Feathers on CXs different than DPs?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Sunny Side Up, Mar 27, 2012.

  1. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

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    Mar 12, 2008
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    Previously I've only processed Dual Purpose roosters aged between 18-24 weeks and found them relatively easy to pluck by hand. I could get a good scald on them, hang them by their feet, and pluck them by hand in about 5 minutes. I could grab feathers by the handful that tore away easily.

    Now I've raised some Cornish Crosses and find them much more difficult to pluck by hand. The feathers on their sides & chests are especially thin and short, and hard to grasp with my whole hand. I have to either pick them with my fingertips just a few at a time, or take a butter knife and sort of "shave" them off the skin by scraping against the grain.

    Is this typical of the CXs? Is this what inspires and motivates people to build mechanical pluckers?
     
  2. bigredfeather

    bigredfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yep, that's why we do it! They don't have as many feathers, but you're right they are hard to grasp. I can pluck 4 CX's in less than a minute with my Whizbang.
     
  3. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

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    Loxahatchee, Florida
    How do the Freedom Ranger-type birds compare? Are they feathered more like DPs or CXs? There's a small group of people in our local poultry club who are planning to share orders of meat chicks. We started with CXs but will probably try something different for our next batch, so we can experience them all and decide what we like best.
     
  4. bigredfeather

    bigredfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That I don't know now, but I will come the first week of June. I have my first ever order of FR coming Friday (100 of them).
     
  5. booker81

    booker81 Redneck Tech Girl

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    Yup - those side and chest feathers are more "pin" like, and can be a bit harder to grasp.

    Sometimes, if I'm running short on time (or am just being plain lazy), I'll leave the little feathers after a good washing off, put in the fridge to rest for a day or two, and then take them out and finish plucking the little feathers. They seem to slide out a lot easier after resting a bit.
     
  6. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    It's not a breed characteristic, but an age thing...you are plucking 2 mo. old birds whose feathers haven't fully developed yet. I processed mine at 11 wks and have very few pin feathers to deal with and the ones that were present were very easy to deal with...light scraping and they just popped out.

    I'd venture to say, that if you butcher FR at 2 mo., you will run into the same problem.
     
  7. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

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    Mar 12, 2008
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    These CXs were a group project I did with some folks from my local poultry club. We did a few at only 6.5 weeks, some more at 7.5, and these last will be 8.5. We're trying to be finished before Easter, concerned about letting them go too long. But I think we should plan to let them grow more next time. My concern is that I'll feed them for 9 or more weeks and they'll drop dead before I can process them.

    Their belly feathers are the worst, they're sparce & thin, twisted & matted from laying on them all day, and dotted with dingleberries of poop. I have these last 6 on grass, moving the pen daily to keep them on cleaner ground.

    Booker, I do the same thing, get them mostly plucked and clean, then go ahead and eviscerate as is. I finish removing those last few pinfeathers when I clean them again before freezing or cooking.
     
  8. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    CX don't have to look or be that way...they don't have to lay on their bellies all the time or have filthy feathers. It's really all in how you raise them and how you feed them. Folks who feed them slow~don't push the feed or feed the high pro mixes~have birds who grow slower, finish at appropriate weights and have full mobility....and they don't die easily. They don't lay on their stomachs but are up and moving around, foraging, etc.

    The white chickens you see in these pics are CX:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Here they are awaiting their turn in the killing cones...not a dirty breast among 'em. Fully feathered, clean and all walking around with the rest of the flock on the green grass just the day before this pic was taken.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

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    Mar 12, 2008
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    Quote: by Beekissed [​IMG]
    Okay, so how/what do you feed them? I fed them the way I was advised by their hatchery. Began with a 25% protein mix (half chick starter half game bird starter). Available 24 hours for the first week, then only 12 hours after that. At about 4 weeks I brought it down to about 23%. At about 6 weeks down to 20%. Is that pushing feed or giving a high pro mix?

    I also put the feeder up high so they had to stand up tall to eat, not be able to loll around the feeder like ancient Romans.

    I'd like to know how to raise them better, these CXs have definite advantages and I want to learn how to minimize their disadvantages.
     
  10. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    The hatcheries are giving you the feeding protocol for commercial broiler houses...and the results you got are just how they look, act and perform in the broiler houses. I know this because where I have lived for the last 6 years has many, many broiler houses. They take the dead birds out of these houses by the hundreds each day and the smell from these operations would knock a buzzard off a gut wagon.

    Folks wanting chickens raised with commercial ag methods can buy them at the store so much more cheaply than they can ever raise them. The big boys can raise them cheaper because they are raising in bulk, buying feed in bulk, etc.

    If you have ever raised any breed of chicken at home and it was healthy, then you can raise a CX at home and produce the same results. CX are not "programmed" for overeating and self-destruction, they just possess the genetics to lay on meat tissue at an increased rate of growth. This doesn't mean this cannot be regulated and slowed down so that the bird has time to grow at a more healthy rate.

    I'll tell you what I've observed~if you put food in front of them and give them nothing to do but eat and drink, that is what they will do. If you put them into a tractor and move it once a day, put continuous feed and water in front of them they are not going to "forage" much....the grass under their 10X10 space is so quickly soiled with feces and trampled into the soil that it is not edible or palatable...and they will STILL just eat the feed from the feeder because it takes little effort.

    If you give them high pro feed so they will grow quickly, you will get just that..unfortunately, these birds arrive with diarrhea and the high pro doesn't do anything to help it. Most of your high pro feed is being squirted out the backside and onto the ground. Ever see cows in a feedlot? They are confined and fed high pro diets to get them to gain weight quickly...each and every cow has diarrhea. Liquid feces that squirts out instead of plops. All that nutrition being wasted and causing dehydration while it happens. Along with dehydration comes increased chance of illness, increased chance of organ failure, particularly the heart, liver and renal.

    How about some humans try having diarrhea for two solid months and see just how froggy they feel...or would they be sitting around, too weak to walk more than a few steps? [​IMG]

    1. It's simple...regulate their feed(once a day if you are free ranging all day, twice a day if you are not), feed them simple and cheap whole grains, reculture their bowels so that they have been restored to healthy performance by a good growth of bacteria instead of an overgrowth of bad flora(this can start when you bring them home on the first day and can continue throughout).

    2. Sunlight, fresh air, exercise, unpasteurized ACV in the water to restore electrolytes and provide probiotics. No medicated chick starter, no medicated feeds...just not necessary at all.

    3. Free range is better, so if you intend on doing these on a regular basis, invest in electric poultry fencing so they can have movable paddocks to provide fresh ground and forage. ( $164 for 42"x 164 ft., has the stakes built in, and lasts 7 years with proper use~Preimer Fencing).

    4. Ferment their grains to increase protein(remember, these grains are not high pro ration so it won't hurt to increase their protein a bit), increase total nutrients, increase nutrient absorption, provide natural probiotics...and~ ultimately~ save money on feed. Fermenting grains is as easy as 5 gal. buckets, water, feed and a few days of waiting.

    It sounds like a lot of work compared to just providing continuous feeders of crumble and throwing down fresh bedding...but it really isn't. Once you have your setup established, it is really easy to do and you will find you have turned out something you will want to actually eat instead of something that you can't bear to look upon or smell while you are growing it out. Something of which you can be proud when people see it, when you grow it, when you taste it, when you sell it. A healthy life makes for a better life for the bird and that health carries on to those who consume the meat.

    Sorry...I know you didn't ask for all that but it is a pet subject for me and I feel passionately about it. [​IMG]
     

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