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Cornish Cross in the Heat

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Gosh I lost 8 Cornish Crosses today in the heat. It got up to 99 in my hood which I guess is about over the top for 6 week old birds. They were doing good even yesterday when it got up to 95 but today was a bit much I guess. I've been keeping plenty of water available and putting ice in their founts. We butchered as many as we could late this afternoon before dark - picked out the heaviest that looked like they were struggling a bit. Tomorrow it's supposed to get up to 100 so it'll be a challenge too. If we can make it through tomorrow it's supposed to drop back down to 95 Saturday and 92 Sunday so we should be ok. I was going to butcher some this Sunday and the remainder the following Saturday but now I think we'll knock 'em all out this Sunday. Don't want to take the chance. Well, I learned a lot from this first flock. Probably the most important thing is to time my birds above about 4 weeks for the part of the year when it doesn't get above 95 (late fall/winter/early spring). One thing I'll say though, as difficult as they are to raise the end result looks to be some very high quality parts. Much better than anything I ever got from the store. The breasts are truly massive. I'm lookin' forward to next Fall when we start the next flock.

post #2 of 8
Eek! Thanks for the information. I have raised a few CX but it was early fall into winter.
I have some Rainbow Dixies and Red Rangers, so far so good but it has only got into the 80s here.
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by OrganicFarmWife View Post

Eek! Thanks for the information. I have raised a few CX but it was early fall into winter.
I have some Rainbow Dixies and Red Rangers, so far so good but it has only got into the 80s here.

I've never raised Red Rangers, in fact this is my first batch of broilers, but I read that Red Rangers are a little more hardy than the Cornish X's. Are you close to processing or are they still pretty young? I read they take a minimum I think of 12 weeks.

 

I went home to check mine a few minutes ago and they seem to be doing relatively okay. The thermometer is at 96 and still climbing though so we ain't out of the woods yet. Hopefully they'll make it since they survived yesterday and it's less crowded in the pens now. The survivors are just slightly smaller than the largest birds that didn't make it yesterday so possibly that'll give them an edge. 

post #4 of 8
They are now 8weeks and I have another batch at 4weeks. The 8weeks are almost 2 lbs, so little but if it came to it I could process. Hopefully I get to my 12 to 14 weeks.
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by OrganicFarmWife View Post

They are now 8weeks and I have another batch at 4weeks. The 8weeks are almost 2 lbs, so little but if it came to it I could process. Hopefully I get to my 12 to 14 weeks.

Well, on the bright side I think the lower weight helps them contend with the heat when it comes, so yours should be okay for a while. I wouldn't start worrying until they get up to around 5 lbs and the temps get up to 95+. All mine that bit it yesterday were the heftiest chunksters I had out of the whole flock.

post #6 of 8
Good to know! I do not know how big these get but I was going to keep my target weight at 4, so that should work.
post #7 of 8

Do you have shade for these chickens, like a tarp? Years back I lost some when it was in the 90's I had a chicken tractor with a metal roof (no tarp) and the tractor was over a gravel area with little grass - they started dropping like flies but I quick put a fan underneath (as I remember), and then started butchering as it was time anyway. Now, I have a tarp that is over my tractor, shading it, and it stays nice and cool. And I even have shade and I keep it over some grass. But we are N. WI not Texas, so heat is generally not a big issue, but it still can kill even up here at times, especially if the water runs out.

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post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelZ13 View Post
 

Do you have shade for these chickens, like a tarp? Years back I lost some when it was in the 90's I had a chicken tractor with a metal roof (no tarp) and the tractor was over a gravel area with little grass - they started dropping like flies but I quick put a fan underneath (as I remember), and then started butchering as it was time anyway. Now, I have a tarp that is over my tractor, shading it, and it stays nice and cool. And I even have shade and I keep it over some grass. But we are N. WI not Texas, so heat is generally not a big issue, but it still can kill even up here at times, especially if the water runs out.

I do. I have them in two pens elevated about 3 1/2' off the ground. Both pens have redneck-expedient plywood roofs and the pens are about 3' tall. They surrounded with hardware cloth so ventilation is a non-issue. 

 

Fortunately I didn't lose any today (knock-knock). It got up to 101 but I stopped home for lunch and refilled their water founts with ice water, and then again a few hours later when I got home. We had a wee bit of a breeze today so I'm thinking that might've helped too. Also I didn't feed them when I got home like I usually do; I just fed them a few minutes ago now that the sun's down and it dropped down to 94. Tomorrow it's supposed to be a high of 95 and Sunday (butcher day) it's only supposed to be 90 but they won't be around that long. So one more moderately tough day and it'll be smooth sailing from there.

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