Purple Chickens ?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by chicken_herder, Jun 13, 2008.

  1. chicken_herder

    chicken_herder Hatching

    Jun 13, 2008
    Syracuse NY
    This is my first time raising chickens so there is a lot that I don't know, but I've read books and talked to some folks and haven't killed them all yet so I might not be doing everything wrong. I got 50 cornish rocks, supposed to be all boys hatched April 26th. They were in the basement on woodshavings (changed daily) for the first 4 weeks. Moved them outside Memorial Day weekend to a portable pen inside an electric poultry fence. I've moved the fencing twice since the original location and the pen gets moved every day. I've been feeding an organic (non-medicated) chick mix usually three times daily. About 10 days ago, one started turning purple (just the skin, not the feathers). Then another started turning. The first died after two days of being purple. The second lasted 8 days and died yesterday. Late yesterday, I found two more that are starting to look more purple than red. Poultry has never been raised on my property and all the equipment is new. Anyone have a guess what is wrong or what I should do? Thanks!
  2. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress

    Feb 28, 2007
    South Eastern Indiana
    I am assumeing you are talking meat birds....if the combs and wattles are turning purple...this means they are haveing heart issues...because of thier size and the heat. This is common with meat type birds. If you see the combs turning purple, go ahead and process them.They should be close to processing size already....about how big are they?
  3. chicken_herder

    chicken_herder Hatching

    Jun 13, 2008
    Syracuse NY
    Well, some of them are pretty big but the ones that are turning purple aren't all that large. I'm not sure how to weigh them. Can I just use a bathroom scale? And I've never processed one before. Maybe that will be my evening entertainment tonight. Anything I need to be concerned about with processing a bird with heart problems? Do they need to wait longer before freezing or anything like that?
  4. chicken_herder

    chicken_herder Hatching

    Jun 13, 2008
    Syracuse NY
    Does it seem like I did something wrong? It doesn't sound like its a problem that everyone has or that even occurs that frequently. I only found one other reference to chickens being purple with a google search. I just don't know what went wrong. Are they supposed to have constant access to food? And when should you take them off of the chick feed?
  5. Cuban Longtails

    Cuban Longtails Flock Mistress

    Sep 20, 2007
    Northeast Texas
    Yours are getting to be about 8 weeks old, would be good to process them soon. Make sure they're not getting overheated and that they have plenty of water. CornishX are prone to have health problems due to their quick growth rate. Somewhere around the 4th or 5th week is when you switch them from chick starter to grower/finisher.

    You don't have to restrict their feed, but some people prefer to do it so the birds will get up and move around instead of sitting at the feeders all day and/or to save money on food costs.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 13, 2008
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:Nah, it's just that most people don't call it turning purple [​IMG] If you google "broilers cyanotic" or anything like that, you will find quite a lot of info..

  7. arlee453

    arlee453 Songster

    Aug 13, 2007
    near Charlotte NC
    You aren't doing anything wrong, its' just that cornish X's are basically programmed to self-destruct.

    If they don't succumb to cardiac insuffiency/heat stroke, their legs often will fail to support them due to the fast growth rate, etc. Purplish skin and combs are a sign of cardiac insufficiency - basically the heart/circulatory system can't keep up with the huge growth and oxygen needs of these birds.

    There are some here who have kept them alive a while with a combination of restricted feed, free ranging and some good luck, but most of them will croak very young if left to their own devices.

    Go ahead and process any that are showing signs of the cardiac problems...
  8. chicken_herder

    chicken_herder Hatching

    Jun 13, 2008
    Syracuse NY
    Ahhh, OK, yup, that would be it. Unfortunately, I don't even know what I don't know. Thanks for the tip. Any suggestions on finding someone to process a bunch of birds on short notice?[​IMG]
  9. blue90292

    blue90292 Songster

    Jan 30, 2007
    Rosharon, TX
    i think there's a post on here that talks about processors in the NY/NJ area. i may be wrong, but you might do a search.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: