Cornish Cross Culling Question

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by machoman, Nov 16, 2011.

  1. machoman

    machoman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I culled one yesterday and another today. They're right at 8 weeks, I think. They both were breathing with their mouths open, so I was concerned. The first one died while upside down in the cone. It died before I even made the cut. It started opening and closing its mouth and just died. The one I did today started to do the open and closing of the mouth thing, but I cut before it died.

    Is this normal? Is the open mouth breathing and labored breathing a sign of heart failure? They're not big. The first one dressed at 3.5 lbs, the second is probably the same.

    Overall I've been very disappointed with these birds. I split an order of 26 from Meyer with my friend. All but two of hers died within 3 weeks. Out of my 13, I've ended up with 7 to process. One died the day it arrived, I wasn't upset about that. Another died at 2 weeks. Two more had spraddle legs, one died randomly at 4 weeks, another was found dead in the coop at 7 weeks. I've done everything I'm supposed to do. They were under a brooder lamp until fully feathered, given great feed, I even tried to get them to forage in a tractor. And now I've got birds that are smaller than expected dropping like flies.

    Throw this chick some advice.
     
  2. jessicayarno

    jessicayarno Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is one of the wonderful things about cornish x.. Heart failure is common and is one of the reasons why I won't be raising them again.. I already decided that if one of them starts struggling to breath like the one i culled yesterday then I am just gonna process all of them.. I am not going to eat a bunch of sick birds and I certainly am not going to let them all suffer.. I already ordered my next batch of meat birds and will be raising ones similar to the freedom rangers... If I have problems with these guys I have decided that I will just raise large DP birds like Delawares for meat.. I had to give them a try though, so I could decide for myself.. I suggest you process what you have left before they die on you..
     
  3. machoman

    machoman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I know they're meat birds, but if it's going to be like this all the time, then I have a moral issue with raising them. The idea was to raise them humanely, but if they have so many health problems, it doesn't seem so humane to me. I have 7 black star rooster chicks that are doing wonderfully. I hear mixed thing about cornish cross birds and I'm beginning to think it also might a breeder issue too. The woman I purchase butter from love them and they forage and don't have health problems. Might seem to be a different story.

    My husband checked on the rest this evening and everyone seems to be breathing normally.
     
  4. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

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    My cornish x came from Meyer also and I didn't have any of those issues. I'm wondering if it's because I had a polish and a barred rock in with them. The other breeds sort of got them moving a lot. They were in a tractor that I moved every day or so and they always had some grass and stuff to peck on.

    Right now I have one that is in with 3 other breed chicks. Long story why the one but anyway it's 6 weeks old now and not even as big as the ones I had before at 6 weeks. It gets more exercise than any of the others did and loves to forage. So I'm supposing it's environment. Though the one I have is from a different source.
     
  5. machoman

    machoman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I put mine also in a run and moved it daily. Their feet were on the ground as soon as they were mostly feathered as we had a warm front come in. They showed absolutely no interest in foraging, pecking, etc. If I toss scratch grain on the ground, they ignore it. All they want is the food in their bowl. I was so hopeful because other people have had good experiences too. My friend ended up putting her surviving two with some normal chicks and she said they started acting like normal chickens, so maybe this is the key. I went out of town and had to put them in a cage off the ground simply to make it easier for the person caring for them. When I can back, I opened the door and put their little ladder out and they won't come out. They just sit in the cage and eat. I do wonder Meyer had a new breeder on board who was having some problems. My friend lost 11, they replaced all of hers and she sent them to a hatchery to stay for four weeks because she wanted to make sure she wasn't doing something wrong. In two days, 7 were dead.
     
  6. halo

    halo Got The Blues

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    I also didnt have the issues you are talking about. And it seems yours are very small for 8 weeks. I dont know, something doesnt add up.
     
  7. machoman

    machoman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I know, it does seem strange. I've also heard pretty good reviews from Meyer and when my friend called to tell them about how many she lost within the first two weeks, she said they were wonderful and offered to replace them all and they did.

    I did not have them on medicated feed, per the advice of some local chicken buffs. They did not start out with their feet on the ground, they were in a brooder for about 3 weeks. The feed I used was one we purchased from a local chicken breeder. He uses the feed for layers, chicks, everyone. We've used the feed for our egg flock, the cornish cross flock, as well as the 7 black star rooster chicks I have. The black stars came into our home at 2 days old and we've not lost one, they're thriving. They all drink from the same water source which is well water, and it's been tested, we drink it too. I had at least 2 spraddle legs in my 13, possible another young that died, but I didn't know what to look for at that point. My friends birds would simply stop walking and then die. It's weird. I also think mine sound a little small too.... All these things make me think they have a breeder issue, maybe a batch that had some kinks in it. Also, the willingness for Meyer to replace all of them after two weeks makes me think something was up.
     
  8. halo

    halo Got The Blues

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    I just received 25 broiler chicks from Meyer an hour ago....I took advantage of their broiler special. Ill pay special attention to see how they do. I am starting them on medicated chick starter, since they will be going outside in a couple of days.
     
  9. Kaitie09

    Kaitie09 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I got mine from Meyer and they are all fine. I had one that never grew and died at 2 weeks, but we were expecting that. The others have a 10x16 dog kennel and they take advantage of it. I also make it a habit of putting the food as far away from the water as possible. They are right outside my window so I am able to watch them, and they all get around fine. I don't know if it make a difference, but they are on a fairly steep incline. They have to go up the hill to get the water, and then they fly back down it for food. I have noticed that their legs are like giant man arms now, I think from the exercise. They all can walk, fly, and hobble/run. I think the biggest is 5-6 lbs right now and they are 6 weeks old.
     
  10. machoman

    machoman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow! They sound fabulous! Maybe it's my feed? I don't know. I don't know the protein percentage of it, but all my other birds, including my other chicks are thriving. But, cornish cross are a different bird with different needs, but it's not enough. I've heard good things about red broilers and freedom rangers, this'll be my next batch. Meyer told the girl who I split an order with that sometimes chicks suffer from "spontaneous death", usually by 4 weeks.
     

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