1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Cornish X dropping like flies

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by rssnbabybear, May 28, 2016.

  1. rssnbabybear

    rssnbabybear Out Of The Brooder

    91
    1
    43
    Mar 1, 2016
    I have a whole flock of 6 week old Cornish X birds that I've been raising for butcher. I bought 50, lost a few for various reasons and by week 4, was down to 45. Then, I started to loose them at the rate of 1 per day. That was last week. Now, for the last 3 days, I have been loosing them at the rate of about 3 per day. What is wrong? They have good shelter, constant access to water and I have been rationing their feed since they were 2 weeks old. At first I would put it out in the morning and take it away at dinner time. But when they started dying (one per day) I cut their feed in half and have been giving them half in the morning and half again in the evening so that they can't gorge themselves. Why are they still dying? Some look lethargic, but it is even the energetic ones that are keeling over.
     
  2. Ifish

    Ifish Chillin' With My Peeps

    291
    40
    98
    Feb 28, 2015
    PA
    Could be a number of things. Heat, disease, other organisms, etc. Weather caused, environment caused, genetics caused...

    I'd butcher now.
     
  3. rssnbabybear

    rssnbabybear Out Of The Brooder

    91
    1
    43
    Mar 1, 2016
    Unfortunately, I can't butcher yet. I'm being paid to raise these birds for butcher and they are only weighing in at 3.5 to 4lbs a piece. I'm trying to hold on to as many of them as possible until they are a little closer to 6lbs because my buyers are expecting 6-8lb finish. I was going to keep the extras (none now) and the rest are going to my aunt (who may not get any at this point) as a favor to her. I'm going to have to start over for the ones that don't make it to my buyers, and I'm hoping against hope that I can fill the orders that I had.
     
  4. rssnbabybear

    rssnbabybear Out Of The Brooder

    91
    1
    43
    Mar 1, 2016
    I don't think heat is the issue. It hasn't topped more than 75 degrees since I moved them out of the brooder coop. Sunny days, plenty of shade and nights in the 40's with a lamp to round out the temp.
    How would I know if it is disease or organisms? Their poop seems fairly normal (not watery, bloody, no visible worms) and my other flock has never had problems. Or, if it is genetics, is there a way to determine that? Because if it is genetics, I would want my money back from the hatchery.
     
  5. CluckerCottage

    CluckerCottage Chillin' With My Peeps

    We also lost a few CornishX meaties @ 4 weeks old-- it was probably heart failure. I hate it when that happens.
    Our original batch will be butchered in 2 weeks. We are keeping them in their tractor on grass in the shade and they are doing well.
    Live weight on these girls is about 10-11 pounds. Good healthy birds.
    My hubby went to Runnings yesterday whilst I was at work to get feed and brought home (9) one week old CornishX meaties.
    They were like a buck apiece so he could not just leave them there. They were the last ones. I hope they all make it.

    I am sorry for your predicament but it looks like you're doing a good job at raising them.
    The only thing I can recommend is keeping them cool, fed and hydrated. The only way you'll get an answer as to what's killing your birds is to take one to an avian vet for necropsy OR perform your own necropsy. The Natural Chicken Keeping site has step by step instructions on how to do it. Good luck and God bless.
     
  6. rssnbabybear

    rssnbabybear Out Of The Brooder

    91
    1
    43
    Mar 1, 2016
    Thanks for the advice. I will look up the web site and see if I can figure out what is causing it. May I ask how you decide how much to feed them? I was giving 45 birds about 2.5 gallons worth of food (not sure how much this equals in pounds.) Now that I'm down so many birds I've reduced it to about 1.5-2 gallons. I can't seem to find a site that tells me how much each bird should eat in a day. I'm just wondering if I've over fed them.
     
  7. CluckerCottage

    CluckerCottage Chillin' With My Peeps

    We fed them all the starter they wanted for 3 weeks then went by the "12 hours on, 12 hours off" method for their meat bird feed.
    They have access to fresh grass with lots of clover mixed in as well.
    Welphatchery.com has a feed chart for male and female CornishX-- maybe take a look at that for more information?
     
  8. sonofabish1

    sonofabish1 Out Of The Brooder

    47
    1
    26
    Sep 11, 2015
    Ohio
    In order to know how much you should be feeding we need to know what feed you're giving them and % protein. Below is a chart that is commonly used to track growth and feed consumption. I use it as a general guideline to see how fast mine are growing and adjust available feed accordingly.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. rssnbabybear

    rssnbabybear Out Of The Brooder

    91
    1
    43
    Mar 1, 2016
    Thanks for the chart I will take a hard look at it. I'm so desperate for answers. The feed is 18% protein and 3% crude fat. I'm not sure how much I'm feedin them now because I've cut back so heavily on their rations, trying to save them. I did a necropsy on one and it is definitely heart failure. There was little fat on the bird, but te heart was three times a normal size, and full of fluid. I find them dead, laying down. Haven't found any in their backs. They turn purple very quickly after dying. I called the hatchery who said they may be growin too fast, but they weigh only an average of 5-5.5 pounds which is 1-2 pounds too small for 7 week bird according to that chart. I am going to butcher next week come hell or high water, and the hatchery told me to fee them as much as I can durig this time. But I'm afraid I'll loose more. So confused! Obvious heart failure on lower protein an fat content, plus decreased rations. And everybody keeps telling me I'm doing things right. If that is the case, how have I lost almost 50% of my flock
     
  10. sonofabish1

    sonofabish1 Out Of The Brooder

    47
    1
    26
    Sep 11, 2015
    Ohio
    With my limited experience it does sound like you're doing things right. Sorry for the frustration and sorry I couldn't help anymore...
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by