Cornish X drops dead, how to prevent reoccurance?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Sunny Side Up, Sep 2, 2008.

  1. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

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    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    This is the first time I've tried Cornish Xs, I just have 3 who are being raised with other standard breeds of the same age. They spend the day in a covered tractor, with Flock Raiser in their feeder. At nightfall they all pile in the corner of the tractor cheeping until I pick them up & put them in a wire cage for safety's sake overnight. No one has food or water from nightfall until about 8 AM when I let everyone back out of that cage.

    This batch of chicks is 7 weeks old. The Xs are big & beefy, stomping around the pen, laying in front of the feeder to eat, occasionally acting like real chickens taking dust baths & pecking at the grass.

    Sadly, this afternoon I found one of them laying dead in the pen. Nothing unusual with his appearance, crop not too full, nothing weird coming out any orifice.

    Even more sadly was the fact that I had to bury this bird instead of processing him. Though I found him right after he died, and he was still warm & pliable, I've been treating them with Sulmet & its instructions advise waiting 10 days after medicating before eating.

    I plan to process the other two birds ASAP, as soon as their withdrawal period is through. What else should I do to keep them going until it's their time? I have a little pen they can stay in by themselves, should I put them there & start giving them less feed?

    Poor things, I won't feel bad butchering them. They remind me of dinosaurs, waiting to go extinct. Plus, they're so hefty, I can't wait to get them in the oven. It was such a shame to have to bury all that good meat today.

    Thank you for your advice.
     
  2. TexasJoe

    TexasJoe Taking a break

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    how old are they? he might have died of a heart attack, it's fairly common if you let the JCxRs live longer than the recommended 7-8 week butchering.
     
  3. MaineChickens

    MaineChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The meat birds really can not deal well with the heat. I would guess that is what caused it. I had the same thing happen. Nothing like losing a 12 pounder. If you can confine the remaining two to the shade and give them a fan during the heat and plenty of fresh water they will appreciate it. I wouldn't restrict feed any more than you already are- they burn a lot of feed just from having all that muscle and to cut it back would be like starving them. After I lost the one, my other 9 made it the rest of the week till they were butchered. The one I lost was also in the chicken tractor and I think he just got too hot. The tarp shade wasn't enough.

    Next year I am doing my meaties later in the year so they will be at their largest when it is cooler. I'll definately do it again though- the meat is delicious!
     
  4. dancingbear

    dancingbear Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Why were they on Sulmet? Were they ill? If they were, could that be why it died? If not, there's not really any reason to give them antibiotics. I know a lot of people do, but they don't need it, if the living conditions are good.

    For the remaining birds, you may be able to improve the chance of making it through the withdrawal period by hanging the feeders so that they have to stand up to eat. Don't let them lay down to eat. Just that one change can make a big difference in getting them all the way to butcher size.
     
  5. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Why were you treating them? What were they sick from?

    I wouldn't eat them ever after treatment with sulmet or any other drug.
     
  6. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

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    I treated all these chicks at about 3-4 weeks when I noticed a little bloody poops on the paper where they slept. I gave them the liquid Sulmet, which I usually have to do with chicks that haven't been vaccinated at a hatchery or are being raised without a Mama hen.

    But this was the first time I gave a second dosing, about 3-4 weeks after the first. Last year I had another batch of chicks who still occasionally left bloody poops even after being dosed once with the Sulmet. And last week at least one of these new chicks left a big bright scary red poop on two different mornings. So I thought perhaps they would benefit from a second dosing.

    They finished their treatment 2 days ago, I'm going to wait at least 8 days more and plan to butcher the remaining 2 meaties. The Sulmet bottle says 10 days is the withdrawal period for meat birds.

    I think that bird died from being too hot & heavy, and I would have plucked & gutted him if he hadn't had the Sulmet in him so recently. I had heard about the health issues these birds can have, and wanted to hear your opinions as to causes & preventative measures. I like the idea of hanging their feeder higher, make the bums at least stand up to eat!
     
  7. dancingbear

    dancingbear Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't know what caused the bloody droppings, but if your birds always get this same ailment, something is wrong. It could be you need to thoroughly disinfect the area where you keep them, or maybe there's some dietary problem. Are there worms in your area? If so, you could solve that problem with food grade diatomaceous earth. (MUST be food grade, NOT the stuff for pool filters)

    I've only had chicks vaccinated once, and it was most likely unnecessary, they were meat birds. (I've raised a bunch) but never had the bloody droppings. Raising without a hen isn't the cause of this, either. If an antibiotic is needed, they have an infection. Infection doesn't come from lack of vaccination or not having a hen hatch and raise then. It comes from exposure to a pathogen, a disease causing organism.

    Most likely this one did die of being to fat to live, but if the bloody droppings are a consistent problem, you need to look more closely at your entire set up and feeding. You shouldn't require antibiotics for every batch.
     
  8. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    I agree with dancingbear.

    You need to be looking for other causes of spotty poops. The area they are kept needs sanitation and` sterilization. They should not need 2 rounds of sulmet.

    What are you feeding them initially? Medicated, non-medicated feed?

    In general they don't routinely have problems that require repeat dosage of any antibiotics. Without proper diagnosis treating with antibiotics creates more problems.

    You should never eat a chicken that falls over dead. Without a proper diagnosis. You can never be sure of what killed the chicken nor what disease it was carrying. You could be endagering yourself and others. Please do not eat a chicken you did not dispatch.
     
  9. SandraMort

    SandraMort Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 7, 2008
    ny
    I know it was a serious post, but I can't help pointing out that the subject made me want to say "I should hope your chickens only die once each!"
     
  10. Chic-n-farmer

    Chic-n-farmer Showers of Blessings

    Quote:Oh you are so much braver than I am. I immediately thought
    "Chances are VERY slim". But of course I would NEVER post such a thing. [​IMG]
     

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