My Cornish X experiment

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by duluthralphie, Aug 2, 2014.

  1. duluthralphie

    duluthralphie Chicken Wrangler extrodinaire Premium Member

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    I ordered 25 CornishX's in mid July. I tried to get them at my local feed mill, but alas they were done with chicks for the year so I was forced to order from the hatchery.

    I was going to be going by the hatchery (which is way down south in Iowa) and wanted to stop by on my way home. I found out they do limited hatches of them. They had some hatching by the 30th of July. I Would have to go without or have them mailed. I really wanted them mid-July so they would not interfere with my pheasants I have hatching August 6th.

    But I found a solution, I build another brooder, and my Wife never noticed it!

    My plan with the X's is to raise them in the brooder for 2 weeks then turn them loose in a paddock. I will be throwing scratch on the ground and feeding them for a short time each evening. Moving them to free range with limited food by week 3.


    They were to arrive on July 31. they did not. They arrived on August 1st. all were in good shape but thirsty. They took to the water right away.

    I ordered 25 and got 26. As of this AM they are still alive. I threw a little feed on the "red" paper I have lining the brooder for them. They immediately pecked at it and by last night were eating out of the feeder. Pooping appears good.

    I would like to weigh them but am unsure how to do it. I do not want to base weight gains on one chick and have no idea how to tell them apart. I think bands would be awkward and dangerous at the rate they grow. Any Ideas?

    Here they are freshly arrived:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    BTW this is as much for my benefit as anyone else, I want a record of what I am doing with them, this seems a good place to keep it and I can get input from others If I make an error.


    For those of you concerned this is against the nature of these birds, I will not starve them or allow them to get too big to walk, etc. I will gladly put any chick that seems distressed into the freezer. I harvested 23 CornishX's in July 12th. I let them eat as much as they wanted and was forced to process them then as they were starting to have ascites and heart attacks. They taste great but are no different than golden plump birds from Walmart. I want to make a bird that tastes more like the birds I remember from 50 years ago when I was a kid.


    I do have some other "heavies" I am raising for meat also, but they are free ranging. HOWEVER, I am really interested in what I can do with these birds!


    Thanks for reading if your still with me.
     
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  2. JacobH

    JacobH In the Brooder

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    Awesome. We have 24 still happy and healthy at almost two weeks. They've been inside until now, but we can't take them any more so we're going to move them to an outdoor brooder. How do you feel about putting them outside when not fully feathered? Think they'll be ok? Our lows are in the upper 60's right now.

    Also, you might look into fermented feed if you aren't already. Saves a bundle on feed and they're much much healthier in my eyes.

    Glad to be following your journey!
     
  3. Mohawk Chickens

    Mohawk Chickens In the Brooder

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    I had a few white bundles that needed differentiating at the early weeks. I used edible food dye on their backs. Just reapplied as it wore off. No noticeable harm done... I have 6 meats ready for the freezer, need to find a good place to have it done.
     
  4. duluthralphie

    duluthralphie Chicken Wrangler extrodinaire Premium Member

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    I plan to turn mine out at 2 weeks. It gets chillier here than where you are. I have a small "brooder" that I can attach a "tractor" to. I will put a small light in the brooder for them. Even the ones I butchered at 6 weeks Where not fully feathered out. I will play it by ear, with input from people here. The last batch I raised I had a couple that went outside, I raised them with my other chicks. However, they did not go too far outside. The one that did was jumping for a leaf on a shrub by my paddock and it keeled over from a heart attack as I watched it. ( that was when I decided it was freezer time.)

    I have never tried or done ferment feed. I have read about it here , but I think I will wait until this experiment is over before trying another. I am currently feeding them 24% game bird feed.(starter)

    Which I just took away from them for the first time. I am going to do 12 hours on, 12 off this week. I will cut it down next week and feed them some scratch so realize they food is not only in a feeder.




