Breasting out those with leg problems

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Michigan2, Oct 16, 2012.

  1. Michigan2

    Michigan2 New Egg

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    Aug 2, 2010
    I have a couple more Cornish crosses with some severe leg problems that need to be culled. Picking them up and there is very little leg meat on them. Does anyone just breast out the culls with leg problems? I send my birds out each year for processing so I don't have the plucking equipment on hand right now.

    On a side note - Has anyone noticed a correlation between calcium in feed with the amount of leg problems that arise? This is my 5th year raising Cornish crosses and my two best batches with no leg problems were when I purchased grain from a mill that put a calcium supplement in all of their feed so it could be used for layers as well? Just wondering if anyone noticed a connection there.
     
  2. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

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    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    They are growing a lot of bone, so yes, they need a lot of calcium. That bone doesn't come out of thin air.

    I give my Cornish Cross feed that contains calcium, plus oyster shell and they also get niacin supplement in their water. I think you will find that helps prevent leg problems.

    In order to make bone, they need the calcium, some phosphorus, and vitamin D. The vitamin D comes from sunshine. So if your birds don't get into the sun, they need vitamin D in their feed.

    My Cornish Cross chicks have big thick thighs, even when they are small. You can breast out, but I suspect you will be leaving lots of meat. When mine weighed 3 pounds (when the crows killed some of them) they were already bigger than the little game hens sold in the market and had thick breasts and stout thighs.

    You can skin instead of plucking. I've hand plucked Cornish Cross before and it is not much of a job. They don't have a lot of feathers and feathers come out easily. It might be a problem if they are covered in pin feathers. With a lot of pin feathers, it would be easier to skin.
     
  3. Michigan2

    Michigan2 New Egg

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    Aug 2, 2010
    Thanks for your reply. Good idea, I'll try skinning the next one and see how that goes. We eat a lot of skinless anyway for dishes like stir fry.

    I have always fed a mine a broiler feed (24%-20%) and I think it all typically contains come calcium. I have also always used a vitamin pack in their water. However, the mill that I used last year said they use a layer ration (high calcium) with the extra protein for broilers and this seemed to work very well for me last year. It's just a hypothesis of mine that high levels of calcium in their feed may nearly eliminate leg problems with this breed. I'll go back to this feed again next year and see what happens.
     

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