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Pet Cornish X, need help with coop layout!!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by kickinchicken, Jan 21, 2011.

  1. kickinchicken

    kickinchicken Songster

    Mar 23, 2010
    Rhode Island
    I have 3 Cornish X hens that I rescued from a local shop. I built them a 4X4 coop that is about 4 ft high with a 20 degree angled roof. I have 2 windows that are shuttered right now due to the snow that keeps hitting New England.
    Their floor is covered with linoleum and the floor is layered with pine shavings with a top layer of straw. I hang a feeder from the rafters and only fill it at the nightly lock up at 430pm. I am trying to encourage them to get their chunky butts outside during the day.
    So, the issue is this, can they ever roost? I know meaties are meant to be processed at 8 weeks. My gals are now about 11 weeks old...and huge! I want to encourage them to start roosting so that I can get them off the floor and over a poop board. They have little balance. They are the clumsiest things! Almost drunk. Its like having a Great Dane puppy, times 3! Can they be taught to gradually balance with low, wide roosts, maybe a 2X6 on its side? Ideas and suggestions would be great.


  2. WashingtonCowgirl

    WashingtonCowgirl In the Brooder

    Apr 16, 2010
    Tenino, Wa
    I have never had a Cornish X live past butchering age. Hen or otherwise [​IMG]
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    I really don't think you want them roosting. In commercial birds it causes breast blisters and bruising and deforms the breastbone, and even though you are not intentionally raising yours to market fatness, just plain age/size will amount to about the same thing. If it were me I would make sure they had an always-clean always-dry area of fluffy bedding to sleep in, and just spot-clean it daily or as needed.

    The best thing for them healthwise would probably be to give them as LARGE an area as possible, preferably with the feeder at one end and the waterer at the other [​IMG], and encourage them to be as active and moving-around and athletic as possible. If all they have is a 4x4 area, they're not going to move around, they're just going to sit there like lumps. Any way to give them more area, indoors or perhaps sheltered-and-mostly-plastic-wrapped outdoors?

    I've never tried to raise them past eating age (although the ones I *have* raised to eating size, I have lost 0 out of maybe 40 total, largely I think b/c mine have lots of space and a sunny outdoor run and are really fairly active). But the people on BYC who have done what you're doing seem to have best luck with free-ranging them in a safe area or giving them an ample and appealing run. Not only does it help strengthen their muscles and cardiovascular system, it helps keep their weight down.

    You may also want to consider giving them only MEASURED amounts of feed, rather than free-feeding even if it is just for part of the day. The less huge they get, the longer they're likely to live.

    There are a bunch of threads around here somewhere on pet CornishX, you should try to find them and see what others have done to see what other ideas you can get [​IMG]

    Good luck, have fun,

  4. chicks4kids

    chicks4kids Songster

    Apr 22, 2009
    Northern Indiana
    I have a meatie turkey that is our pet (the big white bird in the pic [​IMG] ) and is nearing 2 yrs as of this upcoming spring. Yeah, she's not supposed to roost either (cuz she's huge) but she does...she used to get up on the 2x4's several feet higher and get stuck literally because she is too big to turn around. I made her a special roost...you maybe could do this for your chickens. My turkeys roost is super low to the ground as you can see in the picture but it does the trick for her and has kept her from trying to get any higher than that. I also used a wide ladder stepping system (15 inches) with a solid back so she didn't have to worry about balancing to climb and also because her legs are so far apart, much like a meatie chicken. I think you could build a low roost for your girls and still be able to have a poop board....here's a pic to help give you some ideas.

