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CX very slow to grow out

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by journey11, Oct 19, 2013.

  1. journey11

    journey11 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is my 4th year raising CX for our family's freezer. I did some things differently this year, the most significant being that I changed to a new feed. I spoke with the lady who raises pastured CX for our local market and found out that I could buy her custom feed mix from the feed store. It is a whole grain/cracked corn feed...corn, soybean meal, alfalfa meal and oats, and something for calcium supplement. The analysis is 17% protein, 8% fat, 4% fiber.

    She says they always process theirs around 7 or 8 weeks of age, which is when I did mine in the past when I had them on Dumor turkey chick feed (24%) and Dumor chick feed (20%) to finish.

    I have had awesome results in the health of the birds with this new feed--NO leg problems and haven't lost even a single bird this year. They are digesting this feed completely and their stools look like normal chicken stools should, not all runny and gross. It seems to stay with them longer. They don't consume as much feed as they did on the Dumor, but I believe the Dumor feed ran through them so fast and never was completely digested, accounting for the awful stools. They aren't consuming excessive amounts of water either. They run around, roost a little, eat bugs and grass (NEVER had them do that before) and even dig holes to roll around in for dustbathing. They are acting like normal chickens! HOWEVER, they are growing out much slower. I was expecting to process them (had things proceeded as they had in the past) on the 2nd and 4th weekends of October. They'll be 8 weeks old on Monday and the males are not ready yet! I'm not sure they'll be ready next week either. And now it's getting late in the fall, cold and rainy. I hope I'll not be processing chickens in the snow. :p

    This is also the first year I have grown them out in the fall. They have been more comfortable, avoiding the heat of early summer. It really hasn't been cold here until just the past couple of days. I also have them tractored on pasture.

    I usually keep records of their feed consumption, although I haven't tallied up my receipts yet for this batch.

    Has anyone here experienced slow grow-out on their CX before? I am just wondering how others have done feeding them a whole grain (not crumble/pellet) feed. Unless MMH sent me some other type of chicken (packing slip confirmed my order for CX...they otherwise look like CX, even if they're not acting like it.) All I can figure is that it has something to do with the feed. I need to ask the chicken lady, if I can get ahold of her. She's a busy lady and hard to catch.
     
  2. BCMaraniac

    BCMaraniac Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I raised my first set of CX earlier when I bought some from TSC during Chick Days. About 4 weeks later I bought more, and the second batch grew more slowly than the first with no difference in feeding, housing, etc. I can't remember the exact ages, but the first batch was bigger, even though the second batch was older.

    My only thought was that perhaps the second batch were the slower growing ones like are advertised on McMurray website. Since it was TSC, they are at the mercy of what gets sent to them. They were supposed to be the same as the first batch, but they sure didn't grow like they were.
     
  3. journey11

    journey11 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That is very interesting, BCM. That makes me wonder if there isn't a different in the genetics of this batch. I will hop over to MMH's website and see if I can find out anything there. I have always bought them from MMH, so I don't think I even bothered to read the description this time...just bought what I think was the same ol' kind I always get. Maybe they've changed something...

    ETA: Hmmm... Might be on to something here. I am wondering if they sent me their Cornish Roasters instead, although I certainly ordered the "Jumbo Cornish X Rocks". Here's the description on the Roasters: Sounds a lot like my birds!

    Quote: I wonder if I will should change my plans on when to butcher the males and follow their advice? I hate to hold on to them that long. I'm ready to be done with them. (You know how that is!)
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2013
  4. Bossroo

    Bossroo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The above plus the feed that they are getting is only 17%. These birds need at least 20% protein for proper growth. Also , you should consider to ferment the feed .. you can read all about it on the fermenting thread! [​IMG]
     
  5. journey11

    journey11 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yeah, I was really surprised that their custom feed was only 17%. She says hers are ready at 7 to 8 weeks of age supposedly. They raise pastured CX for our local market and do a couple thousand a year. She also mentioned that they feed their layers the same blend. I asked her if they had leg problems with the lower protein and she said they had raised the calcium levels in it for the layers and that it benefited the CX's legs too.

    I considered fermenting the feed... I have heard so much good about it and just like sprouting does for humans, it should make the grains more digestable for the birds. But I didn't want to add another variable to it this year since I wanted to see how they did on the new feed itself. After I look at my final feed conversion ratios, I had planned to ferment next year. But if MMH has sent me the wrong type of bird, there goes that data out the window and a year wasted. It won't make the kind of straight-forward comparison I was looking for.

    These birds being more active would be burning more calories too. That was something I noticed early on... I'd never had CX chicks trying to fly out of the brooder before. [​IMG]
     
  6. ghulst

    ghulst Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I never feed mash that is higher then 18% protein. Less losses and less fat on the birds. I also feed some whole corn.
     
  7. journey11

    journey11 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have not had a single leg problem on this grain either, definitely a plus. They're going on 11 weeks now and we'll start processing this weekend.

    I'm certain these must be MMH's Cornish Roasters... We had a severe storm that flipped and messed up my tractor last Thursday and I had to temporarily put the birds in my front lawn because it was the only place I had ready and fenced. They had a high ol' time out there...chasing bugs, scratching in my flowerbeds and running around. These Roasters do not act like the regular CX at all. They are much more chicken-like. So far, I gotta say I like them, other than the couple of extra weeks I've had to mess with them. They are definitely healthier.
     
  8. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    I feed 18% starter with whole grains mixed in, which lowers the total protein.. However, they are on pasture - eating bugs and what not..

    I think it's the time of year to tell you the truth.. I had my first batch June 28th and my second arrive August 21st. The second batch.. yeah I still have them.. They are ready, but are the size my first batch was at 8 weeks. They are growing MUCH slower.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    This batch at 8 weeks

    [​IMG]
    Last ones at 8 weeks
     
  9. journey11

    journey11 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm sure they burn more calories for heat in this cooler weather. That probably slows them down a bit.
     
  10. journey11

    journey11 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just a quick update on how these turned out... I didn't take dressed weights on them this year, but I wish I had. I had some HUGE cockerels and most of the females made a nice size too. Normally I can stuff a whole CX into a gallon ziploc bag, but most of these I couldn't. One thing however, for as healthy as they started out, I did have more trouble with them toward the end. Several had the beginnings of congestive heart failure (fluid-filled sack around the heart), but otherwise made good weight. Three of the females had ascites (water belly) accompanied with fatty liver disease...yuck. [​IMG] One cull that became cyanotic and quit growing. One female with necrotic breast tissue...again, yuck. They all had more viceral fat than what I have had on my spring CX, but I don't know to what degree that was affected by fall weather or the type of feed I used this time around (they did prefer the corn/wheat and rejected the soybean meal until it was all that was left). They did not eat as relentlessly as the CX, either way. They continued to eat grass and bugs up to the end, which I've never had a CX touch it unless they were starving. As far as health problems found after processing, I was really surprised and this is more trouble than I have had with my previous batches that were all CX. I have been super busy and unfortunately disorganized in my record keeping this year. I have a pile of receipts somewhere, but I don't have any numbers on feed consumption or cost or live/dressed weights. I'm just glad they're DONE.[​IMG]Anyhow, basically I didn't like that they took a whole month longer to get to the freezer, so I don't plan to make a point of doing the Roasters again.
     

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