Meat birds dropping like flies!!

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by stargazer2014, May 19, 2011.

  1. stargazer2014

    stargazer2014 Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 17, 2011
    West Central Indiana
    I have some concerns about our meat birds. I've read all through the message and links, but I want to see if anyone with more experience than us comes to the same conclusion. This year is our first time having chickens, so I'm not so confident yet!

    Our jumbo cornish crosses arrived April 15. They seemed bigger than what I thought they would be, but I wrote that off to inexperience, and well, they grow amazing fast. Some had started to get pin feathers a few days later, and I began to wonder if we received 2-3 day old chicks. We lost 1 early on, but I figured that was normal, etc.

    So last weekend, at what should have been about 4 weeks, I found 2 dead in the tractor. They all had been acting fine, etc, but there were 2 dead. So then last night, we found 2 more dead. There was another one that looked as if it was on its way out, but it was still alive this morning and eating.

    This weekend, they should be at the 5 week mark, but they seem to be dropping like flies. We've disinfected, and we move the tractor every day, sometimes twice a day. It's been rainy and damp, but they seem to be pretty dry in their tractor. We've examined them as closely as we can, and they seem to be fine.

    I keep coming back to my conclusion that we did not receive 2-3 day old chicks, but perhaps ones that were a little older. This would make them much closer to processing time of 8 weeks, and indeed, my husband plans to start processing the biggest birds tomorrow, for fear we will loose more.

    I will try to post a pic from their first day at home this evening when I get home. I'm just hoping someone can offer some advice, or at least concur with our opinion that perhaps the end is near for these ladies and gents.

    Anyone? Thanks so much!!
     
  2. Buster52

    Buster52 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have never raised CX, but have read here that 10-20% loss is not uncommon, due mostly to their genetics.

    Seems folks here tend to try to slow their growth by restricting feed either by rationing or by feeding 12 on 12 off. Maybe that would help.
     
  3. stargazer2014

    stargazer2014 Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 17, 2011
    West Central Indiana
    We started doing 12/12 maybe a little over a week ago, I think. Maybe a little longer, not sure....

    I knew that loss would be common, of course, but they seem very large. I'll definitely post chick pics, and then a recent pic this evening.

    Thanks!
     
  4. AHappychick

    AHappychick Wanna-be Farmer

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    thats just the way they are. Some will die of heart falure before 6 weeks old. I dont do meaties any more but when I did I always culled the biggest first at 6 weeks or so and then processed a 1/3 each week after that always with the biggest first. Just try to keep them on clean grass for eating and moving around but they do grow at an alarming rate and can be a little gross to deal with in comparison to a normal chicken. I highly recomend Mt. Healthy Freedom rangers instead as they are normal birds that fill in in about 10-14 weeks but are much more fun to work with.

    Good Luck sounds like you are not doing anythiong wrong.
    [​IMG]
     
  5. bigredfeather

    bigredfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yorkshire, Ohio
    A 10-20% is not uncommon for first timers and inexpirienced folks, but that is by no means the way it is for everyone.

    If you have another one go down, make a little cut between the vent and the point of the breast. If a yellowish fluid comes out of the cavity, you're witnessing congestive heart failure. This is often the result of overfeeding, and can start happening at 4-5 weeks and older. I think your chicks where day olds when you got them. I know my hatchery hatches on Wednesdays and I get them on Thursday, and they often have their white wing feathers at delivery. Hatcheries typically won't take the chance of shipping older chicks, as with any breed, they don't do well unless shipped right away. If you haven't been restricting their feed, CHF is likely the cause of death.

    Please don't think this is the norm for this breed. If managed properly, they are a great breed to raise for meat. It will take a few batches to get some expirience under your belt. If you learn from your mistakes, you will be successful with the CX.
     
  6. stargazer2014

    stargazer2014 Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 17, 2011
    West Central Indiana
    Thank you so for the great advice everyone!

    So if CHF is the problem, due to overfeeding, when do you start feeding them 12 on and 12 off? Maybe we started that too late....
     
  7. Hot2Pot

    Hot2Pot Fox Hollow Rabbitry

    Feb 1, 2010
    West TN
    I was reading another post about black flies causing birds to drop dead. The flies get into the respiratory system. You might do a search on that.i think they also called them buffalo flies?
     
  8. bigredfeather

    bigredfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I start restricting feed at 2 weeks old. I have seen some hatcheries reccommend as soon as 5 days, and others say 10-14 days. I do not take away their feed, but limit the amount they get/day. Overfeeding is the most common cause, but CHF can also be due to nutritionally incomplete feed. That is harder to pin point, so just make sure your feed is more than just corn and bean meal.
     
  9. Buster52

    Buster52 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Geronimo Oklahoma
    Quote:Yeah, Jaku is quite the rookie. [​IMG]
     
  10. stargazer2014

    stargazer2014 Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 17, 2011
    West Central Indiana
    Quote:I start restricting feed at 2 weeks old. I have seen some hatcheries reccommend as soon as 5 days, and others say 10-14 days. I do not take away their feed, but limit the amount they get/day. Overfeeding is the most common cause, but CHF can also be due to nutritionally incomplete feed. That is harder to pin point, so just make sure your feed is more than just corn and bean meal.

    Thank you!

    I know we just started doing the 12/12 within the last 2 weeks or so. Maybe it is overfeeding then.
     

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