I am new to this. In fact I've not ever posted in a forum before, so please be gentle.
I am a full time farmer, all organic and sustainable, and we raise/sell chicken. I currently use Cornish Cross monsters from a hatchery, BUT, they seem to be getting weaker. Meaning, the birds are not as vigorous as when I began raising birds 5 years ago.
Therefore, I THINK, very operative word there, think I would like to begin my own breeding program
(... because I just don't have enough on my plate now, no no, lets add more!)
A few questions:
First; does anyone have any experience with this?
Second; This is the real question I have, does the hen or the cock have the most influence on the phenotype, obviously referring to size and food conversion?
Third; Does anyone have ideas of good crosses to go with the Cornish (Godzilla's) trying to maintain as much of the Cornish phenotype, but add some vigor.
I brood my birds indoors, then they go on pasture for finish. I have the most die off in brood stage. Once they're outside on pasture, I have very limited loss. But dad-gum, my losses in brood are as high as 25% or even a bit more and I'm weary of the losses.
If anyone can help, I'll be obliged. If the answer is to try and do a better job in brood, then so be it.