ok, I was going to do meat birds but am now chicken!

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by OHChick, Jun 30, 2008.

  1. OHChick

    OHChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    381
    2
    149
    May 8, 2007
    i have been reading up on peoples progress with cornish Xs and it seems like so many people are having ones with spraddle leg and/or the chickens are dying before they can reach time for processing. is it really that hard to keep those cornish Xs alive? if so, am i better off to just get a 'broiler mix' from a local hatchery? i don't know what that would entail for breeds, it doesn't say other than that its not cornish Xs.

    does a 'broiler' not taste as good? we mainly use boneless, skinless breasts for cooking. i used to get mine from a friend's family member who raised the crosses but he passed away so i need to find a new source.
     
  2. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    24,442
    49
    371
    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    A cornish cross is a broiler. It is the product of a white cornish rooster and a white rock hen.

    They grow very fast. If they eat too much unrestricted they grow faster than their legs can support them. They are also more prone to death due to stress on their organs.

    These birds are ready to be processed at 8 weeks.

    The chickens in the grocery store have been perfect to be processed at 5- 6 weeks of age.

    Anything that grows that fast is bound to have some problems associated with it.

    With proper management and planning you have success.

    I raised mine last fall and no problems at all with leg problems, stress or deaths.
     
  3. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 26, 2007
    Longmont, CO
    Everything you do is a learning process. Just chalk up your first bunch of birds to Tuition for learning and go for it. I lost 8 but feel confident that I could do much better next time. But wait until the weather cools a little like more in the fall if you are in a warm area. They don't take the heat well at all. I'm going to do my next bunch in Sept.

    Give them feed from 7am to 7pm and then take it away. feed them vitamins in their water and you should be good. I had one gimpy chicken and she made it all the way to processing. Just kept her in a little cage inside the tractor with the others. She's the only leg problem I had. It also started way too early to have been because of weight. I think she broke it or something.

    I lost 2 or 3 because of heat, one got smothered early on, one got a chicken tractor dropped on it's head. [​IMG] 2 died in transit to the processor. (1.5 hours away, probably heart attack) one got condemned because of infection. So now I know how to handle the heat issues, should be able to avoid the smothered, don't plan on dropping the tractor again, I'll pack fewer in the carriers too the processor next time so that should help a lot to slow the death rate. But you learn these things from doing.
     
  4. L&Schickens

    L&Schickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 9, 2008
    Washington State
    We don't have to buy "Meat Birds" to have a nice table chicken for dinner do we? I do have some meat chicks now (Broilers) but I see there are a lot of "Duel Purpose" birds too that may have plenty of mean on them. I might try some of them next time and get straight run RIR or something.[​IMG]
     
  5. arlee453

    arlee453 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 13, 2007
    near Charlotte NC
    I have some dark cornish that I picked up out of the pullet bin at TSC. Dang, those birds look like dinner!

    The downside of a non-cornish X for meat birds is the feed conversion. You'll put a lot more feed into one of the slower maturing meat birds, and end up with a smaller dresssed weight.

    But, if economic efficiency is not your primary consideration, then go for it.

    There are also some non-cornish X, hybrid breeds like Red Bros, etc. They are faster growing and meatier than a heritage meat bird, but not as quick to 'self destruct' as cornish X broilers.
     
  6. menageriemama

    menageriemama Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 2, 2008
    Lake Nebagamon, WI
    MP is right on as usual. With proper managment, you will have sucess. I did my first cornish x meat birds this year, and didnt lose any. This forum is an amazing aide in the process, and there is lots of good info out there to keep you on the right track. In the past I have gone the dual purpose route, and it was ok, but I decided that if I am going to work my kiester off to raise these critters, I would like to have a nice, plump, beutiful roasted chicken at the end of it as a reward. Not the skinny looking things that I was getting from the dual purpose breeds. But, thats just my humble opinion [​IMG] .
     
  7. Mrs MIA

    Mrs MIA Chick Magnet

    7,988
    37
    303
    Mar 3, 2008
    It is amazing how much heat those birds put off, so it's not surprising they don't do well in the heat. I usually keep 20 of them at a time in a close area to keep them warm (um, we don't ever get that hot here) but in the warmer areas perhaps keeping only a few together in a cool area will help. My simple truths for meat birds...and keep in mind this is my experience only:
    -Provide LOTS of fresh water...
    -Keep LOTS of fresh shavings on hand...
    -Keep plenty of feeders available so they don't kill themselves in the stampede to the feed...
    -Take their food away at night to slow their growth... it won't always prevent the leg problems, but it seems to reduce the number of problems...
    -Feed them corn the last week (someone here told me that, and yum!)
    -Be patient and wait the full 8 weeks... they may look like they're ready, but they might be gamehens under all those feathers!! [​IMG]

    It's a little more work, but it's so worth it. [​IMG]
     
  8. L&Schickens

    L&Schickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 9, 2008
    Washington State
    Quote:Shows what I know. I am so glad you mentioned that. Duel Purpose is off the list.[​IMG]
     
  9. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 26, 2007
    Longmont, CO
    At 7 weeks mine dressed out at 4 lbs average some more a few less.

    Ebay has some solar fans that I'm thinking about getting to put in my tractor. I like the tractor because you move it everyday so they aren't sitting in their poo, and I don't have to change litter. The guy mentioned how clean mine were when I took them in. I thought, if these are clean, I'd hate to see what everybody else brings in [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  10. OHChick

    OHChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    381
    2
    149
    May 8, 2007
    Quote:did you build your own tractor? if not where did u buy one?
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by