Cornish Chicks Overeating

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Jolly_Rancher, Apr 12, 2008.

  1. Jolly_Rancher

    Jolly_Rancher In the Brooder

    [​IMG] So big surprise, I have 2 cornish chicks that my spouse & daugter bought thinking we could train the dogs and cats to be nice with before the "real" chicks came in by mail.. Well the dogs and cats just love all the chicks.. no problems.
    The cornish are nice birds, but,,, while I have never had birds, I have read about cornish and I know what is ahead for them and am not sure I am ready for this part of the venture just yet. But with that being said.

    They are two weeks old and eat... and eat... and eat and then they eat some more.. so I was reading and read that I might want to take their food out at night.. which I started a couple nights ago.. but when I replaced the food in the morning, they were so scared they ate until their crop was just about to blow.. it was so gourged it was about passed their beaks and rock hard.. so all day today I feed them about every two hours for 1/2 hour or until I thought they started to look too full. Not scientific I know.. but it looks really bad..

    Please advise, am I making it worse by limiting their food and making them panic? It is too cold just to shut their light out at night.. I did try that and they constantly try to lay under each other.
  2. hcammack

    hcammack Crowing

    Oct 5, 2007
    I have no Idea about cornish X's sorry I would just eat them after 8 weeks I know allot of people will disagree with me on this but keeping one alive for awhile is just causing them pain and costing you time and money. I don't know how to raise them so this is really just a bump and a bit of advice for the future.

    Good Luck,
  3. Jolly_Rancher

    Jolly_Rancher In the Brooder

    Henry, I hear you.. and ultimitly I do agree with you, from what I read. Now with that said I do have an open mind and am never opposed to learning, so anyone with longterm solutions.. go right ahead.. I will down the road place them on freecycle or Craigslist and see if someelse wants to "do" these guys, I don't believe I am ready just yet.. Just learning here.

    But my problem is.. even getting them to the 8 week point, I believe they are going to blow up before then. Am I over-reacting and becoming a worrywart?
  4. hiddenmagnolia

    hiddenmagnolia Songster

    Dec 21, 2007
    South Louisiana
    If you have them on a high protein food then put them on a lower protein. They will grow slower. Limit how much food you put in with them. Maybe scatter some hen scratch on the ground so that can scratch and hunt for it and get some exercise. We have saved a few hen from my daughter's 4-h meat pen project. At ten weeks old we put in with the rest of the flock. They continued to grow but not as fast after being put on laying pellets and scratch grain. They had no problems getting around and lived long heath lives.
  5. hooligan

    hooligan Songster

    Aug 20, 2007
    Ok, are they Cornish or Cornish Xs?

    I have some Cornish Xs and they are about 5 mos. now. They are big but so far are doing well, and these were birds that fell from trucks!

    I recommend a layer food, as its lower in protein and higher in calcium which they need. If you are able to feed them separately you can ration out their food. About how much do they weigh?
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2008
  6. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    I have a bunch of cornish x who are destined for dinner. I just let them eat 24/7 for the first 4 weeks or so... and then open the doors to free rainging during the day which does seem to get their bums out and about away from feeders. They were raised to eat and eat and eat. One thing you can try to get them to slow down on eating is to make them stand up tall to eat. I raise the feeders to just above the back level of the birds so they have to stretch to eat. This discourages sleeping and eating and eating some more because they have to stand and make an effort to eat. Mine are 3.5 weeks old and about 2 lbs or so.
  7. Jolly_Rancher

    Jolly_Rancher In the Brooder

    Great ideas..
    The cornish are by themselves.. so I can feed them whatever I need to. They bought them at Tractor Supply so I am assuming the are a cross.

    I will pick up some layer food while I am in town tomorrow, as they are eating the starter food right now.. I know they are over a pound but not sure if they are two pounds yet.. they are just about full feathered, but still too cold and wet outside even for short jaunts.

    I like the idea of hanging and hiding a little food.. ie making them work for it.. much better than them gorging every few hours.

    I don't want to come across as the do-gooder, save the world.. I understand what these crosses were bred for.. not at all what I wanted, but the family thought they had a grand idea.. just forgot to do their homework or check with the "boss" first.. [​IMG]

    I just hate to see these guys look so misrable after they gourge themsleves.. kind of like reverse Thanksgiving [​IMG]
  8. HorseFeathers

    HorseFeathers Frazzled

    Apr 2, 2008
    Southern Maine
    From what I've heard/read, after a while Cornish X's just can't support their weight and die. [​IMG] It's really sad. Your best bet- though I HATE to say this- would be... dinner *sniffle*. I couldn't eat any of my chickens. They're pets!!! [​IMG]
  9. hooligan

    hooligan Songster

    Aug 20, 2007
    If you plan on keeping them give them about 1/4 c a day each, maybe even less. Avoid high fat extras, such a scratch unless needed to keep them warm. Mine love to peck on those birdseed bells and I will hang them in random places so they will have to search for any extras. I have 4 big boys and they go thru about 1 a week. I also give them a bit of BOSS but not alot as its high in protein.

    You can keep them as pets but at the average life span, on the long end is 1.5-3 yrs. They are suseptable to leg/joint problems as well as heat strokes and heart attacks. SO far ours haven't needed any pain meds for their joints but I think we may start one on Rimadyl soon as he's having some issues, and he is the smallest one of the bunch. We also have a hen who can jump and run with the rest of the girls and has no problems at all.

    If you decide to keep them with your family and need any advice just send me a pm. I love my Xs, they are so sweet [​IMG]
  10. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    If you can get "flock raiser" that would be better because it won't have the excess calcium that isn't good for them at such a young age. Flock raiser should be 16% protein, but you don't want to go too low because too low can impact their leg development. Just less of high protein feed would be best I think.

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