Ordered Cornish cross for my first meat birds. Will I regret it? Tips?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by ssledoux, Feb 26, 2009.

  1. ssledoux

    ssledoux Songster

    Mar 14, 2007
    I finally just sucked it up and ordered the cornish cross and here are a few reasons why:

    1 - I like the look of the colored rangers (or whatever their exact name is), and I prefer the idea of grass-fed bird in addition to some grain, but am afraid that if they are all fun and running around with personality, I won't want to kill them. I figure if the crosses are all sluggish and dull, it might be easier not to get attached.

    2 - The time. Since I waited this late, I figured it would be better to get something that would be finished faster due to the heat coming (I'm in Louisiana). With the crosses, I'll be done by the first week of May and they'll be in the freezer.

    3 - The price. The birds from JM were $2 each for 25 and the shipping was $15. That was $20 more than getting 25 of the cornish. I figure just to start out and see if we want to do this, less investment was better.

    SO, those who raise the cornish, give me your best tips. I really want to get them in the grass, even if they won't eat much. It'll just make me feel better about the whole thing.

    Also, I KNOW I don't want to do medicated feed. What do I want to feed? I'd love to do organic, but doubt I can (cost and locating the grain). What about protein? What about scraps? Will they consume anything else? Any other grain? I'd love to get the best quality I can with the least garbage in it.

    Any suggestions for me??

  2. willheveland

    willheveland Songster

    Jan 29, 2008
    southern tier,NY
    My advise to you;
    keep the temp 95 degrees in their brooder then lower 5 degrees each week.I like red lights.

    use starter/grower around 21% start to finish.

    use pine shavings for bedding,with newspaper on top for 2 days only.

    check their butts a few times a day for pastey butt.

    full feeders until 2 weeks or so.

    after 4 weeks or featherd out get them outside in a tractor.

    always have fresh water for them.

    move their pen to fresh ground daily.

    arrange it so they only eat during daylight.

    remember these are bred to produce meat fast,they should be processed in 6-10 weeks depending on your needs(and strain you ordered)
    They will be the best chicken you have ever tasted.

    good luck Will
  3. Brunty_Farms

    Brunty_Farms Songster

    Apr 29, 2007
    I agree with Will.... you just want to watch them grow when they hit the two week mark as they tend to start flipping at this age.

    Make sure your prepared for the slaughtering too, you don't want to be scrambling around the day before. This goes for taking them to the processor too... make sure you call in advance get a set date, make freezer space, and arrange transportation, ect....

    Good luck..... My best advice is to ask questions you can't get enough information!
  4. ssledoux

    ssledoux Songster

    Mar 14, 2007
    Well, I have had a change in plans. A young guy that works for me recommended a bird he used to raise for meat - it's a barred silver something (sorry - don't remember exactly) from Reich's.

    Anyway, I changed my order from cornish cross to these, as I really wanted something that was more free-range, but didn't want to pay the prices for the ones from JM. The guy at Reich's told me these would be about 5# dressed out at around 8 weeks. He said they forage well and have no leg issues if you want them to grow longer. Apparently, they supply the New York area with hens for the organic/free-range market and they sell the roos for pretty cheap (I paid under $40 for 30 shipped to Louisiana).

    Anyway, so my needs have changed somewhat, but I am still having issues with what to feed. I cannot locate a "meat bird" feed. Do I need that? Or can I just use a starter/grower or something the whole time, especially since these will free-range as well, and I'm assuming they'll do scraps too.

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