first time with meaties, a few questions.

LindsayB

Songster
11 Years
Apr 26, 2008
1,987
43
191
Cypress, Texas
Hubby is finally letting me get some chicks to feed my addiction, so I'm going with cornish x chicks. I called the TSC in our area and they are getting some in tomorrow morning. Anyway.....I'm hoping to get 6. I already have a brooder set up for them with a heat lamp and a red bulb. its an old rabbit cage without the wire floor...I've used it with all of our chicks...

Since these aren't your normal chickens and get big pretty quick, when can they go without a heat lamp and go outside?

Can they be on shavings in the rabbit cage or should I use paper towels? I'm worried about them having leg issues.

And last...Do I start the 12 hours on and off feeding when they are chicks or when they're older?

Sorry I have so many questions, We've always had layers.
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sheaviance1

Songster
9 Years
Apr 7, 2010
1,180
4
176
Tennessee
I am in the "getting ready to get meaties" stage, so I am interested in the answers that you get too.
I've been doing some searching and have learned a few things. It is my understanding that meaties grow faster than they feather out, so I've wondered if this means they need to have the light on them longer? My other question that I haven't found an answer to, is what feed do you give the chicks? Starter or meatbird crumbles?
I'm not trying to hijack your thread, but since you were asking, and since we had some of the same questions, i thought maybe you hadn't thought of my questions yet
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stanglover2001

Songster
9 Years
Apr 29, 2010
1,630
22
161
I keep mine in a brooder until 2 weeks (only in summer weather) and 3 weeks in this cooler weather, but I keep a heat lamp on them til they stop squishing each other to stay warm. I just put mine out yesterday at 3 weeks old. I feed mine purina's flock raiser, they don't get to be 8 pounds live in 8 weeks but 8 lbs is ridiculous and then they don't fit in a gallon sized ziplock. I keep males til they are 8 weeks, I'm going to try butchering the pullets at 2lbs live this go around to try and save money on feeding them for a longer time since they don't grow as fast. They can be on shavings, mine always are atleast
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You're supposed to start the 12 on and 12 off like at 5 days old (they arrive at the post office 3 days old), I'm a bit bad at that... I feel bad when I starve baby chicks and do more like fill it up several times a day and don't take it up at night
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even at 3 weeks old.... I probably won't start the 12 hour thing until they can drink out of the large watering bowl and don't need heat anymore.
 

LindsayB

Songster
11 Years
Apr 26, 2008
1,987
43
191
Cypress, Texas
Well, I picked up 6 yesterday and they are doing great! I had them on paper towels at first but now they're on shavings. These little buggers can poop!! I've always raised layer chicks so these are still new to me. I also noticed that today they were laying down to eat...lazy...hopefully if its warmer tomorrow I can take them out in the grass and let them play for a bit. supervised of course..I already have the pen ready for them outside but I probably won't move them out until they are fully feathered. 3 weeks? I have 2 that are a tad bigger than the others, I'm guessing these are going to be the roosters. I'm getting alittle attached to them but I have to keep telling myself these are going to be food!
 

Heluerto

Chirping
9 Years
Jul 9, 2010
100
0
89
Banbury, UK
I'm new to the meaties too, and I have looked through that link which is really helpful, but as Sheaviance asks, how long do they need heat for as they are getting big a lot faster than my 'normal' chicks, who clearly still need heat.
 

bigredfeather

Songster
11 Years
Oct 1, 2008
2,194
47
211
Yorkshire, Ohio
Quote:
It really depends on the temp of the enviorment, the type of brooder you have, and the number of chicks in the brooder. If you have a nice draft free brooder with lots of chicks, you'll need less heat. I had times I had it on them for over 2 weeks, and when it warmer, I've only had it on them for a few days. I usually shut the heat off for an hour or so and see how they react. If they huddle up - you still need it. If they go about their business like nothing has changed, they don't need it. I will often start unplugging the heat for a few hours a day after about a week. The purpose is to start weaning them from the heat. If you do this, it will help to promote feathering out quicker. The longest I would ever use the lamp is three weeks. Unless it's really cold outside, most times I eliminate the heat by 2 weeks.
Hope this helps.
 

ChickyLaura

The Crazy Chicken Lady
11 Years
Mar 31, 2009
1,176
19
196
Eastern/Central PA
I have my first "batch" of meaties in the brooder right now. I bought 10, 1 died I think because I didn't have the brooder quite warm enough so they were huddling and I think that one got trampled.

Anyway, these birds are a little over 2 weeks old and I still have them in the "laundry room brooder". They are very active! They are doing well where I have them, so I'm going to play it by ear as to when to move them outside to their next brooder/coop. So far they aren't too messy, I just keep the shavings clean. They are very inquisitive. I bought 2 meaties by accident when I first started with chicks, and this batch seems different to me.

I still have them on feed 24 hours a day, but I fill up the feeder up once and once it's out, it's out until I fill it in the evening. It seems to be emptying out quicker lately, though!
 

MANNA-PRO

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