Meat Bird Chicks & Game Bird Starter, your thoughts?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Sunny Side Up, Feb 4, 2012.

  1. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

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    I've never raised Cornish Xs before, and wonder if it would be a good idea to give them Game Bird Starter as their first food. Someone from a feed store said that he always gave his meaties one bag of it at the beginning, and when they finished that he'd give them regular chick starter for the rest of their growth.

    What do you think? I know there are many varied opinions on feeding meaties. I don't want to buy a lot of specialty feed for them, and will be content with their results on regular chick starter. There are only 15 of them.

    But do you think the Game Bird Starter is a good idea? Or could it contribute to health issues later on? I'm willing to spring for a bag of it if it could be beneficial.
     
  2. mstricer

    mstricer Overrun With Chickens

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    I have always started mine on non-medicated start and grow and leave them on it the whole time. I never have leg issues or heart attacks. I think if you feed them a high protein to begin with, they grow fast and have issues, just my opinion.
    Michele
     
  3. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

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    I see no point in doing that, unless the game bird starter was cheaper.
     
  4. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

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    I learned that the hatchery these chicks came from recommends 20%-25% protein. Feeding 24 hours/day for the first week, withdrawing feed at night after that. That's what they said.

    Flock Raiser is 20%, Game Bird Starter is 30%, mix the two and get 25%. But yes, they are both more expensive than regular chick starter. [​IMG]

    I know that opinions, and individual results, do vary. I'm interested in hearing more.
     
  5. booker81

    booker81 Redneck Tech Girl

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    Higher protein will mean faster growth. With faster growth comes sooner processing time. On the flip side, faster growth can lead to an increase in heart and leg failure. The high protein can be augmented by withdrawing feed every 12 hours.

    Lower protein means slower growth. Processing time can be extended out a week or two to reach the same weight as high. You can still withhold feed at night if you choose to.

    Commercial wisdom is the faster to weight, the faster to process, and the less overhead to go from chick to dinner. The higher levels of protein possible without causing health issues is key to that goal.

    Personally, I stick with the 20-21% grower (can't remember right now what one it is) from the mill - because it's good quality, inexpensive and local. I feed round the clock, but they get lights out at dark when they are a couple weeks old, and don't seem to eat as much at night. If I let them eat until the feeder goes empty, and it's empty for an hour or so before I fill it, they act like they are starving and gorge. Even when I'm topping off the feeders, they flock to it and wolf down more food.

    Personally, if you have a good source of non-medicated, close to 20% feed available, start with that and stick with it. You can decide if you want to withhold or not. Make it easy on yourself :) It's a safe and easy road to go down. If you want to experiment with protein amounts weighed with increased weight gain and potentially increased health issues (not always, but it's a concern), that's probably best to do down the road after raising some with simple feed, water and housing. :)
     
  6. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

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    What I wonder is, how much is too much? I mean if 20% is good, why not 80%? At some point you have to have diminishing returns. What do the commercial growers use? That's the percentage I'd bet is the most advantageous.
     
  7. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

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    You make some good points, Booker81. These birds are just for our table, so their feed conversion isn't such a crucial issue. Of course I want them to stay in optimal health and grow as meaty as possible in the most economical way. I don't mind if they need an extra week or so of tending if they're eating the regular chick starter (I think it's 17%?).

    I did buy the Flock Raiser & the Game Bird Starter today, how would it be to give it to them now to get them off to a good-growing start, and switch to the chick starter when they've finished this?
     
  8. halo

    halo Got The Blues

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    I do what Booker does. I get the unmedicated 20% chick starter from a local mill, and they are on that from start to finish. I also keep feed in front of them 24/7, but of course they dont eat after dark. I have 7 left to process (maybe tomorrow) that are about 12 weeks old, they are huge, and sound like elephants coming at me when I go to the barn to throw out some scratch for them. Didnt lose a one to flip or leg problems.
     
  9. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

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    I wrote to Schlecht Hatchery http://schlechthatchery.com/ and got this reply:
    "We use a 23% protein. I feel 20% you can have trouble like no strength in their legs. Bone strength is important. If you have to take a 30% gamebird and mix it with a 20%. Half and half try this. Etta"

    There are no local mills near here, so I have to go with commercial feed. I will take their advice about their chicks and see what I think afterwards. I appreciate everyone's imput and will keep it in mind when I raise future batches of the CXs.
     
  10. 4-H chicken mom

    4-H chicken mom Overrun With Chickens

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    My DD always fed her cornish X's, that she raised for 4-H, Purina Poulty Showchow the entire time. I think it is 26%. She had the most awesome birds, with large breasts, beautiful feathering and great color. Although she never won grand, she did win reserve champion three years in a row. She is in college now so the meat birds we raise for ourselves don't get that feed anymore. Purina raised the price so much, it isn't cost affective. Now we just feed a 20% start and grow. Good luck! :thumbsup
     

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