Cornish Question

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by bigredfeather, Nov 29, 2008.

  1. bigredfeather

    bigredfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,194
    29
    211
    Oct 1, 2008
    Yorkshire, Ohio
    I have some Cornish x's that are almost four weeks old. I noticed today quite a few of them laying on their side and stretching one their legs straight out. Is this normal or is this something I need to be concerned about?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Brunty_Farms

    Brunty_Farms Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,305
    18
    221
    Apr 29, 2007
    Ohio
    Perfectly normal!! They do this to take the weight off of their lungs so they can breathe better. If they are starting to pant really heavily and gasp for air then you need to worry. They will usually start to "flip" at this age which is a broiler term for heart attack.

    But a strech of the leg is not much to worry about......

    Jeff
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2008
  3. chickenannie

    chickenannie Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,152
    23
    231
    Nov 19, 2007
    Pennsylvania
    Cornish X's are the standard commercial meat bird, but they behave weird and grow weird because they've been inbred so much to get the excessively fast growth and huge breast meat.
    Think about it like a 5 year old boy's skeleton with an obese 40 year old man's body on it. Their system is constantly overtaxed. I'm growing some myself but I don't think I'll do it again because it creeps me out. how forced their growth is compared to all my other birds.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2008
  4. MyraNC

    MyraNC Out Of The Brooder

    34
    2
    24
    Oct 18, 2008
    Central North Carolina
    I totally agree with you as I am raising my first cornish chicks too. Mine are 3 weeks old. Are you witholding their feed periodically so they don't eat themselves to death? I started every 4th day taking their feed away at night for about 12 hours. I think someone said we should take it away every night after 2 weeks old. I'm not sure what to do. This is crule mixing genes etc to such a harmful death. In the spring I will get some turkeys and butcher them when they are young. I DO NOT like doing unnatural things and to me this is NOT natural but I've got them now... I have 15. How many do you have?
     
  5. chickenannie

    chickenannie Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,152
    23
    231
    Nov 19, 2007
    Pennsylvania
    1 have 21 that a neighbor farmer gave me for free since they were the runts.

    As far as withholding feed, it depends what your goal is. If you want to raise them for meat, I would just feed them as much as they eat all the time and then you butcher them between 8 to 12 weeks.

    If you want them as pets, and want them to have a longer life, then you can limit their feed, and I believe others on here have said to make sure they get lots of excercise.

    But I don't think withholding their feed if you want them for meat birds is going to do any good.

    It's a good learning experience for me. To see how unnatural they are compared to my "regular" chickens. This will be the last time I raise them.
     
  6. Brunty_Farms

    Brunty_Farms Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,305
    18
    221
    Apr 29, 2007
    Ohio
    You want to limit there feed don't feed them 24/7 after two weeks. They will grow too fast and "flip". This is extremely important in summer months.

    If you feed them 24/7 until butcher weight you will see labored breathing such as panting even when it's not hot. You will see them also gasping for air.... if you see these signs back the feed off to a 12 hour program. 12 hours with feed, 12 hours without.

    People do raise broilers and feed them 24/7 but it's risky. Especially if you only have a handfull.

    Jeff
     
  7. greyfields

    greyfields Overrun With Chickens

    4,889
    16
    261
    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    The behavior is completely normal. What you want to look for is one with actual leg injuries/malformation. They'll never improve and it's best to cull them early.

    As far as reading regimes go, plenty of people feed 24/7 and plenty of people feed 12/12. Both groups raise very good broilers. It's more a religious question than a scientific one. [​IMG]
     
  8. miss_jayne

    miss_jayne Lady_Jayne

    Jun 26, 2008
    Columbiaville, MI
    almost ALL chickens do that, regardless of type. they like to stretch out, just like us!

    it's the bent in leg, i can't move, help! i've fallen and can't get up look you need to keep an eye out for! [​IMG]
     
  9. Brunty_Farms

    Brunty_Farms Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,305
    18
    221
    Apr 29, 2007
    Ohio
    Yeah like I said people do raise them 24/7 but it's risky. A lot comes into play with feeding them 24/7 and you just have to know what to look for.

    Number one watch the signs they give you. Breathing heavy and gasping for air are dead give aways.

    Number two watch the amount of protein that's in the feed. If you feed a lower percentage of protein you can get away with feeding them 24 / 7. This makes them grow a little slower. If you feed 20% or higher and feed 24 / 7 your chances of running into "flip" are much greater.

    It's also not natural for chickens to eat 24/7 especially for broilers who get triple their weight in just a couple of weeks. If your feeding 24/7 after two weeks your making it that much harder for their bodies to function properly, given they are already born with genetics as their kryptonite...

    Do as you wish as your the one that has to feed and care for these birds. I've raised thousands of broilers over the last few years and tried a few different feeding routines and this is what works best for me. The amount of flip deaths was 5 times more likley if I left the lights on 24/7 compared to 12/12. Both groups were given 24% feed and raised on pasture. I save unneccessary "flip" deaths and make the birds healthier all by feeding with the sunlight or by flipping a switch in your case.

    Jeff
     
  10. greyfields

    greyfields Overrun With Chickens

    4,889
    16
    261
    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    Or you can avoid Cornish Crosses all together. [​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by