4-h broiler project

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by pinkwindsong, Sep 12, 2011.

  1. pinkwindsong

    pinkwindsong Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 18, 2011
    Laurens SC
    Hi everyone,
    we have 20, now week old broiler chicks for the 4- h broiler project. they quickly grew out of my little brooder box and are now in a large dog cage that we have reinforced with chicken wire to keep them in and the adult chickens out ... I have an open coop, being the sides are covered 2/3 down,on 3 sides. then open at the bottom.. ( where they are) I have been keeping a light on them every night. they are really gaining weight and growing soooo fast, wow. fast.. they are however.. dirty little birds. and they have many bald spots some on tummies, or bottoms, back under wings ,,, should i put neo-sporen on them or something? it doesn't seam to bother any of them but it bothers me..

    i know soon I will have to split them up and put them in two cages them on from there.. many times before oct 20 th when we take them in for processing..

    I have noticed that they are not like reg chicks.. they don't scratch.. they will dust bath a little.. other wise they lay down with their heads in the feed and eat laying down.. totally lazy guess that's why the grow so fast.. they just kind of take turns laying and eating then play a little ( not nearly like my reg chicks) then they take a nap and start eating again. I figure this is why the feather loss or pink skin they are just not active..

  2. 4H Amy

    4H Amy Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 8, 2011
    We have a batch of 40 that are 2 weeks old. This has been our 1st year with broilers and we have had 5 different batches of them, starting in spring and then throughout the summer. I believe that all of the batches have had their own group personality. Although for the most part, most of them do lie around more than another breed of chicken. I have had batches of broilers that have had "bed sores" on their chests when we process them. I am not sure what the proper term for that is. We have also had active broilers, that is for a broiler.
    Just think of it this way, they are doing what they are bred to do, sit around, eat, gain weight. They are not burning any calories so your food to weight ratio should be great.
    So your chickens sound normal to me, so you should have a nice freezer full in about 7 or so weeks.
    Good luck.
  3. booker81

    booker81 Redneck Tech Girl

    Apr 18, 2010
    Totally normal.

    To discourage to total laziness of laying down and eating, I like to raise the feeder up so they have to at least STAND to get their food. I also keep the water and food on far sides of the pen so they have to walk from one to the other.

    The lack of feathers is normal. They're growing VERY fast, and they will inhibit feather growth in areas where it's constantly under pressure - like on their bellies from laying down constantly.
  4. pinkwindsong

    pinkwindsong Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 18, 2011
    Laurens SC
    I feel so much better now... I was getting a bit turned off of the project if I was causing harm to them.. ( I know their final purpose of course but I figure they should have it as good as possible while their here.) on another thread I am learning about broiler feed. didn't know they had special feed. I will be getting that, but they are also talking about limiting their feed too so they don't have heart attacks have ya'll had these problems as well..

    I have them with food at one end water at the other and have it 24 hrs a day for them. then i have a light on at night , they are in an open run so they need the added heat ... all of a sudden its decided to be fall here in the south.. ahhhh from 99 to 68 in one week... crazy.. anyway.. i hate to take it away from them?

    really appreciating the advice..

  5. DelcoChix

    DelcoChix Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 12, 2009
    Central Ohio
    Sounds like you are right on track--they grow tremendously fast and their lives pretty much focus on eating and drinking. I believe that since hybrid Cornish x's are specifically bred to turn feed into meat, their feathers come in sparsely on their lower parts, and their weight keeps them on the ground so feather growth won't be the usual you are probably used to. I've also read that the protein needed for feather growth is channeled into meat growth which will reduce the overall feathering...And Booker 81 is right on--keep the food and water at opposite ends of your pen and up at about chest height so they have to stretch up a little and work for their food. Given the choice they would ove to have feed and water at beaks length and never move at all! Also, be prepared for the possibility of sniffling/wheezing as their lungs don't always properly develop. This is my dd's second year raising the 4-H broilers and we are in the final week--the top three go to the fair Friday night (we've raised 15), the rest go to the processor Tuesday and my freezer will be full. Not sure of you can see my facebook page (dawn nesbitt wright) but I've been keeping an album, taking pics each Wed.night since their arrival--incredible growth. We are almost at the 7 week mark, weighed them Sunday night, weighed between 7.5 and 9.4 lbs...from those cute little yellow fuzzballs.
    Good luck!
  6. 4-H chicken mom

    4-H chicken mom Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 3, 2007
    Oberlin, OH
    Congrats on the 4-H project. We did 4-H for 16 yrs. If you want to keep them cleaner, use shavings for their bedding. If this is a project you will be doing each year, I recommend building them their own coop to be raised in. A large dog cage should only house maybe four. The larger the coop, the cleaner the birds will stay. Good luck, they are well worth it. [​IMG]
  7. pinkwindsong

    pinkwindsong Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 18, 2011
    Laurens SC
    Dawn wow that heavy !! I hope I can get ours up there too. We are expecting rain this weekend so Ill spend the day refitting and chick proofing my coop cages then I figure in a week they will be ready to go outside to the chicken runs and split them 10/9 ( lost one on day 2 to wry neck) I have them on pine shavings now and I am glad for the heads up on the sneezing and sniffles that would have been a question I would have asked here.

    I really appreciate all the help and advice.. chickens are deffenatly a learning experience for all.. not just the kids for the 4-h project.


BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by