OK, at two weeks into this, I feel kind of sorry for the poor things.

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Denninmi, Jun 18, 2011.

  1. Denninmi

    Denninmi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2009
    All these Cornish Cross chickens do is lay around, pant, eat, drink, and lay around and pant. I've tried everything, cool to pleasant to warm, and they still pant. They jump on food the second I put it in the brooders, even though there is still food present. Then after stuffing themselves a few minutes, they lay down like they feel miserable, like some guy who had 3 desserts at Thanksgiving and now its time for a serious dose of Maalox or Pepto Bismol.

    I do feel sorry for them -- they just seem so uncomfortable all the time. I'm doing all I can to keep them comfortable, clean, and happy. Tomorrow, I'm going to put them outside in the shade in the afternoon on the grass and see if they enjoy that. I've got some cages that should work well for that purpose and keep them safe from predators.

    Honestly, I think the 8 week point will be a mercy for them if this is the kind of life genetics has forced them to live.
  2. ScaredOfShadows

    ScaredOfShadows Chillin' With My Peeps

    If they are that uncomfortable, over eating sounds like the issue ?? - put them on grass and limit their grain intake. This should help alot. I have had cornish birds and have had no issues keeping them - its either heat or over eating that causes them to pant and be miserable like your talking about.

    Grazing on pasture in a covered run with plenty of water and a sprinkling of feed a bit at a time (like throw a hand ful at a time throughout their tractor for a few minutes - this way they can't gorge and all get some feed) a few times a day. See how they do after a few days - should be alot more like 'chickens'
  3. Denninmi

    Denninmi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2009
    Thanks. They'll actually be two weeks old on Monday. I've read quite a few posts on here to feed them all they want the first two weeks, then to restrict feed to 12 hours and parcel it out during those 12 hours after that.

    I'll see if that helps.
  4. jenny_kap

    jenny_kap Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 20, 2011
    i took my cornish out when they were 5-6 days old. i put them into a cage for night and i cover it with a blanket, but not all the way, they have to have ventilation. during the day they run and eat and poo, they do what a chicken does and they are happy. take your chicken out, let them run in the grass and they will change their mood for sure. how would you feel to live into a cage that is getting smaller and smaller?
  5. Jschaaff

    Jschaaff Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2011
    New Hampshire
    I'm definitely in the get them outside on the grass, camp. At 2 weeks old, mine spend several hours a day minimum, and weather permitting, outside on the grass. They love it and travel ALL over the place (if you can't free range, and you're able to supervise incase of predators, bird fence attached to grade stakes creates a cheap fast "fence"/boundry to keep them in a particular area) By three weeks, mine are outside full time, free ranging during the day, tractored at night, with access to a heat lamp till they are feathered. I free feed, but the 12 hour/ or 24 is a personal choice and different things work for different folks.

    One thing that makes my little guys and gals really happy...from the day I pick them up at the feed store, they have a sandbox in their brooder. They LOVE playing in it!

  6. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    If you cut back on their feed a little bit, you won't actually lose any growth. Give them time to digest what is in their crop and not just push the food too fast through their system.

    True American birds: lay around, eat too much, get fat. Your birds seem to be lacking the required TV set, though.

    If they have been penned up, introduce exercise slowly. Their tendons won't be strong enough for a strenuous burst of activity from their large bodies until they build their muscles up. Just like human couch potatoes.

    I never had any problems with my Cornish X. They were raised just like chickens. I did not do anything special or different for them.

    You let them eat a few bugs, wander around a bit, and eat some grass and they will be so delicious you will find it to all be worth it.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2011
  7. erinchelsea

    erinchelsea Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2010
    Webster City, IA
    It was night and day how much better our birds looked when we put them outside at 3 weeks. Next time I will put them out earlier, but we were having some really chilly weather for awhile. They act like different birds when they have access to fresh air and grass. Yes, they do look miserable in the brooders IMO. Just sad!
  8. Denninmi

    Denninmi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2009
    I put them outside today in cages I have left over from breeding quail. They're decent sized cages, 3 x 2 feet and about 18" tall, and have wire bottoms. I just put then on the grass, which they could eat through the bottom. I had to move them mid-afternoon because they had already made a mess of the first area, but I expected that.

    Yes, they definitely perked up. I brought them back in for night, and will put them out in the day all week. By next week, it should be safe to leave them out at night, unless its going to be unexpectedly cold.
  9. triplepurpose

    triplepurpose Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 13, 2008
    Quote:As good a reason as any not to raise "meaties", or in any other way support the breeding of Cornish Cross... [​IMG]
    There are other, more humane (and better tasting) options...
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2011
  10. myhubbycallsmechickeemama

    myhubbycallsmechickeemama Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 9, 2011
    Arco, ID
    Quote:As good a reason as any not to raise "meaties", or in any other way support the breeding of Cornish Cross... [​IMG]
    There are other, more humane (and better tasting) options...

    My Cornish X seem to be very happy chickens. I never saw them acting miserable and we didn't lose one single bird. Tomorrow we are going to butcher and they will be 8 weeks old on Tuesday. They'll be much happier once you get them outside! [​IMG]

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