Need help with slow-growing Cornish X, please!

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by WalkingOnSunshine, Oct 10, 2014.

  1. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Crowing

    Apr 8, 2008
    We have a batch of two dozen male CX that aren't growing well. They are from Townline, hatched September 8. Brooded in the barn on chick starter for two weeks, then moved outside to a largh pen. They have a calf hutch for shelter with a heat lamp inside for warmth. They are eating a 23% wet mash that the local mill mixes for us, 12 on, 12 hours off. We've done this before, and our birds usually dress out to just about five pounds for a male at eight weeks.

    The birds look fine, but small. Their average weight on Wednesday was 2.8 lbs, which is almost a pound low from where I expect them to be. They're healthy, they run around like little idiots, they eat like pigs--in short, they look like every other batch of CX I've ever done except for the weight. We lost one bird randomly at four days, and we have one that has some congenital leg problems, but is getting around for now.

    The only differences I can think of are that this year we ordered from Townline instead of Meyer (but I doubt genetics is the problem), that we're growing them in the fall instead of early spring, and that they got their coccidiostat in their water instead of medicated feed.

    Anyone have any ideas? I'm grumpy because I'm going to have to change their date with the processor unless they start growing a bit faster.
  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Crowing

    Apr 8, 2013
    Quote: A possibility, even if you don't see any obvious symptoms... They're only guidelines after all, not golden rules.

    Hypothyroidism is another potential cause, but one would expect them to be plumper in that case. Also not a golden rule.

    Dwarfism is a common genetic trait of hatchery Cornish X's and other meat birds, from what I've read, normally they're culled on sight but who knows what if any controls are in place when they're being sold very young, not grown out to the size/age you can spot dwarves at by the same people usually responsible for culling out dwarves.

    Best wishes.
  3. CrazyTalk

    CrazyTalk Songster

    Jun 10, 2014
    Typically with CornishX, the dam line is genetic dwarfs (lay better, eat less food) - the CornishX themselves would be heterozygous, and shouldn't display any dwarfing traits - I'd be really surprised if you got a dwarf from a hatchery (as that would mean the sire lines are all messed up).

    Where all of them are growing slowly, I'd suspect food especially with it being a local mill (local mills produce some great products, but are more prone to inconsistency).

    If you're expecting 5lbs at 8 weeks (they're usually close to 8-10lbs at that point), and behind the ball, then you're way behind the ball.

    Townline may have a different strain than Meyer, but you're way too far behind for it to be that (the growth rate would put the company out of business) . I could see them spending more energy putting on feathers in the fall, instead of bulk, but it's still not enough - in my mind, there has to be something wrong with the food.
  4. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Crowing

    Apr 8, 2008
    I'm sure it isn't dwarfism. Id have noticed as soon as the chicks came. But they're not that far behind--it's the difference between male and female at this age. They are the same weight as a female at this age but are all male. You'll never get a 10 pound bird dressed weight at eight weeks. Five to six pounds dressed weight is normal at eight weeks.

    You're probably right that the feed is at fault. There's no good broiler feed around us, it's either 4-H show feed at $30/bag or have your own mixed, unfortunately.
  5. miken56

    miken56 Chirping

    Apr 28, 2012
    I had the same thing happen from Norfolk hatchery I tried. Only ended up with 3-4 pound birds at 8 weeks. They fell out of the bottom of the cones and everything they were so small. Very disappointing. Also they were more active like yours but it seems like they were inferior genetics and never grew decent like other years. This year I went with Hoover hatchery again and had 5-6 pound dressed birds at 8 weeks. VERY pleased. So much for getting chicks for $.86 instead of $1.60. Never try to go cheap again.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2014
  6. laseterlass

    laseterlass Songster

    May 13, 2011
    Anchorage Alaska
    Mine are 3.25 lbs at 5 weeks. I am surmising that is good? They eat scratch and peck non GMO organic starter,broiler and curdled goats milk. Its getting cold here. They are feathered well.[​IMG]

    They are from Cackle.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2014

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