I think I gave my bird a heart attack!

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Tracydr, Aug 5, 2011.

  1. Tracydr

    Tracydr Chillin' With My Peeps

    Had my first real heart or heat related loss today. Have lost two earlier from leg problems. Tonight, I moved the crosses from their normal place, under the trees, into the chicken coop, because we had irrigation. A couple of the birds got pretty upset. I guess between the 110 degree heat and the stress of a slightly different place, it was too much. Luckily, I saw her going down and was actually able to process her before she had passed away, but it was really close.
    The thing I've noticed, and was wondering if anybody else has noticed this, is that the three that had issues were my three smallest birds. Much smaller than the rest of the group. It makes me wonder if they had genetic disorders that caused them to have weak legs, hearts, and to not grow as well as the rest, or if it's just coincidence. I mean, tonight's chicken had to be pretty hardy to have made it through June and July in Arizona heat.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2011
  2. SteveH

    SteveH Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 10, 2009
    West/Central IL
    Quote:What are you calling leg problems? My "failure to thrive" chicks have been the the first to display symptems of ascites by starting to be unable to stand or walk, but sometimes there are smaller ones on day one that seem to grow as well as any. When I culled a belly crawler last year, her legs prooved to be fine, but her body cavity was filled with fluid, and her heart was very soft and pale colored.
     
  3. Denninmi

    Denninmi Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,867
    15
    171
    Jul 26, 2009
    It seems to me that this entire breed is a genetic monstrosity to begin with. It's a backwards application of evolution -- things are supposed to evolve in a way that enhances the species' survival. Man has artificially manipulated the genes of this strain to promote rapid muscle growth at the detriment of all else, and the system just can't tolerate much of this.

    Glad you saw it happening so it wasn't a loss. I don't know about the "runt" thing, but your theory could be true.
     
  4. Tracydr

    Tracydr Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:What are you calling leg problems? My "failure to thrive" chicks have been the the first to display symptems of ascites by starting to be unable to stand or walk, but sometimes there are smaller ones on day one that seem to grow as well as any. When I culled a belly crawler last year, her legs prooved to be fine, but her body cavity was filled with fluid, and her heart was very soft and pale colored.

    The two with leg problems earlier both seemed to have slipped tendons. They acted like broken legs but when butchered, the legs appeared to be fine.
    The one last night did not have any ascites but did have a small heart. Her liver appeared normal. I could be missing ascites, since I'm new to processing chickens, but Gould think I could recognize a weak heart, being a doctor and all. I'm assuming with ascites you get a pretty fair amount of fluid when you pull out the intestines? Would the liver also look congested? Also, is the heart enlarged or smaller with the type of heart failure these birds tend to get?
    I did have farm animal anatomy in Undergrad because I was an Animal Sciences Major at CSU.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2011
  5. WishboneDawn

    WishboneDawn Out Of The Brooder

    99
    2
    31
    Jun 19, 2011
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    Quote:It's still evolution, we've just removed Natural Selection from the equation and replaced it with our own goals and objectives as we have with all domestic animals. I'm fairly new to keeping chickens (as an independant adult anyway [​IMG]) but from what I've managed to find out there's no artificial manipulation of genes with Cornish crosses and they are neither a separate species nor a special breed. They're a hybrid produced by essentially the same old fashioned methods by which we've developed most of our farm animals.

    Long term survival isn't an issue with Cornish crosses. People process at 8 to 12 weeks. From what I've read here and from my own limited experience they do quite well in that period of time. I've lost two of my 26. One was doomed from the beginning I think with a malformed vent and slow growth that pointed to more severe issues (I thinkyou're on to something OP). The other was likely our fault, possibly killed by a bit of a stampede during a badly done feeding. I haven't got experience with layers or heritage breeds but apparently, they die too. [​IMG] Granted, I know that we've had to handle our meaties differently from the layers we'll be getting in a few weeks but that's not a big deal. Each different types of farm animals requires different handling, even different kinds of chickens. Where I live, I couldn't hope to do well treating some heritage breeds of chickens as if they were cold hardy Chanteclers for instance.