  5. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    In a small, low coop like that, I think the closest you're going to get to being able to use a poop board is to have the roost just a few inches high and either slide a long cardboard section, trays, or even just a sheet of paneling (about 16 inches wide) up under it, laying on the bedding - remove each morning to scrape??? I agree with trying to find a way to shelter at least a few feet of the run so that those heavies can go outside to get to food and get a bit of exercise.
  6. al6517

    al6517 Real Men can Cook

    May 13, 2008
    I have raised many many Cornish X's to laying age with very good success. First off the whole pet thing may need to be re-thought out, you will I repeat you will have to do things that pet type people find hard to swallow, Next is as a pet are you prepared to go out there one day and find them belly up for no reason after you have given them names and such.
    The feed restriction method should have been started at a very young age if one was considering raising them to a full life so you already have an obstacle. They will not roost at all and they should not be encouraged to roost this is a death sentence as damage to their already fragile legs is in jeapordy, you mentioned that when they walk they seem drunk, if you put them on Linolium w/ shavings this too is diasterous for their legs, they will slip and slide around and certainly break a leg. Feeding to ensure a healthy life includes a small portion every other day or even every 3 day's if they are allready fat, see this may be tough to follow but it does work if you cannot truthfully do this religiously then don't even try. They will be fine on that amount of feed give fresh water that is on a raised block, they will be messier than you have ever imagined. Never ever ever feed corn and when you do feed regular feed just make sure it is low protien layers pellets only no crumbles.

    Anyway these are the things that must be done, I know some folks will say this & that about this idea but it is what is required, if you in good consiousness do all of this in full then please do not attempt to bring them to an older age, you will be disappointed.


    Here are what my Cornish X's look like, these hen's are 2 1/2 yrs old and they do just great they are active to a certain point but do very well and have a good life but this my friend took allot of work and vigilance. My were raised for a special breeding project not as pet's !!!.

    These hens are about 18lbs now and that is where they have settled comfortably at, and do well at that weight.

    the hen on the left is one

    resting hen
  7. kickinchicken

    kickinchicken Songster

    Mar 23, 2010
    Rhode Island
    Ok, well it seems a roost will be a death sentence. I don't want that
    The floor being linoleum with a deep layer of pine shavings and a generous layer of straw seems to give them great cushioning and traction.
    I have been limiting their food to once every other day lately and encourage them to be outside as much as possible. They are more adventurous over the past week, even with the snow. They have a small run off the coop which is about 8x12. They still have another 10 days on their 30 day quarantine. Once they are clear they will free range with my bantams.
    They are on organic layer feed and I offer greens, fruit, veggies and yogurt and raisins with wheat germ a few times a week. This has helped their digestion tremendously as I am sure they were on hot feed. They basically had blow out diarrhea their first 4 days here but now its a lot more normal. I am hoping that once they are cleared, they will venture out and become stronger.
    The thought has entered my mind that perhaps I should process them, but I want to at least give it a shot and see how they progress. I won't keep them alive longer than I should if they seem to be struggling and suffering. I think the drunk walk will improve over time once they tone up. They were most likely on their bellies pooping all over themselves until I took them in. But I think, in the meantime I will try to locate someone local who can cull and process them...humanely, in case it comes down to that.
    I just can't wait til the 30th so that everyone can be together. This quarantine stuff stinks!

  8. kickinchicken

    kickinchicken Songster

    Mar 23, 2010
    Rhode Island
    Al, BTW your cornish are beautiful. I hope mine fill out with their feathers like yours. Very pretty.

    So an update...the DEM came out and took blood samples on my entire flock of 9 birds for pulorum and avian flu, on 2ednesday. I will have the results some time next week. The cornish are doing very well. They are more stable on their feet and have been flapping their wings and scratching at the dirt like real chickens. They are more trusting of me now and actually get in my way when I TRY to clean their coop...worst helpers ever! I have half a bale of straw outside their run and two of them tried to hop up on it...they also flew a bit towards some bird seed that I tossed outside their run...I did this to encourage them to venture out a bit. It worked great!
    They met my bantams and it was a bit hectic...and funny. Lots of feet fighting and feather plucking. But nothing serious. The Sultan was very accommodating and the tiniest cochin hen and the EE roo were just too funny TRYING to stand up to these monsterous babies. In time, they will be fine. Its just so nice to see them happy and acting like real chickens. I love them dearly. They are the sweetest birds and really seem to appreciate their new home.

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