Are my meat-birds meat birds?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by jenifry, Oct 30, 2013.

  1. jenifry

    jenifry Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 26, 2012
    South Dakota
    I don't want to sound stupid, but I bought 45 Cornish-Cross on sale at the local feed store. I raised them until 5 weeks in a brooder and then let them free range with my hens. I feed them corn, oats, and meatbird feed, as well as every kitchen scrap I come across. They are seeming to be a great backyard chicken. Everyone was telling me to butcher them before 12 weeks to assure that they don't start dying on me. However, we butchered the first 10 at 12 weeks and they were still very small and thin. We butchered the second set at 16 weeks and still didn't have anything like what you buy in the store. The last 15 are nearing 20 weeks, and are still are comparable in size to my RIR hens. They just don't seem like the "voracious eating and pooping machines" that everyone told me they would be. They have never roosted, but other than that seem to be no different than my laying hens. Did I get duped at the feed store, or am I preventing them from fattening up somehow by letting them free-range and not feeding them meatbird feed exclusively? I do leave food out 24/7, they never seem to empty feeders now that we are down to 15.
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2013
  2. loveourbirds

    loveourbirds Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 27, 2013
    waverly ohio
    do you have any pictures? even with the best methods sometimes breeds do get mixed up, it may be your case.
  3. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    They sure don't sound like Cornish Cross. I raised one Cornish Cross a few years ago, in a brooder full of layer chicks. He was treated the same as them, including being given access to the whole backyard once they were big enough to be out of the brooder. He was so big he couldn't keep up with them very well and I used to feel sorry for him as the other chicks would run over to one side to check something out and he'd trudge behind them and just as he caught up, they'd be off again and he'd have to start off trudging once more. He dropped dead at 10 weeks, presumably from a heart attack. He wasn't fed meat bird feed, just the chick starter and the grower feed, like the others. And he had plenty of exercise so I thought he would be fit enough to live a little longer. Yet even with that regime, he grew large and unable to survive past 10 weeks of age.
  4. osbmail

    osbmail Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 10, 2013
    Don't sound like Cornish cross .They should be about 8 to 12 lbs at this point
  5. jenifry

    jenifry Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 26, 2012
    South Dakota
    I'm just wondering if I have to kill them off before risking them dying. They seem healthy, aren't too fat and they certainly don't waddle around. They are the first to the feeder for sure, but they don't seem to lay around and get fat like they are supposed to. I have no room left in my freezer, so I want to hang on to them for another two weeks or so and free up space. That and I want ROASTERS... not fryers!! I will attempt to get a couple to stand still for a picture. I butchered all the roosters, as I didn't want the suckers to start crowing and rile up my neighbors, who have recently been forced to accept ONE rooster. :)
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2013
  6. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    I bought Cornish X chicks at TSC last year. They didn't grow quickly either. Turns out they were white rocks. This could be the same problem you are having. [​IMG]

    If that is the case, you are raising a very good dual purpose breed. Eat the roosters and the hens will lay great, hot weather or cold weather.
  7. jenifry

    jenifry Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 26, 2012
    South Dakota
    My best friend offered up the same idea. She said White Rocks are a good breed. My only problem with that is I already get about 4 dozen more eggs a week than my family can eat.
  8. jenifry

    jenifry Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 26, 2012
    South Dakota
    Best pictures I could get. They are 18 weeks yesterday, I looked it up just to be sure.
  9. cypressdrake

    cypressdrake Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 4, 2012
    Thibodaux, Louisiana.
    I would bring them birds to that feed store and ask what's up. My feed and seed stands behind what they sell.

    sounds like that feed store either sold you the wrong birds, or some hatchery stuck them with the wrong birds. or they're in poor health or lack nutrition.

    If you ruled out the last two, then for what ever reason, you don't have meat birds.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2013
  10. RoostersCrow HensDeliver!

    RoostersCrow HensDeliver! Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 11, 2011
    SE Michigan
    Those look like white Rocks to me. They don't have the thick legs or game type face of the cornishx.

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