Losing another rescue meatie - thinking outloud

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by gritsar, Jul 11, 2010.

  1. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    I have 18 cornish Xs sharing the brooder with my 13 layer chicks. My layer chicks are almost 5 weeks old, the meaties are about the same. The cornish Xs were rescues and I intend to raise them as part of my free range layer flock. Before you say it can't be done, I have some very good reasons to believe that it can be done.

    I have no problem with anyone that only raises the cornish Xs for meat, I eat meat myself; including chicken. Nobody is starving in the brooder. Most of the layer chicks get in and out of the brooder at will and run around the porch all day. There's feeders and waterers available in the brooder and on the porch. Everyone gets a little free range time in the evenings. The layer chicks and several of the meaties do so willingly. I have to force a few of the meaties out the door, but they seem to enjoy it once out.
    Everyone is eating chick starter. The empty bag has been discarded, so I can't recall the protein %, but it's your run-of-the-mill chick starter. They'll all be eating 18% grower as of today.

    I can divide the meaties into three categories - there's the little ones, not much bigger than your average 2-3 wk. old chick. The middle ones, the same size as my EEs/turkens/speckled sussex chicks and very active. Then there's the big'uns. Four, all cockerels, two are very active, two are content to sit in the brooder all day. They are the size of the average 6 to 8 week old layer chicks. There's one of the middle ones that I am very attached to, but I'm not too worried about her. In size she is identical to my SS chicks and she loves to run and bug hunt, dustbathe, etc.

    If I was losing the big'uns I could understand it. However it's the small ones that are dying. I lost one the other day and another is going down now. Full crops at the end of the day, but it doesn't seem to be helping them to grow. They just stop eating, still drink water, but eventually just go to sleep and never wake up again.

    Any input would be appreciated. Do I just have to accept the fact that some of these commercial house culls were just not destined to grow and thrive?
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I have not seen all your posts on this and do not know why these are culls. You knew when you took them in that you were taking a big chance. If you get a few to make it I think you will have done well and I'd expect it to be the middle sized ones. Good luck!
     
  3. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    Quote:Ridge, they were culled for not growing fast enough to suit Tyson. They do several culls in the commercial houses during the six to eight weeks they grow them. These chicks are from the 3 week cull period (I'm fairly certain).
    If when it's all said and done, if I could end up with Gracie (my active, lovable middle child) and Baby, one of the big roos, but pretty dang active for a meat bird; and the rest of the middle children I'd be a happy camper.
     
  4. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    Well the littlest one is still hanging in there, as of today. Watching them outside yesterday she just looks so tiny sitting next to the big ol' cockerel she's buddies with.
    I am hoping that my biggest cockerel "Baby" makes it. Yes he's large, but he's also active. Hasn't figured out how to catch crickets and grasshoppers on his own yet, so he follows me around and begs me to catch them for him. [​IMG]
     
  5. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Are they able to access the food? Competition?

    And I'd get them into separate quarters asap and clean the coop- you may have disease brewing...
     
  6. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Gritsar, it is possible that these smaller chicks evidenced "failure to thrive" due to congenital heart problems. In a large population like a meat bird operation the chances of genetic anomalies increases simply because of the numbers present. In dogs, I know that with certain congenital heart conditions pups will grow to a certain point, hit a plateau, and then deteriorate. This happens because their heart is no longer able to support their size. Something similar could be happening with these chicks. I doubt that it is an infectious disease situation. Leaning strongly towards genetic problems. Regardless of the scenario, the time with you has been the best time of their lives. You bought them a little freedom. Kudos!
     
  7. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    Quote:Failure to thrive is the way I'm leaning at this point. That's the whole reason they were culls. No longer on the (what DH calls) high-powered or hot feed, the majority on them are growing at a slow steady pace; which is exactly what I want.
    The tiny ones get plenty of opportunity to eat. I have a total of six feeders, 2 - 17 lb. and 2 chick troughs, in the brooder itself, plus two more chick troughs on the screened porch. A total of 5 gallons for waterers in the brooder, two quart waterers on the porch.
    Getting ready for free range time here and tonight I have a special treat for them. Wonder what the meaties will think of watermelon? [​IMG]
     

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