05 March 2015

Six week review Ideal Poultry Red Broilers

So, I have had these Red Broiler chicks for six weeks today, and thought to share what I see.  When I first got them, someone over at Homesteading Today remarked she had been disappointed with hers.  They were rangy and scrawny, and did not make good broilers at all.  I'll need to resurrect that thread, because I do see a basis for this assessment ... although my experience so far has been a little different.

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 you can see, there is a huge difference between the largest cockerels and the runts.  The smallest runt is disproportionate to the point of looking absurd, and is approximately half the size of most the others.  I can easily see if someone ordered a small batch, and only received runt-looking chicks regardless of actual size, there would be significant disappointment.

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.

No comments: