1st Time with Jumbo Cornish X's... Help needed

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by WagarFamilyFarm, Oct 5, 2009.

  1. WagarFamilyFarm

    WagarFamilyFarm Out Of The Brooder

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    Okay group,

    This year was the first year we have done meat birds... the first set of 25 were white rocks and all I can say is that after 12 weeks, they still looked like rubber chickens (these things were skinny) so now we're onto trying out some jumbo Cornish x's.. We really didn't want to go this route but we want to slaughter again before Thanks Giving so here we are.

    We received these chicks this past Friday (28 in the box), two arrived DOA, and then we lost another 5 within the first 24 hours... Over the past 2 years we've done around 150 birds and never lost one of them, so this was a huge surprise and we attempted to treat these guys the same as the others but apparently they are not as strong as the others (white rocks and Black Stars).

    My question(s) are these:

    1. At what age can they go out side 24/7 in their meat bird coop (Joe Salatin Type coop)? Nightly temps are around 50 degrees

    2. Based upon other topics here on the forum it sounds like most of you feed 24/7 for 2 weeks and then only during the day from that time on, is this a consensus on the forum?

    3. At how many weeks are they ready to slaughter.. We were hoping for 6 weeks but didn't know if that was too soon? (I'd bet they would be bigger than our 12 week old white rocks at only 6 weeks)

    4. Do I need to provide any source of heat during the night in their coop?

    5. Anything else I should know about these weak birds? Other than they are quite lazy compared to every other bird we've ever had?

    Thanks in advance

    Wagar Family Farm
     
  2. bigredfeather

    bigredfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 1, 2008
    Yorkshire, Ohio
    1. At what age can they go out side 24/7 in their meat bird coop (Joe Salatin Type coop)? Nightly temps are around 50 degrees

    With temps like that, I keep heat on them 24/7 until they are two weeks old. After that, it depends on how fast they feather out. I'm a firm believer that they will feather out faster if the temps are cooler. It always seems my Fall batch feathers out quicker than the Spring batch, as the temps are lower in the Fall.

    2. Based upon other topics here on the forum it sounds like most of you feed 24/7 for 2 weeks and then only during the day from that time on, is this a consensus on the forum?

    That's what I do, and have had great luck. Last batch I only lost one bird using this method.

    3. At how many weeks are they ready to slaughter.. We were hoping for 6 weeks but didn't know if that was too soon? (I'd bet they would be bigger than our 12 week old white rocks at only 6 weeks)

    I like to butcher mine at 8 weeks. My birds will dress between 4 and 6 pounds at this time spand. My average is about 4.5 pounds. That is the size that works best for our needs. If you want smaller birds, 6 weeks will produce a 3-4 pound dressed bird. You will lose roughly 1/3 of the weight when dressing, so you can weigh live birds and subtract 1/3 of the weight to figure your dressed weight. Some people let them go up to 12 weeks. You can expect up to a 10-12 pound dressed bird at that age. The % of protein may dictate some of these weights. I feed a 23% protein feed. If you feed a lower %, your birds may not get to this size in the same amount of time.

    4. Do I need to provide any source of heat during the night in their coop?

    Only if it gets colder. At dark, if they are settling in for the night without making a pile, they don't need heat. If I see them making a pile where it looks like they are two layers of birds, I turn on the heat. If they line up side by side without fussing, I know they are warm enough.


    5. Anything else I should know about these weak birds? Other than they are quite lazy compared to every other bird we've ever had?

    I like to hang my feeders at the height of their backs. This forces them to stand while they eat. If you put the feeder right on the ground, they will lay down in front of the feeder and gorge themselves. I also keep the waterer at the opposite end of the tractor. This forces them to get a little excercise, as they have to walk the maximum possible distance from the feeder to get a drink.

    Just remember these birds have a short life span. They may need a little more finness than other breeds, but it's only for 6-12 weeks depending on the size bird you want. Trust me, it is well worth the time and effort. In a short time, you can produce a large quanitity of quality meat.

    Goodluck!​
     
  3. MacPoultry

    MacPoultry Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 13, 2009
    middle TN
    Wagar Family I live south of Nashville and my neighbors have been raising Cornish X. Have been a wealth of information. http://rollinghillsfarm.com/. Good people and love visitors. Give them a call.
     
  4. jaku

    jaku Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:A lot of these are personal choices, but here's my take. First of all, you should expect a couple of losses- they are harder to raise than layers, no doubt about it. But you already have more losses than one would expect from a batch of 25. I'd say 2-3 should die early from that batch throughout the course of their 8 week lives. Call your hatchery. Many people don't bother, but a lot of hatcheries will credit your account for the birds you lost.

    They go outside at three weeks.

    I agree with the feed schedule.

    You'll get fryers at six weeks. At 8 weeks they will be huge (almost two big to fry.) Some people go out to 12 weeks. I butcher at 8 weeks, but you'll be fine at six also- just look at your birds and see if you think they're big enough.

    I heat my tractors whenever it's chilly at night. Of course, I live in Michigan, so we may have different definitions of "chilly." I figure that they may not NEED it, but it can't hurt them, and might help reduce stress.

    They are great birds, however, expect a couple more losses. Almost all of my losses have been in the last three weeks for some reason. Don't give up- dispite what you've heard, they don't die at the drop of a hat, they aren't THAT tough to raise, and the meat you get is worth it! It is a learning process, and as you raise more of them and learn all of their little quirks, you'll have fewer die, even though it may not seem like you're doing anything different.
     
  5. Egg_newton

    Egg_newton Chillin' With My Peeps

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    East Central Indiana
    We originally got 26 birds. We had 4 DOA and lost 2 more within the first 10 hours. After that everyone else was fine. We ordered broiler booster from McMurray which I think helped. It is a vitamin supplement. Also, we kept the food and water high enough to where they had to stand to eat and drink. We also kept them on opposite ends of the encloser so they had to move around more. We are at 8 weeks now and have butchered 4 so far.
     
  6. simplyscrambled

    simplyscrambled Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 29, 2009
    Egg-newton, these are great ideas! I'm also on my 'first' Cornish X - good gawd, they're goliaths! Just two weeks, and meaty as can be! Friends and I got a shipment of 30, and none DOA, but I chose Belt, which isn't far from here, only 2-3 hours away. I need to finish the run this weekend. They're getting smelly in the house...
     
  7. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

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    Loxahatchee, Florida
    Quote:I haven't bothered butchering standard-breed roos before 16 weeks, usually it's 18-22 weeks. By then they are between 3-4 pounds dressed, with an almost exact amount of white & dark meat. Sometimes I'll keep them confined to a tractor, other times I'll raise them free-ranging all day so they'll find a lot of their own feed. They're always tasty & tender the way I prepare them. I slow-simmer the meat off their bones to use in soups, stews & chilis so it goes farther.

    I would like to order some meat birds as soon as I can afford them, the free-range broiler breeds or the Cornish Xs. Until then I am enjoying the standard breed roos I get for no cost except feed, the mixed-breed ones hatched at home and the pure-bred packing peanuts other folks give to me.

    But give them more time to grow or the effort isn't worth the amount of meat harvested.
     
  8. jaku

    jaku Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:You have 30 two week old Cornish X's in your house? That must be awful. My wife would literally set me on fire if I tried that.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2009
  9. Countrywife

    Countrywife Corrupted by a Redneck

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    Aug 20, 2009
    Carolina
    Ya'll are reading my mind aren't you? Picked mine up from the post office this mornig. Have them in the brooder box, was going to wait until they were 2 weeks old, but if room permits I will wait three, then I was going to move them to an enclosed stall in the barn. It has a door, with the top open, and three solid walls. Used to have the horse years ago. This sound ok to you meat peoples? I found 20% protien feed last night at TSC, do I start that now or use the baby chick feed for a little while?

    Thanks!
     
  10. jaku

    jaku Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Start them on the broiler feed from day one. Don't even bother with chick starter. How many do you have, and how big is your brooder? Also, depending on how many you have, you should consider buying your feed in bulk from the mill. They grind it themselves, so you can actually see the pieces of food, not just odd little grey pellets. It will also save you about 50% in your food bill over shopping at TSC.
     

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