The Cornish-Rock is the industry standard meat chicken breed. It has been bred to have an astounding feed-to-meat conversion ratio, excessively rapid growth, and obscenely large breasts. This is the chicken most of us are used to, as it is the only chicken available in grocery stores. The downside of the Cornish-Rock's turbo-charged growth and top-heavy physique is its inability to act like a chicken after the first few weeks of its life. A true chicken scratches, ruffles its feathers, dust bathes, roosts, and chases grasshoppers. Mature Cornish-Rocks pretty much just eat and sleep (thus their 'efficient' use of feed).
In light of these discoveries over the last few months, we have begun raising an alternative variety of chicken. They are called Freedom Rangers, and are derived from the American and European old heritage breed of chicken that was developed in the early 1960s to meet the highest standards of the French Label Rouge Free Range program. They are like the traditional birds raised on small farms in the good old days - healthy and vigorous foragers with succulent flavor and texture. So far ours are doing great - they've been thriving on pasture since day one, and should continue to grow (at a healthy and reasonable rate) until we process them here on the farm mid September.