Lost about half my meaties in a week....??

LooseyGoosey

Chirping
5 Years
Mar 1, 2014
207
6
73
I am having SERIOUS issues with my meat birds. I ordered the cockerel package from Cackle and ended up with 100 of mostly orps, RIR, various production red breeds, and barred rocks.
They are about 5 weeks and were outgrowing their brooder, so I put them outside. THey are feathered out ( I restrict heat on a schedule to induce quicker feathering) and it was fairly warm out. Well, the first night I had them in the coop and they smushed one to death against the door.
Next night, a raven got two of them, left one pile of feathers and one with a broken leg.
Next day, I find three more dead for no apparent reason but based on where I found them I am going to guess they got smushed in the night. I can honestly say this has never happened before, but you learn and move on, right?

So then literally twenty minutes ago, I wet out to feed them. The 80 or so that I had left had literally ALL stuffed themselves into a wire dog crate (apparently they hate the rain so much they would rather die than get wet???) and FOURTEEN of them were crammed so hard into it that they were dead.

Am I cursed, or what?? I have never had ANY experience like this with ANY chickens. Maybe I should avoid the cheapie cockerels and spring for CX next year.

 

thriftyfarmer

In the Brooder
6 Years
Aug 24, 2013
40
9
31
Do they have access to an area that offers protection from the weather? (Besides the dog crate) Do they have a coop?
 

LooseyGoosey

Chirping
5 Years
Mar 1, 2014
207
6
73
Quote:Yes, they have coop access and a desk covered in a tarp as well that they can go under to take shelter quickly. I have NO IDEA why they all went into the dog crate. Such a strange experience.
 

thriftyfarmer

In the Brooder
6 Years
Aug 24, 2013
40
9
31
That is strange. I've had turkeys pile up during a storm, but never chickens. I wonder if something scared them?
 

misbhaven

Songster
6 Years
Jan 14, 2014
918
60
118
My cx's went outside at 4 weeks into. A wire pen wrapped in a tarp with a xlarge dogloo in it with a heat lamp at night until 6 weeks old.. granted there is only 8 (5 now processed 3 when they got to 8lbs live weight) and 3 pekins. They free range my garden but I can't picture 100 or even 40 in a dog crate...I see you have another covered area do you have multiple heat sources if they get damp at that age they are probably piling for warmth..I understand you want then to feather out but I would supply at least 2 heat sources for. That many birds for low night time temps or bad weather.
 

LooseyGoosey

Chirping
5 Years
Mar 1, 2014
207
6
73
My cx's went outside at 4 weeks into. A wire pen wrapped in a tarp with a xlarge dogloo in it with a heat lamp at night until 6 weeks old.. granted there is only 8 (5 now processed 3 when they got to 8lbs live weight) and 3 pekins. They free range my garden but I can't picture 100 or even 40 in a dog crate...I see you have another covered area do you have multiple heat sources if they get damp at that age they are probably piling for warmth..I understand you want then to feather out but I would supply at least 2 heat sources for. That many birds for low night time temps or bad weather.
I don't do outdoor heat sources. They were without a heat source INSIDE for the last two weeks almost. I go by whether they huddle or not. It was drizzling out, but it was fairly warm out anyways. They had been out in the rain two days before and hadn't done anything stupid so I assumed they were fine.
Like I said, they have access to the coop (which is big enough for everyone) and an entire LARGE desk that is completely covered by a tarp and pushed against the house so it offers perfect protection. I cannot even begin to understand why they did what they did. I'm seriously at a loss. I don't even think they were necessarily trying to huddle - I honestly think they were just all getting out of the rain. And with this many. I notice that they are WAY more like lemmings than when you have a straight run flock off 20 or so.
 

Mac14

Songster
7 Years
Jul 21, 2012
2,200
46
191
Northern California
I don't do outdoor heat sources. They were without a heat source INSIDE for the last two weeks almost. I go by whether they huddle or not. It was drizzling out, but it was fairly warm out anyways. They had been out in the rain two days before and hadn't done anything stupid so I assumed they were fine.
Like I said, they have access to the coop (which is big enough for everyone) and an entire LARGE desk that is completely covered by a tarp and pushed against the house so it offers perfect protection. I cannot even begin to understand why they did what they did. I'm seriously at a loss. I don't even think they were necessarily trying to huddle - I honestly think they were just all getting out of the rain. And with this many. I notice that they are WAY more like lemmings than when you have a straight run flock off 20 or so.
Ya, probably like 'follow the leader' maybe. Sorry about your losses.
 
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