The last meet birds I raised out, and I admit it was many years ago, at 8 weeks were nowhere near this size. So I am impressed hybridization has come so far to be able to produce such a large bird in such a short time.
I ended up harvesting one of the smaller if not smallest of the meat birds this morning. When I went up to teh greenhouse to feed, I noticed one of the birds not looking to good. it was not interested in rushing the feeders as I puit feed in and was just laying with its head down. So I picked it up, it was still alive but not well and decided I would put it out of its mercy.
During plucking I noticed a very soft and swishy belly, that upon opening confirmed Ascites or water belly. Hence the reason why Cornish cross broilers from some hatcheries are not recommended for elevations above 5000 ft. I live at 5300. Though Welp's birds do not have that warning on this strain. I am not sure why, or if it is a newer or older strain. but the rest are all healthy and happy and only have 2 more weeks to go.
Why I am discounting the nutrition cause is mainly they eat for 9 hours of a day, or a set amount that when they finish, feeding time is over until the next morning.
I know broiler farms budget for 20% loss due to Ascites and failure to thrive.
And mine is not a loss as I noticed it not doing well and harvested, so I do have meat, just 2 lbs 4 ounces worth. Like I said, tiny or smallest one of the bunch.
A pic of the mostly plucked bird, still need to remove a couple tiny feathers. And the areas that look torn, well they aren't torn, just thin and stuck down to the flesh.
Well I lost two more of teh broilers. Hard to tell what from as they were flattened. It looks like piling for some odd reason. Both of which were the last of the smaller birds and did not show any signs of distress during the day. Who knows. But if 1 more broiler is in distress or dies, I will harvest all of them immediately. Considering harvesting them next week anyway as most of them are near 9 pounds now.
Nothing has survived under 7 pounds at this point. I weighed them all. And what a job that was.
So another 80 pounds of feed for the week and for the most part another pound of gain in weight.
No update today. Why you might ask when Wolfie has been updating weekly like clockwork.
Because I start harvest in the morning.
It seems at my elevation the sweet spot on Welp Hatcheries Cornish Broilers is 7 weeks. Today is 8 weeks and I am down to 19, from the original 25. the last 3 deaths due to heart attack. Running over as I put feed in the trough and keeling over.
The thing I noticed, and it might not be an issue for those not over a mile high, is the lungs of the last 3 birds are half the size of a non meat bird at this age. they are just tiny, compared to what they should be. So add exertion to not able to bring in enough oxygen and you have birds falling over dead.
So far no issues with weak legs, or weak bone structures during butchering. Even the joints are nice and strong. My issue seems to be the elevation. the weakest looking went today, the stronger and larger ones tomorrow and by Thursday I should be posting a recap and cost per pound. 1 of which was one of the tracked ones and it had only gained a half pound.
I planned to put them all in the freezer for self use, but I am starting to field questions about costs and supply from friends and the post office personnel.
There is one farm about 50 miles from me who does advertise and books pretty solidly that sells for 6.50$ a pound and 7$ a pound for split chicken.