Cornish Crosses Dying


5 Years
Apr 7, 2014
Annville, PA
We got some Jumbo Cornish Crosses from McMurray 6 weeks ago. 12 came and only 3 are still alive. All the birds seem have had heavy breathing since week 2 or 3 and quickly one seems to be slow and dies within a day. They huddle together whether we have the heat lamp on or not. It's been hitting 60+ degrees here in southern PA the past week or so and I doubt they are cold. They were growing very quickly and gaining weight on the feed Flock Raiser from Purina. I would have started butchering this past week but am busy.

We've raised 50+ chicks (other breeds) from McMurray before and had very little death loss outside of the first few days. There's something different with these birds and we're not sure what we're doing wrong. Any ideas?

Are they being fed free choice? Or are you removing their feed for part of the day? Are they in a coop? Is there plenty of ventilation? What color are their combs - bright red, pale, purple...? My only guess - and that's all it is, is a guess - is that they are growing too fast and developing heart problems. Maybe call McMurray and see if they have any ideas?
They are on free choice, unlimited feed. Ventilation shouldn't be a problem as they are in the garage and at least one door is always opened. The combs are a pale red/pink color.

I'm leaning towards what your thinking bobbi-j, they are growing too fast and having heart issues.
I'm sorry you had trouble ours had only one loss the first week and an injury that made us process a few days sooner. We used the broiler booster from MMH and man it's like Popeye's spinach! Did you get the booster? Also I don't know that the protien level in the flock raiser is enough for these guys, with the high rate of growth you'd be better off (IMHO) with a 20% or better protein level. Water was challenging to keep up with as they dirty it very quickly, spill it, and then drink it
We alternated chick starter 20% with game feed at 24% protien begining week 3.5 added a bit of pasturized free ranging (no heat light in 40's and 50 degree weather due to panting) and wt's improved, poop's didn't stink as much and had some firmness to it. i hope the last few make it, good luck!
I took care of the last three birds. They tasted great and were very tender. I did not get the broiler booster which I forgot to add to the order. I'll certainly do that again plus I'll keep in mind the feed.

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