Disapointing Cornish Rock Harvest - What are we doing wrong?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by downeastthunderfarm, Jul 24, 2011.

  1. downeastthunderfarm

    downeastthunderfarm Out Of The Brooder

    68
    1
    41
    Jul 24, 2011
    Maine
    We mail ordered 10 Cornish Rocks from Ideal Poultry earlier this summer. They spent the first five weeks in a brooder with lights round the clock and then moved into an outdoor house with run - no extra lighting. We fed them chick starter/grower crumbles for the first two weeks or so and then put them on a meat bird grower mash (20% protein) from Aroostook Milling Company. We also toss in a few handfuls of fresh picked clover every day. At 8 weeks old they all look happy and healthy.

    We butchered four this morning - two hens and and two roosters. The largest one dressed was a whopping 3 pounds. We were expecting between 5 and 6 pounds.

    This is our first time raising meat chickens. What are doing wrong? Did we harvest too soon? We've heard stories of them dying if you let them go too long. We opted to not butcher the remaining six just yet to see if they can put on some more weight.

    Any thoughts and advice would be welcome!
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2011
  2. Brunty_Farms

    Brunty_Farms Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,305
    16
    221
    Apr 29, 2007
    Ohio
    Not fully knowing what's going on it's hard to give you an exact reason. I can tell you they need feed and water all day, shouldn't really go without not even for a few hours in this heat. Which brings this to the second big point is heat, how hot has it been at your place? A lot of times when the weather gets in the high 90's the birds do not really eat a whole lot and gain weight almost twice as slow as what they would typically gain in more mild temperatures.


    If it's been too hot, I would suggest feeding at night.
     
  3. saddina

    saddina Internally Deranged

    May 2, 2009
    Desert, CA
    Define "Earlier this summer" Does this mean memorial day? Or mid June?
     
  4. downeastthunderfarm

    downeastthunderfarm Out Of The Brooder

    68
    1
    41
    Jul 24, 2011
    Maine
    Thank you for your thoughts. To fill in the blanks: we make sure they have food and water 24/7 and freshen the water at least twice a day. We live in coastal Maine and we've only had a couple of days in the 90's and that was just this past week. It seems like they eat all the time!
     
  5. downeastthunderfarm

    downeastthunderfarm Out Of The Brooder

    68
    1
    41
    Jul 24, 2011
    Maine
    saddina, they're 8 weeks-old - they hatched on Memorial Day and were shipped out the next day.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2011
  6. Denninmi

    Denninmi Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,867
    14
    171
    Jul 26, 2009
    Are you sure you actually have Cornish Cross?

    It seems like hatchery mix ups are pretty common, there have been at least half a dozen threads on here in the last couple of months where people's meat birds turned out to be something else due to a hatchery or retailer mix up. Also some threads on some of the other boards where birds sold as egg layer/pullet chicks actually turned out to be Cornish Cross.

    Certainly can't say whether or not this is the issue with your particular birds, but it seems to happen pretty often.
     
  7. saddina

    saddina Internally Deranged

    May 2, 2009
    Desert, CA
    Quote:That was my next question, can we get a pic of the birds, both of the live and of the processed? Occasionally someone will get a large white, dual processed bird sent instead of a meatie.
     
  8. downeastthunderfarm

    downeastthunderfarm Out Of The Brooder

    68
    1
    41
    Jul 24, 2011
    Maine
    I'm fairly certain that we're dealing with broilers. We got them at the same time as our buff orpingtons and barred rocks and they grew so much faster than the layers. Here are pics from last week:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Is it possible that it's the food we've got them on? The local feed store sold us feed for the broilers with the following make up:

    Grower 20%
    Crude Protein 20
    Crude Fat 3.5
    Crude Fiber 4.0
    Calcium 1.1
    Phosphorous .70

    I'm really hoping to figure something out here because we have another batch of Cornish Rock Broilers from the same place that are just shy of three weeks old!

    Thank you all for your thoughts.
     
  9. Lazy J Farms Feed & Hay

    Lazy J Farms Feed & Hay Chillin' With My Peeps

    When I evaluate growth performance challenges for my commercial swine farmers I start with the basics.

    For a pig/chicken to grow it needs feed and it needs to convert that feed to meat. That is where I start: Was enough feed provided and were there challenges to feed conversion.

    For starters, how much feed did your 10 birds consume?

    Next, were there challenges to feed conversion such as wasted feed, disease challenge, extreme weather, etc?

    Jim
     
  10. Peruvian

    Peruvian Chillin' With My Peeps

    291
    3
    141
    Apr 15, 2008
    Vermont
    For what it's worth, I'm in S. VT and we had a disappointing harvest this spring/summer as well. We received 27 chicks and lost 12 to a fox. The remaining 15 grew slowly and we processed 8 at 10 wks (about 4lbs avg) and just completed the other 7 today (3+ lb average). I ordered through a new wholesaler but I think he orders from Moyers who I've ordered directly from before. We fed them the same feed as last year (this is our 5th year, 50-60 birds/yr). I'm chalking it up to all the cool/wet weather we had early on and then they were so scared from the fox incident, they didn't eat much for a while.

    I've got 30 more in the brooder so we will see how they turn out in the fall.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by