I've a problem......

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by jacque, Nov 7, 2007.

  1. jacque

    jacque Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 7, 2007
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    I recently decided that since purchasing chicken at the store is not only expensive, but full of so many chemicals, it just isn't healthy anymore....I thought I'd try growing my own...

    The first batch of birds I got, had a large mortality rate....these birds were white broilers/Cornish X's....I purchased 73 and processed 51....The birds as explained to me were either a bad genetic batch or I fed, to high a protein, causing them to grow faster that the bird could keep up to....I would find the birds healthy at night and feet up in the morning.....heart attacks....

    The second batch, Cornish X's, which I have right now, are different....I lowered the protein at 3 wks. and all seemed well.....MISTAKEN THOUGHTS there....I have 4 birds currently, that appear healthy, are eating and drinking, but can't get up....Their legs are in front of them and they can't seem to straighten their legs out, to pick themselves up......I've checked them, nothing appears to be broken, they can sort of scoot themselves around on their bellies.....

    I am at a loss and I hope someone can explain this for me....any help would be greatly appreciated....Thankyou....
     
  2. greyfields

    greyfields Overrun With Chickens

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    This is a hotly debated topic here. The only scientific evidence I have found did not point to too much protein being the problem, but was too low levels of calcium and/or phosphorus being metabolized by the birds. This is made worse by the over-selection of parent stock for too fast of growth and not enough longevity.

    Some people on here will swear that by only feeding 12 hours per day, or by throtling-back the protein, that they have better results. However, it's impossible to compare considering the weather, feed, minerals in the ground, and living conditions amongst all of us here are vastly different.

    The general consensus is that with Cornish Crosses you're going to have inevitable high mortality. You can limit this by using medicated feeds if you want to go that route. Or, for a more sustainable solution, start looking for alterantives to the jumbo Cornish Cross. There aer some good options out there.

    Knowing you're in BC, you're probably dealing with rampant coccidiossis in the soil as we do west of the Cascades here. Your industrial Cornish Cross does not have the genetics for disease resistance than hertiage breed (or hertiage breed crosses) will ever have.
     
  3. greyfields

    greyfields Overrun With Chickens

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    I just stumbled across this ATTRA publication which explains what you are dealing with better:

    http://www.attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/poultry_genetics.html

    The only thing I would dispute is that I think you can and should try to develop your own strain of meat chicken for your location.
     
  4. FutureChickenMan

    FutureChickenMan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm glad somebody brought this topic up. I've been looking in to raising my own meat birds but decided that the jumbo x-rocks are just too "iffy". With that, I'm gonna take a stab at my own version of an x-rock next spring. (Barred Rock + Dark Cornish) I'm unaware of anyone here trying that combination, but my hope is for a full brested slower growing bird. We'll see how it goes.

    It seems most everything I've read about the jumbo xrock is that it grows way too fast and it's systems (digestive, respritory, etc) just cannot keep up with the growth rate. Then considering that the systems cannot keep up with that growth rate coupled with the possibility of disease, seems to me you're just asking for trouble.
     
  5. jacque

    jacque Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 7, 2007
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    If I was to give them some calcium would that help, and/or is it to late with the current 4? I'm not to sure if it would help the others but I could try adding it to their water....as a preventative....

    I'll take a trip down to the feed store in the morning and see what they might have.....

    I really believe that we had to become a chemist in balancing the feeds with our horses, but I'm beginning to think that it's even more now with these chickens....however, I'm not ready to throw the towel in yet.....[​IMG]
     
  6. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    It might be too late for the current four. I find that in large batches it is hard to keep track of individual birds so stuff like that happens. Good luck, you might just have some "game hens" to eat now.
     
  7. kstaven

    kstaven Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    You can cross the dorking to a cornish and end up with a good meaty bird that has the skeletal structure to handle the weight and lose the mortality issues. they mature a little slower but the dressed weight is great.

    Biggest problems with the meat birds these days is too much line breeding to get every last ounce out of the bird. They no longer have what it takes to really thrive outside a closed facility.

    Best to breed your own. I am in BC and do not have a problem with cocci at all.
     
  8. jacque

    jacque Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 7, 2007
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    kstaven, can you buy these birds from a hatchery? I don't have the knowledge or the time to breed my own...

    I also think that I'm going to check out some of the other breeds under dual purpose and see how that goes.....I really am not happy with these Cornish X's.....I've been looking at a Hatchery Book and see the the Barred Plymouth Rock, Rhode Island Red, Red Rock Cross, Columbian Rock, White Plymouth Rock and the Red Sussex Cross, may be an alternative....

    I have been thinking about expanding my Egg Layers, so, I could pick and choose with the dual purpose birds....

    Would these birds be healthier genetically than the Cornish X's? I don't mind if they are slower growing. I just have a problem with this Cornish variety....

    It makes you not want to go into the barn because it's a matter of how many gone today?
     
  9. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Dual purpose layers from hatcheries are hardly dual purpose. Look into slow cornish if you want white birds, or, look into "freedom rangers"
     
  10. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    I am raising 27 jumbo cornish x's from McMurray Hatchery. I planned to have my birds in the fall as opposed to feeding them out in the spring or summer. I felt that the cooler temps would be far less stressfull on them physically. I haven't carefully weighed out and measured exactly how much they are eating but I am paying attn to the quantities that I give.

    I started them out with starter crumbles. I fed them all they could eat during the day and took the feed away at night. They lived in my kitchen for 2 weeks then I moved them out to the barn with a heat lamp. I fed them several times a day and the last feeding was at 6pm when I started closing down the barn for the night.

    At 4 weeks I switched them over to grower ration and continuing with the same pattern.

    I have just this past week introduced some scratch grains to them and some cracked corn in the late evening as the temps are now down below 30 degrees F at night to help them generate some body heat. They are pretty well feathered out now and seem to be doing just fine. They eat well, run around far more than they lay around. They drink upwards of 6 gallons of water every day.

    I have a couple that live on the fringes of the flock. They sleep more, walk around less but as soon as the food comes out they are racing to beat the band to get their share. As far as the complete flock they are very active. Far more active than I expected them to be.

    So far I haven't lost any birds. Every morning I go out expecting to find one or more but so far every one of them is fine. 2 - 3 more weeks and we will begin to process them. They are good size now and probably weigh in at 3 or 4 pounds each.

    My experience with these has been real good so far. I hope it will continue to be.

    Good luck with your own meat flocks. I am sorry you lost so many.
     

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