Privett “Slow Cornish” Broilers — So Far, So Good

Karen makes all the decisions on the broiler side of the farm. (Actually, she’s in charge of almost everything, these days.) Two years ago, she experimented with the “Freedom Ranger” broilers, which gave mixed results. These were supposed to be more like standard-breed chickens, which they were, with all that this implies, good and bad (which I may go into later).

For many years we got our modern, hybrid broiler chicks locally, from Jenks’ Hatchery in Tangent, Oregon. This worked very well for us, and we had our operation tuned to the strengths and weaknesses of the modern hybrid broiler. These broilers grow like weeds but are lethargic and “don’t act like real chickens” after the first few weeks.

Well, Freedom Rangers went out of business. Jenks’ Hatchery has been mothballed after losing their contract with Draper Valley, so we were forced to try something new.

Karen turned to Privett Hatchery in Portales, New Mexico, which is where we always buy our egg-type pullets. At the moment we’re using their “Slow Cornish” broilers, a white-feathered, broad-breasted hybrid broiler that looks like a modern broiler but acts more like a real chicken (active and alert).

So far, they seem to be on the growth curve in Table 20-10 of the the 1991 edition of “Commercial Chicken Production Manual,” which puts them in the right ballpark. They’re only 6 weeks old right now, and the few we butchered dressed out at 2 lbs. This is too small, of course, but we expect 3.5 lbs. at 8 weeks and 5.75 lbs. at 12 weeks.

This is way faster than standard-breed broilers, which dress out at 2 lbs. at 8 weeks and 3 lbs. at 12 weeks — if you’re lucky. I think it’s also faster growth than the Freedom Rangers provided, though I’d have to dig up Karen’s records to be sure.

So far, so good. It’s a little early to tell at 6 weeks just how they’ll turn out, but I have a good feeling about these broilers. I recommend Privett Hatchery. They’re very good.

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Robert Plamondon
Robert Plamondon has written three books, received over 30 U.S. patents, founded several businesses, and is an expert on free-range chickens. His publishing company, Norton Creek Press, is a treasure trove of the best poultry books of the last 100 years.

Author: Robert Plamondon

Robert Plamondon has written three books, received over 30 U.S. patents, founded several businesses, and is an expert on free-range chickens. His publishing company, Norton Creek Press, is a treasure trove of the best poultry books of the last 100 years.

2 thoughts on “Privett “Slow Cornish” Broilers — So Far, So Good”

  1. I have about 50 broilers and layers that are about 10 days away from going out to free range pasture—they are now in my brooder house and I am wondering how is the best way to catch them when they are going out. I know that you can go catch them at night but that is a problem for me with my glaucoma as I have limited night vision. A friend told me that the big houses use a red light at night when they catch them—I have a miners cap/light so I put a piece of red foil over the light and tried it last night but the red light didnt work as they ran around when they saw the light. Any ideas will be greatly appreciated.

  2. I have about 50 broilers and layers that are about 10 days away from going out to free range pasture—they are now in my brooder house and I am wondering how is the best way to catch them when they are going out.

    The best way might be to drive them into the transport container without catching them at all. A big dog crate might do it. Any kind of crate with a door on the end. Put the crate in the doorway or a corner of the pen, using some plywood or something to prevent the birds from going past it, and shoo the birds slowly into the crate. If you remove their feeder a couple of hours before this and then put some feed into the crate, they might go in under their own power.

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