Cornish Cross and Weight Gain Concerns

May 13, 2018
100
213
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Ohio
I need some advice on my Cornish Cross. We got them in late August hoping to have them ready for processing before the cold weather hit. We were not so lucky. It has been below freezing twice this week. The chickens seem to be handling the weather just fine in their tractor but it seems to be having an affect on their weight gain. They are 7 weeks but are probably only about half maybe 3/4 the size they should be. I am going to weigh everyone this weekend to get a better idea of where we are exactly, but at this point I am afraid that even if I grow them out until the end of October (9 weeks), they may still be small. They are on a 22% meat bird feed. We have upped the amount we are feeding and they are actually leaving food in the feeder. We have thought about moving the tractor closer to the house so we can connect a heat lamp for at night, but wondered if anyone had any additional suggestions.
 

James Cardwell

Hatching
Aug 22, 2018
3
2
8
I need some advice on my Cornish Cross. We got them in late August hoping to have them ready for processing before the cold weather hit. We were not so lucky. It has been below freezing twice this week. The chickens seem to be handling the weather just fine in their tractor but it seems to be having an affect on their weight gain. They are 7 weeks but are probably only about half maybe 3/4 the size they should be. I am going to weigh everyone this weekend to get a better idea of where we are exactly, but at this point I am afraid that even if I grow them out until the end of October (9 weeks), they may still be small. They are on a 22% meat bird feed. We have upped the amount we are feeding and they are actually leaving food in the feeder. We have thought about moving the tractor closer to the house so we can connect a heat lamp for at night, but wondered if anyone had any additional suggestions.
Cold temperatures have a direct effect on weight gain. Bird can't grow if they burn their energy keeping warm.
 

123RedBeard

Crowing
6 Years
Oct 20, 2014
1,423
1,848
336
Arizona
Have you raised Cornish cross before?

My guess is maybe you got a different breed the what you thought ...

They could be "slow growers", or Plymouth Rocks, or even Leghorns!
 
May 13, 2018
100
213
217
Ohio
No. This is my first batch of Cornish X. My first batch of meat chickens were Freedom Rangers. They may be slow growers but they are definitely Cornish X. I ordered them from Welp Hatchery.
 

bald Rooster

Songster
Oct 18, 2016
491
720
171
Orlando area
Im no pro at meat birds or cold.I raised some freedom rangers.(and didn't like the texture of the meat)
I raised 25 Cor.X and I believe they as good as any chicken I ever ate.I had people I sold them to tell me by far much better flavor then store bought.
Is there a way you can inclose your tractor at night,tarps wood anything.
I have not followed feeding recommendations on my Corn x. I have turkeys ,Quail and chickens and horses so you get one of 3 kinds of feed thats it.. Horse feed lol Layer or game bird. I feed my day old chicks game bird. its a little more expensive but simplify things for me.
Game birds 21 or 23 % fat I can't remember .Any way my Cornish X do well on the stuff.
Location of tractor Were it will get the most sun may be something to look into.
I have a new batch in my brooder now.
Good luck
 
May 13, 2018
100
213
217
Ohio
The tractor is partially enclosed. It is an A frame style with a roof. They are currently out on our front acreage and out in the open sun. We are going to bring the tractor closer to the house and set up a heat lamp to try to combat the calories they may be losing trying to keep warm. I do know that I will never do a batch of meat birds this late in the year again. This is my first year raising meat birds so my first round was just a handful to see how things went. I am not concerned about having to grow them out longer in general but the cold weather makes me uneasy. I haven’t lost one yet to and I would like to keep it that way.
 

Birdinhand

Crowing
May 23, 2016
1,113
1,764
277
Pacific Northwest
how feathered out are they? you are in much better shape than had you started too early in the spring since as the cold is setting in, they are feathering out and maturing. what kind of waterer are you using? open waterers and CX don't mix, they really need nipple waterers, IMHO, to keep the microbes in check. if their gut gets out of whack, it adds to their stress factors. It may be time to switch focus with the feed from protein to more fat, it's a balancing act and an art. such a high protein mix tends to cause loose poops and a wasting and thirsting syndrome which tends to make everything wet because they gorge on water to make up for the loss. mix that with cold and that could cause real issues, they need to stay dry, if they are dry, they can handle cold. at this point they are probably spending most of their time sitting so keep raising the food and water to encourage them to get up off the cold ground. I'd put down straw or something to get them off the cold ground so they can rest and warm up. they are hot birds, able to chow down food and crank out heat as long as they are dry and otherwise healthy and feathered out. I would worry that adding a heat lamp this late in the game could actually stress them, they are way past the time of usually needing one and are very prone to over heating. if their feathers are too matted with dirt and can't get loft and things are really getting tedious, it may be time to harvest early and have a bunch of game hens in freezer camp.
 

123RedBeard

Crowing
6 Years
Oct 20, 2014
1,423
1,848
336
Arizona
How cold does it get at night?

How much are they feathered?

Could you post a picture of them ... so we have a better idea of what they look like?
 
May 13, 2018
100
213
217
Ohio
How cold does it get at night?

How much are they feathered?

Could you post a picture of them ... so we have a better idea of what they look like?
They are pretty much feathered out....by Cornish standards. It is getting down to under 30 here at night. I will get pictures when I get home this evening.
 

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