Cornish X Rock Feed Volume & other questions?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Caver Dave, Jan 6, 2010.

  1. Caver Dave

    Caver Dave Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 5, 2010
    Foothills of NC
    My apologies if these questions have been answered repeatedly, but my searches didn't find anything conclusive. "walkswithdogs" suggested I fork my "feed volume" questions here for better visibility by the meat bird folks...

    Brief History
    I have 26 chicks in their 6 week (hatched 11/30ish by Ideal) that unfortunately due to weather are gonna have to stay in the brooders (in my slightly heated in-house garage) a few more weeks. [​IMG]
    Since this is the first batch, I have no idea if I'm feeding them too much or too little. Most everything I've read/been told outlined the issues of overfeeding, and recommended restricted feeding by either portion control or simply feeding 12 hours/day (7AM-7PM). Since I'm up before work and back in the evenings, I decided the latter would have to work.

    [Approx. brooder temp](For reference, I'm using the 20" plastic feeders, bottom half filled to edge. Incandescents lights are on 24/7 & brooders lined with 2.5" of pine shavings)
    Week 1 [95*F] - In AM 20" feeder filled with starter. Was 1/2 eaten when removed after 12 hours

    Week 2 [90*F] - In AM 20" feeder filled with starter. Was 2/3 eaten when removed after 12 hours

    Week 3 [85*F] - In AM 20" feeder filled with starter. Was ALL eaten when removed after 12 hours

    Chicks split between 2 brooder boxes (13 ea) due to crowding. Weather turned cold garage ambient went from 65*F to 50*F (outside temps from teens-freezing)
    Week 4 [80*F] - In AM each box given 20" feeder filled with starter. Was ALL eaten within 2 hours
    - In PM each box given additional 1/2 full feeder filled with starter. Was ALL eaten within 2 hours

    In an attempt to promote feathering, wattage cut in half. Doesn't appear to be adversely affecting them since they are silent (only begin peeping when I walk by!) & not huddling tight under the lamps
    Week 5 [60*F] - In AM each box given 20" feeder filled with starter. Was ALL eaten within 1.5 hours
    - In PM each box given additional 1/2 full feeder filled with starter. Was ALL eaten within 1.5 hours.
    - Drinking 1 gallon of water every 24 hours

    Week 6 [60*F] - In AM each box given 20" feeder filled with 22% & approx. 1 cup of cracked corn + 2 tablespoons of grit. Was ALL eaten within 1 hour!
    - In PM each box given 20" feeder filled with 22% & approx. 1 cup of cracked corn + 2 tablespoons of grit. Was ALL eaten within 1 hour!
    - Drinking 1 gallon of water every 24 hours

    As of this AM, they all appear to be healthy (except for a pair that appear to be the "runts" [​IMG] ) and feathering at approx. 85% (head feathers are coming in). No issues with legs, pasty butts, pecking, etc.

    Are these feed volumes close? Or am I offering too much, too little?

    Should I adjust the wattage down more for better acclimatization (hoping they can go OUTSIDE soon... just need the space they occupy for other projects [​IMG])?
    Should I adjust the hours/day the lights are on? If so, for what reason?

    If additional info is needed, I'll be happy to provide it!
     
  2. jaku

    jaku Chillin' With My Peeps

    I think you're probably overthinking it a little. I feed 24/7 for the first two weeks, then restrict feed to ABOUT 12 hours after that. Don't worry if you don't get it exactly. Over the course of their lifetimes, your 26 birds should go through about 500 pounds of feed. Also, don't worry too much about brooder temps. If they're packed into a little pile under the light, lower your light. If they're all as far away from the lights that they can get, raise your lights. Also, after 3-4 weeks, Cornish X's can handle freezing temps, so get them outside whenever you want. I even put heat lamps outside in the tractor with them if it's cold outside. If your lights are red, don't worry about how much light they get, and if you're not having problems with picking, don't worry either. Hope that helps!
     
  3. TimG

    TimG Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 23, 2008
    Maine
    Will chickens eat in the dark? I've never caught mine wandering the coop/run in the middle of the night. I ask this because I wonder of the 12 on /12 off thing is necessary if you're not using lights. When I had meat birds last summer, I did not use a light after a couple of weeks (no need for heat as it was summer) and left feed out 24 hours a day. I had no troubles, but wonder now if part of it was that there was no light for 8-10 hours a day so they weren't eating then.
     
  4. Caver Dave

    Caver Dave Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 5, 2010
    Foothills of NC
    Quote:It VERY likely I'm "over thinking" this, but that's how I'm wired... an information junkie!

    Quote:They're actually doing neither... the majority appear to be randomly spaced about the box. However, I have plain old "cool white" incandescents... NO red/heat/infrared lamps

    Quote:Interesting jaku! You're the first person to tell me they'd be fine at that age... everyone in the Chick forum expressed they were still to young, even at 6 weeks (my buds are 10-12 weeks) to go outside given the temps (low=teens-high=freezing/slightly above) here.

    Quote:I'd like to know too Tim (hence mt questions about adjusting the light times)!
    The local Ag. Ext. Service is offering a class on "How to keep your flock warm this winter?" that I'll be attending tonight. Maybe someone there will know the answer...
     
  5. 2werk

    2werk New Egg

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    Jan 7, 2010
    People I know (my self included) are processing these cornishX at 7-8 weeks and 5-7 lbs. dressed. I've never restricted feed. If you prefer a slower growing, sturdier bird there are some that are almost as meaty as the cornishX but said to be better texture and taste.
     
  6. Caver Dave

    Caver Dave Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 5, 2010
    Foothills of NC
    Something I noticed this AM...

    When I introduced the feeder, both boxes seemed indifferent... NO mad rush towards the feed, like they were NOT their usual ravenously hungry selves!

    Does this mean I'm close to the correct feed amounts for their current size?
     
  7. Caver Dave

    Caver Dave Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 5, 2010
    Foothills of NC
    OK, I'm within a week of "critical mass" (too big for brooders & NO room for additional boxes).
    Their "outdoor accommodations" are nearly complete and the forecast shows a "warming trend" [​IMG] (Highs 40-50*F & lows near freezing)...
    I've continued to acclimate them by slowly dropping the temps (lights have been off for a week) and raising the garage door a bit more frequently (ambient is 50*F and will drop to <40*F in a minute or 2)

    So they're (a full 7 weeks by this weekend) headed out into the world for the remaining few weeks of their lives!

    I'll keep everyone posted on what does/doesn't happen...
     
  8. Lazy J Farms Feed & Hay

    Lazy J Farms Feed & Hay Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:At 7 weeks of age they are pretty close to butchering weight. Have you weighed any of them lately? If they weigh enough it might be prudent to slaughter them now rather than risking the stress of changing the environment on them so close to marketing.

    Jim
     
  9. Caver Dave

    Caver Dave Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 5, 2010
    Foothills of NC
    Lazy J Farms Feed & Hay :

    At 7 weeks of age they are pretty close to butchering weight. Have you weighed any of them lately? If they weigh enough it might be prudent to slaughter them now rather than risking the stress of changing the environment on them so close to marketing.

    Jim

    Jim, I haven't weighed them, but feel they are still in 2#-3# range. From what I've read, development depends on numerous things, but whacking maturity may not be reached until as late as Week 12?

    I'll see if I can get one to sit still on the digital scale this evening! [​IMG]
     
  10. Lazy J Farms Feed & Hay

    Lazy J Farms Feed & Hay Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:WOW. My daughters 4H Broilers weighed in at 8.4 and 8.7 lb at exactly 8 weeks of age.
     

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