    Excellent Idea! I wonder if magic marker would work. I could mark 5 of them and weigh the same 5 each time. I did 24 by myself out of the last bunch, I skinned them instead of plucking them, ( and I have a plucking machine...... However. because of the way they just sat by the feeders eating at one end and pooping out the other, coupled with their lack of feathers..... I just could not stomach the idea of eating their skin!!!! ewwwww

    I am hoping free ranging will make a cleaner bird. Even cleaning the coop ever other day and picking up every day made them look unappetizing,

    Their only exercise was the 3 foot walk from the feeder to the waterer for some of them.

    How old are your mealies? Good luck on cleaning them.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2014
  5. DelcoChix

    DelcoChix Songster

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    For marking meaties try different colored pipe cleaners or plastic wire ties--we've taken the white/clear plastic ties and colored them with different colored makers. Just have to make sure they are looser on their legs, especilly if you put them on when chicks are younger. We mark my dd's fair market project birds with the plastic ties, but put them on when they are about 5-6 weeks old to narrow down the ones who are in the running for her market pen of three...
    Good luck--sounds like an interesting experiment!
     
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  6. duluthralphie

    duluthralphie Chicken Wrangler extrodinaire Premium Member

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    Thanks I will see if I can get some pipe cleaners. I have wire ties but I worry when I use them.

    When I checked the little cuties this morning, one had died. I have no idea why. Everyone else looked happy and healthy. When I first looked in on them I must have scared a moth from near the heat lamp. One of the chicks took after it like a real chicken does. It did not catch the moth, but chasing it was a good sign.

    I placed the fed back in the brooder with them and all except 3 were on it immediately. The 3 took a little longer.

    Before I placed the feed in the brooder, most of the chicks were walking around pecking at spots and dried poop on the red paper. Another sign they might forage. The red paper comes out today, then they will have to navigate the wood chips.
     
  7. JacobH

    JacobH In the Brooder

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    Mine act just like regular chickens. I'm convinced that most of the negative feedback comes from people who treat them just like Tyson does from the start. They feed them 24/7, put their water right next to the feeder, and then complain and whine when their birds won't move 2 feet. I've been letting mine play outside off and on when the weather is nice, and they chase bugs, dust bathe, scratch around like crazy, etc. I say that if you just want feed to weight conversion, then don't complain about how the birds act. You're buying birds that are bred just for that purpose! But if you want a healthy, happy chicken, then you need to take proactive steps toward that end. Mine get fed 2-3 times a day, and only as much as they'll eat pretty quick. When they're done, they walk away and leave some feed behind. They do take a nap after eating, but within 30 minutes they're up and scratching like crazy through the wood chips and chasing one another around. They have a bad habit of jumping up and biting their wire roof, which makes a loud bang and scares everyone to death. But it's hilarious for me.

    Anyway. Back to the topic. We had 3 die in the first week. Two of those arrived looking pretty rough. The other started to deteriorate pretty soon after he got here. They were all small. We expected to lose some though, and we're still +1 on the extras they sent. I have found that if they're gonna pass, they do so pretty quickly. Haven't had a problem since.
     
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  8. duluthralphie

    duluthralphie Chicken Wrangler extrodinaire Premium Member

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    How old are your chicks?


    Please keep me informed how they are doing, what you do right or wrong..

    Thanks
     
  9. JacobH

    JacobH In the Brooder

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    2 weeks. Moved them to the outdoor brooder last night. It got down to the 60's and they were definitely too cold, all huddled in a corner, so i moved their heat lamp out there. All are happy now.
     
  10. chickenhound

    chickenhound Chirping

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    Hello Jacob H and Deluthralphie. Good luck with your meat birds. As I stated in a previous post, I raised three Cornish X birds and they were less than what I would call ambitious when it comes to foraging. I hope the free ranging thing works out for both of you, I just hope you don't end up with something that has the consistency of shoe leather. I am all for free ranging chickens but it just seems to me that for a meat bird you would want to limit its exercise. Don' t get me wrong, I wish you both well and hope in the end that you get the product that you are expecting. I will follow this thread so please keep us posted on your progress and how the birds turned out at the end. Maybe you can convince me after all that it is a good idea.[​IMG] . Best of luck to both of you from Northeast Pa.
     

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