Some background: Before I received them, I emailed Ideal to ask about the genetic background on their Red Broilers. The reply sounded like a vacuous non-answer. I was informed these are not breed hybrids, but a specific line the hatchery has developed ... descended from the Cornish Rocks. Err, I am not quite sure how a solid white specific four-line two-breed cross can spawn red meaties who do not grow freakishly fast enough to develop health problems, but still flesh out well enough to be meat birds. That piqued my curiosity, and I am still toying with the notion of exploring the genetics, though I may just leave it be and work more on my Wyandottes.
I received 25 chicks six weeks ago (ordered 25, no extras). I still have 23, with one chick totally disappearing from the brooder tub in the shed (likely escaped the tub, then out the door without being seen) and one chick getting sick and dying the day before last. There is a wide range of feather color, amount of feathering, size, and build of body among these 23 chicks. Certainly not the near-uniformity of the Cornish-Rocks, so definitely not the F1 generation of a breed cross.
|the six biggest Red Broiler cockerels|
|a couple Red Broiler pullets|
|the two runt Red Broiler cockerels|
As for my personal opinion on the Ideal Poultry Red Broilers: I won't order them again, although I will likely keep three pullets to cross with Azar, my big Wyandotte boy who is larger than even the biggest broiler cockerels with much more flesh. These will hold us over for the middle of the year until I can get my Wyandotte project fully launched, with no hurry to slaughter them before they begin failing inside like the Cornish-Rocks. At only $1.50 per chick, they will also make good practice caponizing once my headlight finally arrives.
If you want quick meat, buy Cornish-Rocks. If you want slow meat, either work on your own line of your favorite dual purpose breed, or find someone near you who breeds and buy extra cockerels from them. I just don't see anything special about Ideal's Red Broilers that would recommend them over other options. The idea behind them may be good, but the execution falls short of the promise.