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help! My birds are dying

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by JoyBelle, May 13, 2008.

  1. JoyBelle

    JoyBelle In the Brooder

    May 13, 2008
    We got about 15 Cornish X Rocks and Roasters (Meat 'n Egg package) from McMurray the beginning of March (9wks old). We have them in a large chicken yard w/ a leanto type coop. There are 15 other chicks and about 25 other chickens in the same yard. They all seem to get along just fine. There is still some grass from a recent yard expansion and they get to free range a few times a week.

    The problem is our meaties have been dying from practically the first week. They grow few, if any, feathers on their backside. It is almost like they split open back there. Anyone have experience with this? Are they still safe (before they die) to process for eating? What if anything can be done to help our poor little gals?

    Thanks & Blessings, JB
  2. living2ride

    living2ride Songster

    Feb 17, 2008
    It's time to butcher them. They are just going to continue to die off otherwise. That's just the way it is with the meat birds. For the most part, they seem to be a little bit "touchier" than the layers anyway, but once they get to about 8 weeks, they start fading even faster to either heart attacks or they get so big their legs can't support them. My neighbor and I both raised chicks last year. He let his go to 10 weeks and he lost about 15% of them. I had mine processed at 8 weeks and lost none. I planned to free-range mine, but they never ate anything but their feed, no matter what I gave them, and they never walked away from the feeder anyway. I've also heard of meat birds dying because the water was too far away from the food. They won't leave the feeder long enough to walk across the coop or yard to drink - if they even CAN walk that far. So you need to keep the water in very close proximity to the food. They are also more vulnerable to heat. High temps are really hard on them. Hope that helps.
  3. mmajw

    mmajw Songster

    Jan 31, 2008
    It is time to butcher them. They are known for Heart attacks and if you dont do it soon you could loose them all.
  4. JoyBelle

    JoyBelle In the Brooder

    May 13, 2008
    Thanks for your input. We're sending them to the freezer on Saturday.[​IMG]

    I think it is more than just their present size because backsides splitting has been happening since about 2 weeks old.

    We aren't sure we want to do this again because we don't know what this bottom splitting thing is and this was an expensive venture just to lose all but 4 chicks so far.[​IMG]

    Thanks & Blessings, JB
  5. mmajw

    mmajw Songster

    Jan 31, 2008
    I wouldnt give up. I know it is expensive to do but maybe it was just bad luck this time. I schedule my killing the day I get them so that I am sure to get them done in exactly 8 weeks. Any longer than that and they start dropping like flys.
  6. FutureChickenMan

    FutureChickenMan Songster

    Oct 29, 2007
    I agree, butcher them. I had four shipped by mistake. At 9 weeks two of them started having trouble walking. I put them to the cleaver. The other two are still around but they'll probably get the cleaver this weekend (10 weeks)

    The only other option you have, is to starve them (ration the feed) so they don't grow. But uh, that's more cruel then putting them to the cleaver.
  7. greyfields

    greyfields Crowing

    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    Lots of things could be going on here. Cornish Crosses just aren't vigorous birds and suffer from cocci and temperature fluctuations. The lack of feathering is entirely normal, though, that's not a symptom of anything going on.

    Also, you occassionally will get a bir who is a "vent picker" and will practically ream-out any bird it can get.

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