Broiler healthy husbandry questions


12 Years
May 29, 2007
Chicken Country, U S A
Hi, so this will be my first time raising some chickens for eating.
I am getting 6 cornishX chicks tomoro.

My first question is in regards to cocci.
I plan on keeping the chicks in an enclosed brooder, good-quality, heated, insulated the whole 9 yards.
The brooder will be either outside or in the garage(depending on smell factor), both places have the same temps.
The brooder has a wire bottom with a metal tray.
Most of the poop will be collected below and outside the brooder, minimizing contact with chicks.
The temps outside are still quite chilly at night and warm-ish in the day.
The brooder is a coop with an attachable, optional run.

Does that description sound like there is major cause for concern over cocci?
Should I not let them out onto the ground?
Should I feed medicated chick feed or go straight to a higher protein diet like game bird?
Is there a broiler-specific bag of feed?
These chickens will only be around for several weeks . . .

My other concern is the various problems associated with raising the broilers . . .
You look at youtube and of course it shows the worst of the worst.
If I get 6 healthy chicks, and care for them as I would ANY living creature in my care, how much of a concern are things like leg-problems and such.
These chickens will only be around for several weeks, and get the same care I give my laying chicks.
I would rather not have to deal with a "special needs" chicken if I dont have to.

I guess I could go with the regular cornish birds, but I really want to just get it done and over with as soon as possible.


10 Years
11 Years
Jan 24, 2009
Since you're keeping your numbers small, you should have any problems keeping them clean. The birds you get at the store live on their own manure, as you know.

I'll tell you what I do, and it works for me, with minimal losses and healthy looking birds that taste great!

The first 2 weeks, I feed an unmedicated starter. Then I switch to a broiler feed. After 1 week of age, I feed them in the morning and give them all they will clean up by mid afternoon, then just water after that.

I put mine on grass after they feather out. Keeping them outside in a tractor will make your life easier.

Compared to my layers, they are special needs birds though. We call them the abominations.


12 Years
Jan 13, 2008
Howard City, Michigan
Don't worry too much about ANY of it. Broilers are only tough because people who are used to raising layers describe them that way- which is true. They are tough-ER than layers, but not by much. All the problems people talk about are easily avoidable. You will probably lose a couple in your first batch, but don't give up. I usually plan on losing 2-4 in a batch of 75. As for what to feed, I feed non-medicated broiler feed (20-22% protein) from day one until processing. I figure that if I'm giving my birds chemicals, what's the point in doing all the work? I might as well just buy them from the store.


12 Years
May 29, 2007
Chicken Country, U S A
Thankyou for the quick opinions.

I realize there will probably be some casulties, perhaps I should start with 10 birds?
Then expect to lose 2-3 from inexperience or Darwinism?

So there IS a "broiler" feed, thats good. I never had need to know that before . . .
And I will definately allow them to roam the tractor and forage accordingly.

I just dont want to end up with a bacteria-ridden mess resulting in unhealthy birds I wont wanna eat.

I have already started giving my laying chicks cut bits of grasses and weeds from the yard, in small amounts, to slowly expose them to whatever is present in my soil.
They are not on medicated feed, and are kept outdoors in a large brooder/coop I just finished- so far no problems.

But Im guessing that the difference would be the sheer volumes involved, the 10 broilers probably make more mess than my 18 layer chicks.

Anyways, I know Im just getting my last-minute jitters about it.
10 birds isnt really THAT many . . .

Oh shoot, now Im thinking about whats on the ground . . .
My backyard is full of oak trees, I hope acorns and oak leaves are suitable forage for a eatin-chicken?


11 Years
Jul 23, 2008
Even if allowed to forage, the Cornish Crosses won't take advantage much. They prefer not to wander too far from the feed and water.

It is my opinion that you are over thinking this by a fair amount. If you treat the 6-10 meat birds just as you would any other chicks (except perhaps feed them a higher protein diet), you should be fine. I would be surprised if your losses were any more than what you would expect with any other chicks.


11 Years
Jun 15, 2008
Too, full feed 22% protein feed the chicks for 2-3 weeks then feed 12 hours full feed AMand 12 hours withhold feed PM daily. Offer water 24 hrs. daily. Keep Seperate the meat chicks from the laying ones at all times as the layers will start to peck on the meat chicks and you will experience losses from that.


11 Years
Mar 3, 2008
I raise my cornish x in an enclosed building, but make sure that they have heat lights when needed, windows that open for ventilation and sunlight, feed them high protein feed ( as the previous writers said ) and throw in some long grasses or mower clippings.

I use the deep bedding method , since I only have them for 7-8 weeks - put a healthy layer of newspapers on the wood floor, then spread straw over that - each day add more straw and DE to cover the poo and keep the moisture down. After they are processed, shovel out the layered straw and put in a compost pile.

If you keep their food trays and waterers clean the entire time, no damp drafts or wet bedding, comfortable temps, and only feed once a day so that you are not overfeeding- you will have minimal losses and delicious meals.

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