It's an early spring here in South Carolina and my order of Cornish X chicks just arrived today from Hoovers Hatchery. Last year I Posted a few times throughout my project and I thought I would do it again. I've more than doubled my flock this year and I wanted to start this thread to help anyone else who is raising meat birds. I'll do my best to take this thread from arrival of the chicks to the freezer.
I'm located in Simpsonville, Sc. Last year we created a large enclosure with 2x4 welded wire fencing and attached a 4x8x4 brooder. We raised 50 straight run chicks. 35 made it to the freezer after a couple of redtailed hawks found our flock. The cokerells were so much bigger than the hens at butchering time that we decided to raise all males this year.
This year we also covered the pen in a 1x1 netting 50'x50' which I found on amazon for $40.
We ordered 125 Cornish Cross Males from Hoovers Hatchery. Hoovers prices were outstanding last year but the have changed their price structure a bit which made the birds a little more expensive at 1.70 each. My order arrived last Friday and I knew instantly that I was in trouble. The postal service had neglected the birds and they were chilled. When I opened the box all but 15 we dead and another 5 died that evening. I was left with 10 birds.
I called Hoovers and they agreed to replace all of the birds from the next hatching at no cost and apologized for the trouble. Today the box arrived crushed but still intact enough to contain the birds. Every birds was energetic and bouncing off the walls. No losses in shipping although a couple appeared a bit weak. They usually ship extras so I actually have no clue how many birds i have right now. Counting wasn't possible.
I dipped each chick's beak in the water which to which I add a little rooster booster to help them get a good start out of the gate. I also feed 1 full bag of medicated feed before switching over to unmedicated feed
I withheld food for a couple hours but when I introduced it the chicks went right to feeding. I find that I loose a couple of birds in the first day or two on my last shipments so I'll post back later to update on any losses.