1st time CX, feeling defeated at harvest...

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Amandakae, Jul 7, 2016.

  1. Amandakae

    Amandakae In the Brooder

    Feb 12, 2015
    I dont blame anyone but myself for my rookie mistakes, please don't kick me while I am down by posting nasty replies.

    I started in the spring with 50 Cornish Cross, after many many hours of research and post reading from this forum, feeling really good about Raising our own meat chickens. They were free range, I fermented their feed (all organic $$$) and I only gave them measured amounts so that they would stay active... BUT in my fear of feeding them too much I think I under fed them, which stunted their growth. I realized what had happen too late (5 wks old) so now no matter how much I feed them they don't seem to gain. I had grand ivisions of 10 pound birds... now at 12 weeks old they are measuring in at 3 pounds LIVE weight...
    Which might not to SO bad if I still had 50 of them, but I don't...we ended up getting coccidiosis and lost 20 birds, then the 'coons showed up and before we knew it had lost 9 birds in 3 days!!! So now down to 21 birds. When I think about how much money we have spent on feed, I am very discouraged. Do you all agree that it's time to just cut our losses and harvest them? We are spending $45 a week in feed...
  2. Blingchix6

    Blingchix6 Chirping

    Apr 15, 2015
    Cleveland Ohio
    Stop feeding them all organic food. What's the worst that could happen?? My chickens get everything under the sun to eat. When they hear the door opening, they run for it just in case I am throwing something good. Watermelon, kale,cantaloupe,zucchini,tomatoes,slices of bread,strawberries,kiwis,corn,collard greens,apples,and cucumbers. They eat EVERYTHING but raspberries. They don't like them. Yesterday my 2 Cream Legbars jumped up on the table and drank my coffee!! Are they getting out in the yard and eating grass and bugs? The feed bill should go way down in the summer because they have so much other stuff to eat. I hope this helps. Best of luck with your flock.
    ps... I would never be mean and nasty about your flock handling methods. I am sure you beat yourself up pretty good about losing those chickens.
  3. jk47

    jk47 Songster

    Apr 17, 2013
    Not sure if it helps this how I feed my meats
    1st 2 weeks I free feed a 24% feed
    Then at 3 and 4 weeks I start feeding them twice a day at 21% feed
    Them 5-6 weeks I feed a 18% feed once a day
    In the afternoon
    The last 2 days before butcher day I free choice cracked corn
  4. 123RedBeard

    123RedBeard Songster

    Oct 20, 2014
    Are you sure they are really a meat breed?

    Maybe you got something else by mistake ...
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2016
  5. pauleberly

    pauleberly Chirping

    Mar 21, 2016
    East TN
    If he switched his food to a higher protein food, would it help them put on some weight?
  6. scottygvsu

    scottygvsu In the Brooder

    May 12, 2016
    Northern Michigan
    It's your first try and as my boss says, the first time is nobody's fault. That said, those birds are awful light for CX's on even the strictest diet. I wouldn't be surprised if you don't even have CX's. I keep mine on a strict diet because I want 5lb dressed birds at 8 weeks, something's amiss if they weigh 3lbs at 12 weeks. Can you post a photo of them?
  7. CluckerCottage

    CluckerCottage Songster

    They are CX's as I communicated with the OP before this post. She posted pictures at that time.
    I just don't know what to say about their low weights at this age.
    My meaties were just monsters when we butchered on June 10th.
    We fed 12 on 12 off, they were on pasture and stayed dry.
    OP, I would never say anything mean to you. This is just heartbreaking news.
  8. Morrigan

    Morrigan Crowing

    Apr 9, 2014
    What hatchery did you buy from? I wonder if something was wrong with the genetics in the particular run you got. It seems very odd that they are this slow to gain weight.

    I limit my food to my CX as well, but by 12 weeks I had birds that dressed out at between 5 and 10 lbs. My feeding regime is:

    First 10 days -- all they want (fermented chick food) After that, I gave them fermented flock raiser twice a day -- all they could eat within 15 minutes -- basically I just watched to make sure everyone had got their fill and wandered away from the food trough. I supplemented that with some sprouted wheat and old garden produce I'd toss over around mid-day. Plus anything they could forage for themselves in the yard.

    The only other thing I can think of was that maybe the organic feed was really low in protein. They should be getting between 18 and 22 percent.

    Sorry about how this went for you.
  9. CluckerCottage

    CluckerCottage Songster

    With all due respect, the OP has the right to feed organic food and there's nothing wrong with it.
    Perhaps she was marketing them as such-- people really want pasture-raised organic poultry and will pay more $$ for it.
  10. Amandakae

    Amandakae In the Brooder

    Feb 12, 2015
    Thank you all for your encouraging words :) I ended up locking them in our large coop to keep them from the raccoons until we can harvest them. They seem happy enough. I am feeding them more since they cannot free range, as well as a good bit of scratch to give them something to do... and I may be imaging it, but they seem to have put on more weight already! Maybe from the lack of exercise?
    Morrigan: good point about the protein. I have been feeding them a layer crumble, not sure about the protien, I think 17%? But I should look into that for sure.
    I do feed them kitchen scraps. Question on that though, do you cut your meat into small chunks before giving it to them, or just not worry about it?

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