Need advice if anyone has a moment.

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by MMPoultryFarms, Jul 3, 2010.

  1. MMPoultryFarms

    MMPoultryFarms Songster

    Jun 21, 2010
    Okarche Oklahoma
    As some of you know I had a phase there where I lost 20 chicks Cornish cross. To some unknown death 1-2 birds just dropped dead each day faithfully. I had them In a small pen about 10x20 this was there free range yard to 50 chicks. I contacted the hatchery and this is what he said.
    "I can tell by the photos that those are Cornish Rock Crosses. A couple of things stand out to me and I will try to include them with the most description that I can.

    You might see better results if they had a little less room to roam. By the photos they have a large area to consume and are not constantly pressured with food and water. If you could contain them a little and have them closer to feed and water sources I believe you would see much better results. I know you would like to free range your chickens and still could but provide them some smaller boundaries. You want to give the Cornish Rock Cross as much access to feed and water as possible. They are one of the most efficient animals for feed to gain ratio, and the more access to feed and water they have, the less they will have to burn to get it. You probably would minimize loss as well because they would be subject to less variables.

    Depending on temperature in your area, the Cornish Rock Cross will thrive in a very comfortable environment. I see they have plenty of access to shade which is great, but I would almost want to provide that to them all day. A guide I like to go by for the Cornish Cross is, if you are comfortable then they are comfortable. Especially in the hot days that we are going to start seeing, I would try to make them as comfortable as possible within their boundaries by use of fans etc., which would also help in reduction of loss.

    I would also go ahead and allow them full access to feed. I would not hold feed back normally until the last week to two weeks before processing and depending on size. This would give them the opportunity to gain weight very fast during their high growth periods which should be between week 2 and week 6. You can give them 3 days of antibiotic now just to flush the system and start anew and allow them full access to feed. "

    The ironic part of this is thats exactly what i was doing when the birds started dieing off so much. I sense moved them to the big yard with all my other birds and have yet to lose one. this was my responce.

    "I am tad bit confused I started these birds on 24 hour feed in a nice sized but not to roomy coop with access to only a small yard it was at that time that the birds were Dieing one a day, Since i have begun free ranging them I havent lost one single bird is this because I was doing something wrong at first. Or simply a heat issue temps were almost 100 degrees with a 70% humidity then. Could it possibly have been Cocci?"

    I know cornish do better in small confinement with constant food in there face but at the same time without air conditioning perhaps I was causeing them heart attacks? After hours of research I read best way to keep them alive is to put them on a 12 on 12 off diet slowing down there growth process to around 8-10 weeks and keeping water seperated from food to cause them to have to exercise some.

    I have decided to buy another lot of 25 and test this with your idea as well to see my Life over death ratio was just a matter of chance vs neglect. any info or thoughts would be most welcome and thanks Ross for taking the time. I added some pics of there coop yard and away view so you can see how small it is its the fence behind the watermelon patch. also a list of my custom feed."
    Well we can rule out cocci, as the state inspector came and tested my whole flock and I am clean of everything. Did i just get bad birds Or is there something i am missing? It was my first time to try meat birds but there in demand here and I need to find a successful way to farm these birds to thrive in this community. any help or advice would be appreciated.
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2010
  2. sunflowerenvy

    sunflowerenvy Songster

    Apr 4, 2010
    south/west tn
    sorry about your loss.
    i would clean out the pen and sterilize it first, then i spend lime into the run.if you have young chicks under 4weeks old i would make the run about5 sq ft could u just put up a wire fence and keep moving it back then 10 ft at 8weeks and add more feeders n waters in the runs n coops
  3. MMPoultryFarms

    MMPoultryFarms Songster

    Jun 21, 2010
    Okarche Oklahoma
    Quote:I use roccal D plus to disinfect. Also I dont use runs I use 2 fish tanks to start chicks till 2 weeks old then I use build Brooders that are aprox 5x5 theres 2 built there. here is some pics [​IMG]
    [​IMG] [​IMG] after 2 weeks birds are moved to these brooders here and remain there till 4-5 weeks old there are access doors that I open at 5 weeks to allow them to free range in a small yard that I grow milo in. that yard it is a 10 x 10 yard hope this helps give you an idea
  4. Bossroo

    Bossroo Songster

    Jun 15, 2008
    I would suspect it was the heat . The Cornish X has the most efficient feed conversion rate in all of chickendom. They were selectively bred for this characteristic for over 60 years... they consume large quantites of feed in a short period of time that allows them to grow very fast, this causes their bodies to produce copeous amounts of body heat , add rapily elevating environmental temps = overheating stress then death. The rest of the crowd only consumes limited amounts of feed as their metabilism is much lower, so they produce less body heat and grow much slower. I would limit their feed to 12 hours on full feed / 12 off. after 2 weeks of age, (daily adjust amount of feed as they need for growth) give them space between birds as well as air movement ( shade + fans if needed) to disipate the heat, let them excercise some, provide as much feeder space so the birds are not crowded , ALWAYS provide cool water at all times. Keep in mind... Billions of these Cornish X chickens are produced annually in optimum growing conditions for these birds' needs. Mimic these conditions as closely as you can under your housing and environmental conditions . Understading and implementing this simple principal and you will have great success. As the old Scottish saying goes... " The eye of the master, fattens the cattle. "
  5. MMPoultryFarms

    MMPoultryFarms Songster

    Jun 21, 2010
    Okarche Oklahoma
    Quote:How do you cool a bird that goes outside I have been using Frozen corn cobs, Frozen jugs of water scattered about on my whole yard, also frozen watermelon rinds, theres fans inside the barns but not in the yards and my yard is surrounded by trees so there is definatly good shade. anything else i am missing?
  6. Lots of cold water to drink. YOu can put the plastic waterer top half full like a cup in the freezer, then in the morning, fill the other half with water, screw the lid on, flip over and voila! Ice water!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by