    I'm a relative noob but as I watch my Cornish crosses free range around the our property, putting a healthy dent in the slug population and generously (sometimes too much so [​IMG]) distributing fertilizer everywhere and running to us with that unique frenzied waddle (which I think is super cute) every time we come out because they're just hoping we're there to feed them...Well, I can't think of them as monstrosities. I can happily think of them as dinner though. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2011
  6. Tracydr

    Tracydr Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:It's really not artificial genetic manipulation, if you mean gene modification, GMO. This is a hybrid breed, just like a black baldy cow, which you probably eat every time you have a hamburger or steak. I think, overall, the breed does amazingly well, given what we ask them to do. It's amazing how quickly they grow and how well they usually handle this. Every once in awhile, you get a weak one in the bunch. Heck, I usually lose a couple of Banties right off the bat almost every time I have a shipment or even from a hatch, just because they're so tiny. Or, how about breeds with lethal genes, like Arucanas? They die right in the egg.
    I'd love if everything about the Cornish X was perfect but it's not. I still don't consider it a monstrosity. It's a perfectly good breed for what it was designed for. There just happen to be some weak ones in every bunch.
    I do wonder how large the genetic pool is that they are working for with the Cornish X and if the weak legs/weak heart is something that is becoming a higher or lower incidence through the years.
    I also question the feed I've been using, Purina Flock Raiser. On my next batch, I'm going to see if I can find a premixed to add to a custom milled broiler ration. I wonder if the Purina feed is not fresh enough or not adequate for the rapid growth of the broilers. If nothing else, my next batch will be getting a vitamin supplement and extra amino acids, which I didn't do with this batch.
     
  7. MVchickens

    MVchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    159
    0
    99
    Dec 8, 2010
    Martha's Vineyard MA
    With proper care these birds should have no problems. Thats the end of it. All the horror stories you hear about the cx leg problems and heart failure are because they were not properly taken care of. I have only lost 2 cx and those were my fault, one got run over by the back of the tractor and the other got stuck under the feeder. If kept properly they will be as healthy as any other bird.
     
  8. WishboneDawn

    WishboneDawn Out Of The Brooder

    99
    2
    31
    Jun 19, 2011
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    Quote:This is the feeling I get. I think coming to them with little chicken experience actually worked in my favour. I read and read about them with no prejudice. They're not layers or heritage breeds and never will be but if you approach them on their own terms I've found they're perfectly fine guys to hang around. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2011
  9. myhubbycallsmechickeemama

    myhubbycallsmechickeemama Chillin' With My Peeps

    570
    12
    131
    May 9, 2011
    Arco, ID
    Quote:I'm sorry but I have to semi disagree with you here. If you have only a couple that develop leg or heart issues and the rest are completely healthy, no way can that reflect on the way you take care of them. If the majority are healthy how can you say that you are not taking proper care of them if you have one go down with leg issues. With my first batch I ended up butchering one at 4 weeks due to leg issues and the rest were completely healthy to butcher date. I took very good care of my birds!! I feel that genetics has to come into play a little bit here. In no way do I feel that they are a genetic monstrosity but feel that some are just predisposed to certain issues. The same can be said with every living thing as nothing is perfect!
     
  10. Tracydr

    Tracydr Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Well, I guess I could bring them in the house with the AC on and plant them in from of the TV on a diet. Can't help that it's 110 degrees outside and the added stress just did the bird in. Moving to a coop that was literally 20 feet from where they hang out on the ground was the least stressful thing that I could do for them, given that the yard was about to be flooded by six inches of water. I highly doubt this would have killed any of my layer and heritage breed fowl. As far as the leg problems, how do you prevent them? I was using 20% broiler feed and taking it away at night.
    I think they're great birds, for what they are but they will have problems, some of them, anyway. I like them for what they are. I don't feel like I've done anything wrong in the way I've taken care of them. I don't like that some people have raise a single batch and get lucky, then think have the answers to all of this breed's problems.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by