Cornish X chicks - feed question for first timer

Melo1081

Hatching
7 Years
Aug 30, 2012
6
0
7
I was told to post this here as you all might be able to help.

Hi all, long time lurker first time poster :).

My wife and I currently have 20 laying hens and have had hens for years. All of our experience over the years has been with started 10-16 week old pullets as we know a gentleman who sells them to us for very cheap. We are lucky to have good neighbors.

We are getting 25 Cornish X chicks in a week and a half as we would like some meat chickens. We are excited about this process of raising chicks but to be honest I'm getting headaches from all of the different stuff I am reading online. Part of problem I think is that most of what I read is about regular chickens and not the fast growing Cornish X hybrid.

I am hoping someone can help to clarify a general timeline for me for what to feed the chicks and when. I have broiler booster for their water starting on day one. I have the brooders, ecoglow 50, feeders and waterers etc. I am just confused as to their feed timeline. I saw something online once that had a general week guideline for feed like weeks 1-3 starter feed, 4-6 something else etc. I cannot find this again and I'm getting overwhelmed with all of my animals and things I have to learn.

Please help as this is what I feel like doing the last few days when my wife asks if we are completely ready for the chicks to arrive :oops:.

I hope this is not an overly vague question. If it is please let me know what other information you may need.

Thank you all so much for any assistance,

Michael

PS. Thanks for all the great ideas you all come up with. I have used so many things from here over the past couple of years for everything from my coop to feeders to bedding. Some really smart and creative people on here!
 

Life is Good!

Songster
8 Years
Apr 14, 2011
1,179
222
226
suburbia Chicagoland
For our 26 FR chicks we grew last spring, we simply used a bag of chick starter until it ran out - then switched to Meat Broiler feed for the remainder of their lives. The bag of chick starter lasted for the first 16 days. Not sure how that'd translate for CX's, but it will likely be similar.

For the CX chicks we're getting tomorrow (yipes!), I have exactly the same program. However, I will be fermenting their feed (see post under this forum about the how's and why's) starting as soon as I can. I'll start the chick crumbles as dry for the first day or so - until they recognize the feed - then switch to fermented, which is NOT dry.
 

4-H chicken mom

Crowing
12 Years
Aug 3, 2007
17,487
131
371
Oberlin, OH
We feed our Cornish X's chick starter all the way from start to finish in 8 wks. We like our birds to be around 8-10 lbs before butchering. This year we even mixed the last 50lbs of starter with a 50lb bag of cracked corn. It gave them just enough of a fat covering to be really good. :drool
 
Last edited:

Beekissed

Free Ranging
12 Years
Feb 14, 2008
22,974
4,889
602
This world is not my home.
I was told to post this here as you all might be able to help.
Hi all, long time lurker first time poster
.
My wife and I currently have 20 laying hens and have had hens for years. All of our experience over the years has been with started 10-16 week old pullets as we know a gentleman who sells them to us for very cheap. We are lucky to have good neighbors.
We are getting 25 Cornish X chicks in a week and a half as we would like some meat chickens. We are excited about this process of raising chicks but to be honest I'm getting headaches from all of the different stuff I am reading online. Part of problem I think is that most of what I read is about regular chickens and not the fast growing Cornish X hybrid.
I am hoping someone can help to clarify a general timeline for me for what to feed the chicks and when. I have broiler booster for their water starting on day one. I have the brooders, ecoglow 50, feeders and waterers etc. I am just confused as to their feed timeline. I saw something online once that had a general week guideline for feed like weeks 1-3 starter feed, 4-6 something else etc. I cannot find this again and I'm getting overwhelmed with all of my animals and things I have to learn.
Please help as this is what I feel like doing the last few days when my wife asks if we are completely ready for the chicks to arrive
.
I hope this is not an overly vague question. If it is please let me know what other information you may need.
Thank you all so much for any assistance,
Michael
PS. Thanks for all the great ideas you all come up with. I have used so many things from here over the past couple of years for everything from my coop to feeders to bedding. Some really smart and creative people on here!

In the end, they are just chickens...much like your layers but a little hungrier. Here's a great thread that may help you...or not, depending on how you want to raise your meaties. Do you want fat, inactive birds that are grown out quickly, or do you want healthier, a little slower growing, active birds? When you decide on that, you will know which methods of feeding to use...traditional, high pro, continuous feeding until they cannot move~ or another way.

https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/644300/fermenting-feed-for-meat-birds
 

bruceh

Songster
7 Years
Apr 1, 2012
894
107
181
hanover pa
first question i have is do you have free range capabilities ? this will tell us a lot on feeding. bee likes fermenting feed. i never have done this YET. I AM GOING TO DO A STUDY ON THIS BATCH OF 32 BIRDS. dang it i hit the caps button. sorry.
my choice what has worked for me is this.
1. slow the growth rate down. no need to be in a rush. makes for a healthy bird with no leg problems or heart problems ( flip, fluid build up )
a. feed at night if free ranging . the more exercise the better if pen feed morning and night.
1. i use starter grower for the first 5- 6 weeks
2. i use meat maker for weeks 6-7 or7-8 depending on growth
3, i go to grower at week 8 or 9 to slaughter
4. grow til 11-12 weeks
5. watch the flock you will know by growth rate and movement of the birds.
a. when the birds are big and they just won't move around actively it is time for the slaughter.


important note use unpasturized apple cider vinegar in the water for them and all the birds.

just my expirence.
 

