Lessons learned the hard way....color matters!!

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by BirdBrain, Feb 19, 2009.

  1. BirdBrain

    BirdBrain Prefers Frozen Tail Feathers

    May 7, 2007
    Alaska
    I have a bunch of cornish X that are 4 weeks old. Last week I had a bird whose skin was a deep red...almost purple. He was sitting around with eyes closed. I decided he was about to kick the bucket so we brought him in and had a delicious meal of chicken the next night. I thought I was home free with only a couple of weeks left. I had another whose skin was deepening in color but showed no particular sign of distress. I thought I had a few more days. This morning he was dead on his back and someone had obviously used him as a pillow because he was about as flat as a fat bird can get.

    Moral of the story: If your meat bird starts getting a darker hew than his flock mates, consider having chicken that night or you may not get to eat him at all.
     
  2. Brunty_Farms

    Brunty_Farms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 29, 2007
    Ohio
    They are having heart attacks. That purple/bluish hue to their face is a dead give away.

    What and how are you feeding? 24/7?
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2009
  3. BirdBrain

    BirdBrain Prefers Frozen Tail Feathers

    May 7, 2007
    Alaska
    20% ration 24/7. At this point is is worth withholding feed at night, or just keep going?
     
  4. Brunty_Farms

    Brunty_Farms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No definately slow them down to a 12 hour on 12 hour off feeding scedule. Your lucky they havn't started to flip sooner. They will still grow fine and very quick but the resting period does wonders for them.
     
  5. sugarbush

    sugarbush Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 24, 2008
    Lexington KY
    20% is way too high, 16 is the highest I like to feed, but usually I have to settle for 18%. I feed 24/7 at the lower % rate and when forced to buy higher I feed 12/7 and remove food at night. You may have to butcher several more over the next couple of weeks, but I think it is too late to worry about cutting back on their feed.
     
  6. jaku

    jaku Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:For meat birds?? I've never heard of anyone feeding LOWER than 20%
     
  7. cariboujaguar

    cariboujaguar Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 14, 2009
    Mississippi
    Wow, a never ending learning curve here... heart attacks, that's crazy I never would have considered that... I appreciate all this information so much! So by 20% are you reffering to a chicken specific feed or do you feed a general grain for meat birds?
     
  8. BirdBrain

    BirdBrain Prefers Frozen Tail Feathers

    May 7, 2007
    Alaska
    Yeah, Broiler feed is typically 20% protein. I use Purina's Sunfresh line.
     
  9. sugarbush

    sugarbush Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 24, 2008
    Lexington KY
    Quote:If you are feeding 20-22% it is because you are using starter/grower. I only use that the first week and then I switch them to a grower/finisher

    Agway's grower finisher is the highest at 18%
    Tractor Supplies is 15% and so is Blue Seals
    I haven't ever used Purina so I don't know what theirs runs.

    The usefullness of the protein is dependant on the lysine level. Too little lysine and the protein is wasted and too much and the birds get far too much protein. This is why one person can feed 20% from one company and never have a problem with them going criple or having heart attacks and another person can feed 20% from another company and have all their birds drop dead. I like to use a lower protein with about 0.80% lysine and not have to remove feed every day.

    But I only started raising broilers 16 years ago so what do I know;)
     
  10. Brunty_Farms

    Brunty_Farms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you are feeding 20-22% it is because you are using starter/grower.

    This is a funny topic among broiler growers both commercial and "backyard". The normal time you put a dual purpose chick on starter/grower is usually 8 weeks before you start the 18 percent grower ration.

    Now what makes this any different for broilers? Broilers are nothing but giant baby chick at 6 weeks old. The only difference is they pack on 4 times the amount of weight in the same time. They need the higher protein to thrive. If they do not have it they become weak and brittle from the lower protein.

    I honestly think the 20% is too low. It will work just fine but I try not to use anything under 24% from start to finish. Everyone is different and everyone uses different feed ingredients. I'm fortunate enough to have mine specially milled to my specifications. I can tell when something is screwed up by the way the birds preform.

    What a lot of people forget with broilers is they mis-interpret their size for age. Just because they are bigger than an average adult dual purpose at 6 weeks doesn't make them have the same nutrition needs. BUT if you choose to feed a high octane feed such as 24% you need to put them on a schedule because they will eat themselves to heart attacks which is what started this discussion.

    Now in defense of Sugarbush, if you decide to go with a 15% protein you will be allowed to feed 24/7 as this will slow their growth down tremendously. But you still may get some that flip as it's important for these birds to have a resting period. I raise mine spring though fall and use the natural daylight as my clock.... when the sun comes up they get feed, when it goes down they go to sleep. Simple as that, no taking away anything. Just make sure they have feed at sunrise.​
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2009

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