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Please share the best tips for raising organic, pastured Cornish X

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by gingit, Jan 8, 2012.

  1. gingit

    gingit In the Brooder

    Oct 30, 2011
    South Florida
    We are in South Florida, raising ducks, chickens & goats with all organic feed and rotating yards for wach age group. All grow up fine, except that the 2 different times we bought St run cornish chicks (from 2 different hatcherries) they grew up to the age of 4-5 weeks, slowed down on the growing, ate far less for a few weeks and, of course they ended up dressed at about 3.5-4 lb at 8 weeks.
    Tractors are not suitable for the Florida sun. We allowed them to go out to a yard (far smaller than my other birds use).
    I can say we lost less than 10% but on the other hand, we want to get at least 4.5-5 lb dressed birds.

    Any advice?

  2. wyoDreamer

    wyoDreamer Crowing

    Nov 10, 2010
    Are you feeding them the same food as the layers?
    Maybe raise and feed some meal worms to up their protien?
  3. Renee'

    Renee' Songster

    Feb 8, 2009
    Yucaipa, CA
    What's the protein content of your organic feed? They need a protein content in the high 20's.
  4. gingit

    gingit In the Brooder

    Oct 30, 2011
    South Florida
    Fed them chicken starter. Bout 20%
  5. Clay Valley Farmer

    Clay Valley Farmer Songster

    Sep 7, 2010
    I tried feeding them a whole grain diet, and they did not do that well. growth was much slower, though they did finnish out big after 12 weeks. Problem though was losses were high from digestive related problems.

    Organic pastured Cornish X is a bit like driving screws with a hammer, it can be done but really not the tool for the job. Cornish X were developed to be grown indoors fast on processed feed and processed early. Before I get jumped, I'm not saying they can't work in any other situation, but rather it is not what they were intended to do best at.

    Freedom rangers (called red broilers here) or white rocks (Slow Broilers) are better suited to foraging and produce more traditional chicken which I would expect to be more in line with the wants of an organic consumer anyway.
  6. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Crowing

    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    You can run Cornish Cross on pasture, but they aren't going to grow fast unless you give them lots of protein. The entire point of raising Cornish Cross is that you are finished with them at 8 weeks. So on pasture, they will wander around a bit and peck and scratch a bit, but you still need to feed them a lot of high protein balanced diet.

    Birds must have fuel to convert into meat. If they aren't getting the inputs, you won't get the outputs. They don't make meat out of thin air.

    Cornish Cross are still excellent if butchered at 12 weeks, so if you want to pasture raise them and they haven't reached the weight you want by 8 weeks, run them on for another 3-4 weeks.

    I always allow my Cornish Cross to wander around and enjoy the sunshine and get some exercise and eat a few bugs. But they always have feeders full of good food in order to get the growth I want from them.
  7. PotterWatch

    PotterWatch My Patronus is a Chicken

    Apr 22, 2008
    Ours are raised on organic feed and pasture. They do eat a fair amount of pasture grasses and other plants that happen to be growing out there. We do tractor them, however. It would be much more difficult for them and us if we didn't tractor, I think.

  8. halo

    halo Got The Blues

    Nov 22, 2007
    My Coop
    Im starting to put my Cornish X in the freezer this weekend, at 8 weeks 3 days, and they have gotten enormous. I was worried about 10 days ago that they just wouldnt be the size I was hoping, but just in 10 days they have grown a lot. Mine free range, which means basically they wander around the barn, and sometimes head out to the grass. Im skinning all of mine, and cutting up as quarters and breasts and freezing them. I know a lot of people are trying dual purpose, but I just can't see that working for me. I prefer white meat, and in 8 weeks, these guys are huge. I fed a locally milled unmedicated chick starter to them, 20% protein, start to finish.

    Just weighed my first 2 packages from the first 2 that I did this morning, I put 2 breasts in one package, and 4 quarters in the other package, skinned. The 2 breasts weighed 3#10oz. and the 4 quarters weighed 2#11oz, so thats a bit over 3 pounds cleaned and skinned per bird at 8 weeks of age.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2012
  9. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    Kathy, where is the locally milled feed located?

  10. halo

    halo Got The Blues

    Nov 22, 2007
    My Coop
    Hi Alieda! [​IMG]

    I say local, but its north of Gainesville, near Lake Butler. Takes me about an hour and 20 minutes to get there. I go there during the winter, because I can get a months worth of feed and it wont go bad.

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