1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Can a "meat" bird live a healthy life if it's kept alive?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Dudu, Oct 19, 2012.

  1. Dudu

    Dudu Chillin' With My Peeps

    362
    6
    103
    Jul 20, 2011
    Ħal Luqa, Malta
    I'm posting it here hoping to get some insight from those members who do keep the "meat" breeds.

    We were given a pair of half-broiler chicks (hybrid). The female is doing fine, but the male seems to have gained quite a lot of weight (they are free-ranging, however in the yard only, which means they only really have regular pellets and corn to eat). Poor thing hardly walks, he seems to have trouble making strong, confident steps, it's like his legs are weak in the joints or something.

    He was hatched at the end of May, so he's about 5 months old now.

    Have you seen this before and what to do? Is it possible to keep him on a diet (provided we confine him to some certain area)?

    Apologies in advance but he is not food.
     
  2. Celie

    Celie Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,598
    87
    168
    Mar 23, 2012
    Tickfaw, Louisiana
    He is suffering from the leg problems that is common for this breed and most all broiler breeds. First of all, do not give him corn, if you are not growing him for meat! Also he my die suddenly from a heart attack. which is also common with "meat" birds. Why do you have a "Meat" bird if he is not for "food"? It's none of my business, but I was just curious? I have year old Cornish X , 1 Roo and 3 Hens that are alive and healthy, that I plan to experiment with, but I raised them on a restricted diet since birth and they are Huge. They had time to grow big fat sturdy legs, before the put on too much weight. Aim for mostly lean, low in carb, feed that contains low fat, low carb, high fiber feed as possible with lots of vegetable matter. It may be too late for your Rooster, but you can try putting your hens on a healthier "diet", if you plan to keep them as pets. They were bred for meat, so I will be curious to know how they turn out? [​IMG]
     
  3. Dudu

    Dudu Chillin' With My Peeps

    362
    6
    103
    Jul 20, 2011
    Ħal Luqa, Malta
    Thank you SO very much for the information! I thought that it is connected with his breed, thanks for confirming it.

    The way we got them - a local Agricultural institute had an open day in May and was selling these 1 day old chicks who were being hatched right there in the incubator. I wasn't sure what the idea was, but our nephew bought them and then brought 4 to us. 2 are surviving, one of them this male.

    Would you please give me some examples of such food? We feed ours layer or grower pellets and split or whole corn, about 50:50. Plus green yummies - lettuce, tomatoes, grass etc. What did you give your birds to keep them fit? Thanks so so much in advance.
     
  4. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

    5,532
    181
    273
    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    The oldest age I got a Cornish Cross to was 6 months. At that point, she managed to get into the cows' watering trough and drown. Other than being enormous and completely lacking in grace, she was perfectly healthy.

    If your bird is having leg problems, then I suspect he hasn't much longer to live. But in the meantime, you might try taking away the corn and adding a 100 mg niacin tablet to every gallon of his drinking water. Do not buy time release or non-flush niacin.. Just regular niacin. It's cheap. I just paid $1.79 for a 100 tablet bottle.

    Is he actually lame? Or is he just lumbering clumsy? They will normally walk with their legs out wide and mine always seemed to have a bit of trouble stopping. A bit scary when they come lumbering at high speed for treats and it looks like you might get hit below the knees with 20 pounds going at a fast clip.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2012
  5. StarLover21

    StarLover21 Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,199
    40
    173
    Oct 11, 2011
  6. Dudu

    Dudu Chillin' With My Peeps

    362
    6
    103
    Jul 20, 2011
    Ħal Luqa, Malta
    StarLover, thanks a lot, I read that thread and sent the author a PM.

    Oregon Blues, he is not so much lame as awfully clumsy, his legs are just not stable overall and seem weak in joints - he does move around and right now even jumped from the floor on the bed (he's right now in the spare bedroom), and he sometimes has to help himself with a wing to straighten up and regain balance. It is a very sad sight but I have some hopes that maybe by putting him on a diet and gradually starting to give him exercise I might still manage to help? Just clutching at straws and feeling awful that my ignorance in chickens still has to cost someone his life. :( I wish it had occurred to me when they were brought to us that these birds can't be kept like all the others.
     
