What Type of Meat Bird Should I Grow in Minnesota?

Personal preference will help make your choice.  From the butcher’s point of view, I prefer Cornish Cross, but your family may want a slow growing Freedom Ranger. Regardless, it’s important to look at both options completely before making your decision.

It’s no secret, Cornish Cross is the fastest growing meat bird and is generally ready to process after 7 weeks, providing it has been given the right circumstances: right food, adequate space, water, and the right management practices. The Cornish Cross is more genetically modified.

Some however may prefer Freedom Rangers because of their slow growth, dark meat, and being less genetically modified. They are better growing on pasture with their breed qualities, they peck more, move around more, etc., and they do contain a lot more fat. They are ready after 10-12 weeks.

I recently attended the Sustainable Farm Association annual conference.  One of the presentations was by Randy Kleinman from Seelye Brook Farms located in Oak Grove, Minnesota. Randy completed a two-year study comparing Cornish Cross and Freedom Rangers raised on pasture.  There is so much information in this one study. 

If you are a small poultry farmer in Minnesota, this information will be very valuable in helping you make the decisions on your farm. With his permission to share the study, I would recommend anyone growing meat poultry in Minnesota to take a look! https://www.seelyebrookfarms.com/sadg-grant