SIMZ

Crowing
8 Years
Apr 29, 2011
2,166
204
261
Northwest Indiana
It can be overwhelming, can't it? We had layer chicks and meat chickens in our first batch of chicks. I had feed charts written in various places and was trying to keep track of it on the calendar -- Whew!
Really, like Bee said, in the end they're just chickens! They'll grow just about whatever you feed them.

Some feeds will have a starter, grower, and finisher formula available. That's probably the 1-3 week, 4-6 week thing you read. Otherwise, you really can feed them a general Flockraiser or 20% starter and they'll do just fine the whole way through. We also start mixing scratch grains with their feed the last few weeks and I think it gives them a nice taste, too.

My newest plan has been to feed them 24% starter for about the first week or so (whenever it's gone), then I feed them 20% grower until about week 4-5. At that point I start adding scratch up to a 50/50 mix. We feed them that from 6 weeks on and then we butcher.
 

chicken pickin

Crowing
7 Years
Mar 3, 2012
7,952
744
381
I just raised my first batch of 26CX. I also did the broiler booster in the water from day one until process day, just in the first water of the day the rest of the day reg fresh water. Speaking of water they drink lots so check it often. In the first few weeks I gave a gallon of water half way through they were drinking 3 gallons and toward the end it was 5 gallons. Seems like a lot I know. For feed I gave then Blue Seal Broiler Crumbles 22% protein from day1-week6 then switched to Blue Seal Fat and Finish Pellets 18% protein until I process at 7 weeks. Feed schedual I did was first 3 weeks free fed 24hrs a day then at 3 weeks they got put on a 12hr on 12 hour off. I also fed them their daily ration in 3 portions throughout the day as I didnt want them to stuff themselves by eating it all in the morn(so I did roughly 8am, noon, 4pm). I tractored mine but it was mainly just to house them at night and they free ranged my yard 8am-8pm everyday from week 3 - process day.
 

Buster52

Songster
10 Years
Jan 28, 2009
3,635
37
228
Geronimo Oklahoma
I just raised my first batch of 26CX. I also did the broiler booster in the water from day one until process day, just in the first water of the day the rest of the day reg fresh water. Speaking of water they drink lots so check it often. In the first few weeks I gave a gallon of water half way through they were drinking 3 gallons and toward the end it was 5 gallons. Seems like a lot I know. For feed I gave then Blue Seal Broiler Crumbles 22% protein from day1-week6 then switched to Blue Seal Fat and Finish Pellets 18% protein until I process at 7 weeks. Feed schedual I did was first 3 weeks free fed 24hrs a day then at 3 weeks they got put on a 12hr on 12 hour off. I also fed them their daily ration in 3 portions throughout the day as I didnt want them to stuff themselves by eating it all in the morn(so I did roughly 8am, noon, 4pm). I tractored mine but it was mainly just to house them at night and they free ranged my yard 8am-8pm everyday from week 3 - process day.
That's a fairly standard regimen. Alternately, you could feed chick starter for 3 weeks, either meat bird or game bird feed for 3, then a finisher for the last week or two. This finisher just ups the corn or other carbohydrate (like milo) to add a little layer of fat.

If you just want to feed the same thing start to finish rather than have tweek your ration, you could just find a good 18% or 19% protein feed. I've known a couple of pros who do that. I don't have to worry about it because I mix my own formula, and just change ingredients to attain different balances.

It is my firm opinion (shared by many many others who been growing these birds a lot longer than I have) that protein level (and kind of protein) does indeed matter. And if you manage them right, they will grow nice and big in 6 to 8 weeks rather than 12. That means they consume less feed, and you have a lot less (as in 4 week's worth less) work. Also, I have not found CX to be lazy feeder sitters as I day range them. They forage just fine, no matter how big or fat they get, or how fast they get there. I just move the feeders and waterers around to different parts of the electronet inclosures to get them to forage in different areas.
 

Melo1081

Hatching
7 Years
Aug 30, 2012
6
0
7
Thanks everyone! Great info as always.

The chicks shipped yesterday so any day now!

After reading this thread and others my general feed/protein breakdown will be something like weeks 1-3 24% weeks 4-6 20% and weeks 7-9 18%. Broiler Booster from day one and some scratch near the end. To be adjusted at any time based on health and progress of birds.

When they outgrow the 8x6 coop in the garage they will be going outside to a much larger coop with plenty of grazing area to move around. I am in eastern NC and cold is not a concern at all until at least mid November if even that early usually.

I am going to try fermenting feed but that is going to be an experiment in addition to bagged feed for this group. I am hoping to get a very good feel for it for the next groups to have it as their primary.

All opinions and thoughts are valued as I learn from each and everyone here.

Thanks!
 

SIMZ

Crowing
8 Years
Apr 29, 2011
2,166
204
261
Northwest Indiana
That sounds like a great plan, Melo! You're going to find that after a batch or two you'll find what works best and fine tune your own plan for raising great tasting, healthy birds!
 
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