Broilers crazy on diet

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by terence, Apr 21, 2009.

  1. terence

    terence Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 20, 2009
    Hi all,

    Based on the advice I got in this thread, I learned that i have inherited some broilers, and that broilers should only be fed twice a day (6:00 AM and 2:00 PM).

    I've done this for two days now, and boy do these chickens seem unhappy about the new plan. They rush the cage door whenever I approach with food, and plaintively cluck about looking for any tiny morsel they spilled earlier.

    I confess I haven't had them long enough to know if this is OK / to be expected, but I'd sure like some feedback on this. Previously, they seemed calmer (lethargic maybe) and I think they drank more water, but I might be wrong about that. (I could just be comparing them to my ducks, which are _always_ thirsty it seems.)

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I'm really green and need all the ideas I can get. [​IMG]

    Thanks!!
     
  2. chickenannie

    chickenannie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What is your goal with the broilers? If you are raising them for meat and you want the most efficient conversion, you should give them free-choice feed (as much as they want). Their bodies have been bred to grow incredibly fast so that they can be butchered at 8 weeks. If you want to slow their growth then don't feed them as much.

    It sounds to me like you're not feeding them enough.

    I think what others have mentioned is that they take away feed at night so they don't have 24 hours of feed, and just 12 or 14 hours' worth -- to at least try to keep them a bit healthier.

    But the truth is, these are not built to be long-lived chickens -- they are built for super-efficient growth. the "problems" with them is that their inbreeding has caused them to grow so fast their little hearts give out after 3 months or so. That's why some people like to raise freedom rangers or other meat breeds that aren't as inbred.

    Truth is, Cornish X broilers are not like "other" chickens. They have one purpose -- to get butchered asap.
     
  3. terence

    terence Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 20, 2009
    Hi,

    Ok. I will feed them more but try not to overdo it.

    I don't think the person who gave them to me realized they were for eating, but clearly, they're not what I thought they'd be. [​IMG]

    I'll care for them as best I can and then try to get some chickens which are clearly egg-laying and not for eating.

    Thanks!
     
  4. chickenannie

    chickenannie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Make sure you are feeding them a high-protein diet -- that's what Cornish X broilers need in order to function. Also, I think a leg problem may indicate a vitamin deficiency. If you can find some raw liver, chop it up into tiny pieces and feed a bit too them -- it may help.

    When you get some "real" chickens, you will be amazed to find them acting normally. Cornish X do not act like chickens at all -- they don't scratch, or preen much, or walk around or exhibit any behaviors other than eat eat eat and poop poop poop.

    Best!
     
  5. cassie

    cassie Overrun With Chickens

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    The hatcheries will tell you to give a high protein feed and to keep feed away from them for 12 hours straight. We give ours turkey feed because we can't get broiler feed. We take the feed away at seven at night and give it back to them at seven in the morning. We make sure they have plenty of water available at all times. It is true that they are not long lived chickens, but the object is to keep them alive long enough to reach butcher size. By slightly limiting the feed in this way, you make it less likely that they will have leg problems or keel over from a heart attack or whatever. We butcher ours at 10 to 12 weeks because we like nice big roasters.
     

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