  7. Celie

    Celie Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,598
    87
    168
    Mar 23, 2012
    Tickfaw, Louisiana
    I free range all of my flocks, so they get their meat from eating bugs. Think of these chickens like the people who need to go on a diet, but love to eat too much. Avoid things high in calories like corn and give them plenty of things low in calories like grass, veggies, grasshoppers, bugs, worms, broccoli, etc. Also the vitamins and minerals that go into their drinking water won't hurt. Mine have been raised like this from hatching, so they grew into their weight, like a body builder. They look more like a fat Cornish and not so much like a Rock (the 2 breeds they bred the CornishX Rock cross from. They were raised right beside the rest of the layers, so they don't know they are supposed to get more than their share of the food. They run and play with the rest of the slim girls and boys and get the same exercise so even though they are the fat kids in the chicken family, I think they will stay around for a while like this. The reason I am not sending them to freezer camp is that since so many people here on BYC has questions about meat birds and the females were laying (occasionally - Not good layers at all) I thought I might try AI to see what the breed would turn out to be if mated. Of course, I got them from a hatchery, so I don't think the chance of them being exactly siblings would be too great, even though I also know the gene pool will not be good for any type gene pool. Just thought it might be interesting. BTW, I am also raising 50 meaties for the freezer right now. Half will be on FF and half will not, so I will have a base to judge the advantage of FF on meat birds. I hope your little one is doing OK and you can trim him down, but frankly, the way these birds eat, it may be too late, if the damage to the legs are already done. If you are giving your bid calcium, which is in laying pellets, for his/her bones, don't forget to also give vitamin D3. It will also help depression. [​IMG]
     
  8. Dudu

    Dudu Chillin' With My Peeps

    362
    6
    103
    Jul 20, 2011
    Ħal Luqa, Malta
    Thanks a lot, Celie! I appreciate the details, I will be doing that then. For now I am keeping him in the spare bathroom (not much space to move for sure :( but the rest of the flock had started to pick on him), but I cut down on his food, he gets a small tin of layer pellets and lots of vegetable and grass salad. He prefers tomatoes so far! I am ready to even take him on doggy walks with me, just to help him somehow. He is walking ok, just it's obvious it's hard for him. I would like to slim him down and then let him put back muscles, not fat, if it's possible at all.
     
  9. Celie

    Celie Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,598
    87
    168
    Mar 23, 2012
    Tickfaw, Louisiana
    Good luck and please let us know how it turns out?[​IMG]
     
  10. Dudu

    Dudu Chillin' With My Peeps

    362
    6
    103
    Jul 20, 2011
    Ħal Luqa, Malta
    Just a little update, so for about 3 weeks this boy lived in my bathroom and went for walks in the morning in the apartment - I used to throw a handful of pellets around to make him move more etc, and I have to say not only did he lose a lot of weight on his limited feed (limited amount of pellets plus lots of lettuce and tomatoes which he learned to LOVE) - even though I didn't have a chance to weigh him, I know he got much lighter because I used to pick him up now and then - so not only did he lose weight, but he became much more agile, he can now run (though he makes the sound of a draught hourse when he runs to you!), and he even attempted to jump up on things every now and then. (But I watched him closely, not to fall badly by accident)

    Now we moved him back to the farm this past Sunday and put him in a large room together with our older (ex-battery) hennies because they at least won't pick on him, now that he's been absent from the yard for so long. He has such a posture now, looking really tall and proud, thank God. The first day however he ate to his little heart's content and his crop was huge. Today he seemed much less greedy already. I sure hope he will be ok at least for a while, and when he begins to look clumsy again, I will have to isolate him and put him on a diet again. Thank you so much for the help, advice and support, I really appreciate it!!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by