would like her to just put them in the brooder barn for us -- gotta love living in the country :)

For the first week they will live in our secure brooder area.  It allows us to protect them from predators and ensure they stay warm during our already chilly nights.  In the brooder they will grow quickly for the next three weeks.  

 

Sunday
Jul012012

Prairie Ranger vs Cornish X - what's the difference?

We have chosen to raise three distinct and special types of chicken to raise on our farm. Each has certain qualities that our customers appreciate. Cornish X, Prairie Ranger and Barred Rocks.   The two that most people ask about are the Cornish X and the Prairie Ranger Chicken, what's the difference?  

The Cornish X (pronounced Cornish Cross) has become the familiar grocery store chicken.  It has been genetically selected for superior meat production since the early 50's and is now the ONLY breed of bird you can buy conventionally from the grocery store.  When grown on pasture, it retains  the same benefits of the store bought bird but is healthier because of its diet rich in nutritious grasses and living in open air on fresh pasture. The Cornish X bird when dressed has very large breasts and thick meaty legs.  The meat is very tender, juicy and mildly flavored.  When butchered it looks very clean because of its easy plucking feathers and thick skin.  

The Prairie Ranger that we grow on our farm are a slower growing bird that is bred from French parent stock.  Prairie Ranger is not an actual breed of bird, but rather a type of bird bred and raised according to a set of standards called Label Rouge.  Our birds were originally bred in France as slow growing broilers meant to be raised out in pasture.  They have been selected as an exceptional forager and obtain a high percentage of their daily intake from what the pasture provides. Their slow growth rate when combined with more of their diet coming naturally from pastures, leads to a bird that is more flavorful and has more texture to its meat.  They are a leaner and longer bird than the Cornish Cross with slightly less breast meat and longer legs.

These two pictures highlight the difference in the bird you will receive.  In addition, you will notice that because the Prairie Ranger has colored feathers you will see some colored specks in the skin, this is pigment left in the skin from the feather quills and has no effect on its taste.  The most important difference is the taste. Customers have reported back to us that the meat on the Prairie Ranger has more flavor, has a sweet taste and is more juicy.  

Several of our customers have eaten both the Cornish  and the Prairie Ranger.  In the comments section below please let others know what qualities you saw in each bird.   

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Also, if you would like to order Prairie Ranger Chickens and Cornish X, we are starting new groups of each.  You will preorder the birds you want with the option of picking them up on the farm or having them delivered to the city.  

Click Here to Order Fresh from the Farm Chicken

 Try some of each and let us know what you think!

 

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Synergistic Acres - 21733 Iliff Rd, Parker, KS 66072 - 913-735-4769
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