Butcher Time

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by bigredfeather, Dec 18, 2008.

  1. bigredfeather

    bigredfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    For those of you that raise Cornish X's, have you found that you have more losses before 7 weeks, or from 7 weeks to 9 weeks? The reason I ask is because I am planning on taking the largest of my 24 birds next week. It will probably be 10 or 12 of them. I was then going to wait until the rest of them are 9 weeks old, then take them. After thinking about it, I'm beginning to reconsider. If I lose too many of the ones from 7-9 weeks, the meat I lose to death may begin to out weigh what I would get if I took all of them at 7 weeks. There are a handful of them right now that are considerably smaller than the largest ones. However, a bird that is smaller still renders more meat than a dead one.

    Not sure what to do. Please offer any advise that you think may help me come to a desicion.

    Thanks.
     
  2. PurpleChicken

    PurpleChicken Tolerated.....Mostly

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    Most losses are in the first two weeks. If you find at 8 to 10 weeks
    you lose them for no reason then butcher quick.

    We staggered our Cornish X and have a few 14 weekers now. They
    don't walk much but do ok.
     
  3. Bammony

    Bammony Red-dress-less

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    The ones I had die were dead between 0 and 7 days. I didn't lose many, but I did lose a few. If I were you, I'd wait a little longer on the smaller ones. [​IMG]
     
  4. greyfields

    greyfields Overrun With Chickens

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    I generally lose more birds early, too.

    But, I swear, there seems to always be one dead one the day we send them to process. It's like they want to screw up your cost per lb and they are getting the last laugh.
     
  5. bigredfeather

    bigredfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yorkshire, Ohio
    Yeah, that's what I'm afraid will happen. If you can keep them a little longer and get the additional weight it drops the $/lb quite a bit for a somewhat slight increase in feed costs. However, as you said, when a big one goes down, it has a substancial impact the other direction. Part of me says butcher them all at 7 weeks and be done, but part of me wants to see some 7-9 pounders. I will have to see what they look like Monday and come to a decision.
     
  6. bigredfeather

    bigredfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 1, 2008
    Yorkshire, Ohio
    I decided to take all of them in Tuesday. I found some red poo last night. I'm not taking any chances. Besides that, the weather is making it tougher and tougher to keep them fed and watered everyday. I think I will be satified with the amount of meat I get. If they were outside and it was warm, I might have waited. The birds just seem to be very happy.

    I was wondering if it is a good idea to give them unlimted feed for the next 2 or 3 days. I have plenty of feed. Would it make them gain a lot more weight the next few days?
     
  7. jaku

    jaku Chillin' With My Peeps

    My last batch, I lost one every two weeks, almost like clockwork. It sure makes you mad when a big one goes!

    I can't imagine unlimited feed at the end would give you ACTUAL weight gain in a couple days. There would be more feed weight in their bodies, but I would doubt it would be converted to body mass that quickly. I would worry that more than likely, you'd be shocking their bodies and translate into dead birds (assuming you're doing 12 on/12 off feed right now.)

    I think at 7 weeks, you'll be happy with your meat yield. They will still be bigger than store birds, and like you say- if any die, will it be worth it?? Plus, imagine being immediately done with braving the cold to move the pen, worrying about dead birds, changing frozen water, making sure they have food, etc!
     

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