Obese Cornish Hens

Sarah Doss

In the Brooder
Jun 11, 2017
14
8
26
I am new to raising chickens and when I bought 2 adorable fuzzy chicks I was unaware of their unfortunate breed. I do not intend to butcher my 2 Cornish Hens they are pets. However, they appear to be so miserable at only 9 weeks old. Anna and Ernie are huge and want to eat all the time. The rest of my chicks are the same age. Is there a way to help them trim down so they don't die? Also, how often should I be feeding them all anyways? I keep 2 chick feeders out at all times. If I didn't the other girls wouldn't get to eat. I love all of them and want them to be healthy. They have lots of space to run around in and I close them up in their house at night.
 

Kiki

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I'm not sure that they are meant to live a long life?

I do know that meat bird "raisers" or "growers" restrict food for certain time periods so they don't kill themselves too fast. (over eat)

I'll look around for you, hopefully someone with real experience chimes in for you.
Welcome to BYC.
 

birdmanmax

Songster
Dec 27, 2016
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Central Michigan
I have free raged Cornish's with food only present at night and in the morning and they live much longer. But in all reality there not meant to live much longer then 8 to 12 weeks. I've had neighbors that tried to keep some Cornish's with food always present for more then the designated time and at around 6 or 7 months old the birds broke and dislocated their legs due to their insane weight. Yes you can keep them as pets but their diet needs to be restricted and have more foraging involved.
 

Kiki

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I have free raged Cornish's with food only present at night and in the morning and they live much longer. But in all reality there not meant to live much longer then 8 to 12 weeks. I neighbors tried to keep some Cornish's with food always present for more then the designated time and at around 6 or 7 months old the birds broke and dislocated their legs due to their insane weight. Yes you can keep them as pets but their diet needs to be restricted and have more foraging involved.
So you take the food up in the morning and then put it back at night time..right?
Thanks for chiming in.
 

Pork Pie

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I'd say that if you do not control food intake from hatch, then even trying to limit food at this age will not be particularly effective in prolonging their life to any great extent.
 

birdmanmax

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Dec 27, 2016
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Central Michigan
Exactly! But even then you may have to watch their weight. I have had Cornish's attempt to roost and fly up(they were unsuccessful but still attempted). I also agree with CTKen here I always started this process at about a week old.
 

Kiki

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Exactly! But even then you may have to watch their weight. I have had Cornish's attempt to roost and fly up(they were unsuccessful but still attempted). I also agree with CTKen here I always started this process at about a week old.
thanks.

So...there really isn't anything Op can do at this point to make them live longer.
 

birdmanmax

Songster
Dec 27, 2016
349
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126
Central Michigan
Sadly at this point I think they could live a few more months maybe a year but definitely not conformably. Cornish's are just not made to live very long. I know you don't want to butcher them but it'd be better for the birds sake. They will suffer no matter the dieting you put them thorough even when I dieted my birds we still butchered because it had to be done. Butcher those birds and get some new babies, some hardy heritage breeds that would make much better pets. The year is still young and there's plenty of warm weather to grow your chicks out.
 

drumstick diva

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It's really sad for the Cornish meat birds. Some folks have said they are very sweet and sociable. Others say they never take their beaks out of the feeder, that they smell.
 

Sarah Doss

In the Brooder
Jun 11, 2017
14
8
26
Anna is really sweet but both her and Ernie always eat. Yes they get so filthy and I have given them a bath before. What about my 3 other hens? Will they suffer from not having enough to eat if I take the food up during the day and have them forage? They are all about 9 weeks old. Thanks for all of your responses about my obese Cornish Hens.
 

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