Cornish Cross vs. Freedom Ranger: Which is the better bird?

written by


posted on

November 6, 2022

There is much debate in the farming and foodie community as to which breed of chicken produces the best meat.

Some prefer hens that grow big and fast (like the Cornish Cross), while others prefer hens that are a more natural size, and have a nuanced and robust flavor (like our Freedom Rangers.)

The chicken most commonly found in food stores, and even from other farms, is usually from a breed of chicken that has been bred to grow rapidly and produce large breast meat.

The obvious benefit of this type of bird is that it produces more meat in less time…which equals less feed and better profit margins for farmers. 

Consumers are accustomed to buying big chicken like this. 

In fact, farmers raising “natural” sized chicken often get feedback that their chicken breast is much smaller than other chicken breasts consumers are used to eating.

Customers also tend to feel like they are getting ripped off, because not only is the natural chicken breast smaller, but it’s also more expensive than the larger chicken breast they find in stores.

So, regenerative farmers like us are faced with this dilemma…How can we compete with the chicken sold in stores that are bigger and more affordable?

Well, number one, we absolutely do not want customers to feel like they are getting ripped off. 

We believe that the most important thing to do is to educate consumers, so that they can make the best food choices for themselves.

At Wolf Oak Farm we choose to raise Freedom Ranger Chickens from a local hatchery near us in Pennsylvania. 

This breed of bird is active and robust! They are suitable for free-ranging, foraging, and living a natural pasture raised lifestyle. 

Our Freedom Ranger hens are spunky, and like to spend their day scratching and dust-bathing in the sunshine on our beautiful wide open pastures.

But what really sets them apart is that these birds are master foragers

We love our Freedom Ranger hens for many reasons, but here is a quick side by side comparison that we feel proves why they are simply the better bird for our regenerative farming practices.

Freedom Ranger chickens produce tender, succulent meat with high levels of omega 3 fats, and low levels of saturated fat.

When cooking Freedom Ranger chicken, it’s important to remember that they are older than supermarket birds. That means they have had much more exercise while out foraging on pasture. 

This increased activity produces more flavorful chicken meat, but also requires more cooking time to allow the muscle tissue to break down into tender succulent meat.

Quick tips for cooking Freedom Ranger Chicken:

  1. Score the skin— This separates the skin from the meat in several places and allows the flavors to penetrate below the skin. When the skin is lightly scored, it releases fat below the surface and results in that perfectly crispy skin everyone loves.
  2. Use a high-quality fat—Coat your bird in ghee or butter to make it crisp when sautéing, roasting, or grilling.
  3. Cook it low and slow— Because Freedom Rangers are known for their meaty texture, cooking it low and slow will ensure the chicken does not dry out.

When it comes to chicken we feel that bigger is not always better.

At Wolf Oak Farm our number one priority is to farm in a way that is healthy for the animals, the people, and the planet.

We choose to raise Freedom Ranger chicken because we feel this breed aligns with our regenerative farming practices. 

Plain and simple, Freedom Rangers win the title of best bird in our book!


P.S. Did you know? Many processors spray or soak the chicken in a chemical brine to "prevent the spread of pathogens." But not us! At Wolf Oak farm we use a local processor who does small batch processing. With small batches there is no need for the chemicals. Instead our chicken is simply soaked in ice water to keep everything fresh and cool.

More from the blog

The Truth About Cow Farts and Climate Change: Why Grassfed Cows are Different

Cows have long been blamed for their contribution to climate change, with many attributing this to their flatulence (AKA farts.) However, the reality is that cow farts are just one aspect of a much larger issue: methane emissions. In fact, according to the EPA, methane accounts for approximately 10% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. So where do cows fit into this equation?

What Do mRNA Vaccines Mean for Our Meat and Dairy Supply?

As the use of mRNA vaccines in livestock, unfortunately, becomes closer and closer to reality, many consumers and experts have expressed concerns about their safety. The potential negative impacts range from an unforeseen reaction to food products produced with mRNA vaccines - to disruption of ecosystems and biodiversity caused by its widespread usage. The debate surrounding the implications of using mRNA vaccines is ongoing, but it's clear that this technology raises important questions about resources, ethics, health, and sustainability. But how do we make sure these issues are addressed?

Q: What do you get when you combine Radical Honesty and FOOD? A: A Recipe for Change!

This year, we're taking our honesty to a whole new level - Radical Honesty...because it's time to stir up some much-needed change!    From now on, we will cultivate meaningful connections, foster trust, and have honest conversations - no matter how difficult.   We are done with the cutesy posts of mushrooms, logs, and grass swaying in the wind.   It's time to be open and honest; we're not here to put on a show, we'd rather speak our truth.   Like it or not, there is an important message that needs to be heard - and we're ready to put it all out there.   Let’s start by getting real with ourselves: Food insecurity is real and we need to break the taboo of talking about FOOD.