Question for greyfields or other Dark Cornish owners.....

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by beebiz, Oct 13, 2007.

  1. beebiz

    beebiz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Any other time, I'd have put this post in "Feeding Time." But, I've put it here because it is a meat breed that I am talking about.

    As most in this area know, I got my Dark Cornish chicks from Ideal hatchery yesterday. I am happy to report that all 26 are still doing great!! But, I have a question.

    This is my first experience with the Dark Cornish. In the past, the only standard breeds that I've raised were Leghorns, Black Sex Links, RIR's, BO's, Dominiques and PBR's. So, these breeds are the only ones that I have to use as a base for comparison.

    I have never seen "day old" baby chicks that can put the feed and water away like these Dark Cornish can!!! 26 of them consumed a cup less than 1 quart of water and about 1/2 a cup less than a quart of feed in aproximately 24 hours!! Is this "normal"???

    I weighed the feed. 1 quart jar of feed weighs about 18 ounces. After subtracting the weight of 1/2 cup of feed, and then difiding the balance the 26 chicks, it comes out to about .61 ounces each.... in 24 hours! I've checked in the bedding, and as usual there is some waste. But, the waste appears quite minimal. It doesn't appear that these guys are wasting as much as other "day old" chicks that I have had. To me, it just seemed like an awful lot of feed for "day olds" to go through in 24 hours! And, I want to make sure that I'm doing everything right for them.

    BTW, I'm feeding them a 20%, non-medicated, game bird grower/finisher feed. Don't want the meds that are in the only chick starter/grower feeds that are locally available to me.

    Any input would be greatly appreciated!

    Robert
     
  2. greyfields

    greyfields Overrun With Chickens

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    It sounds like you are doing everything perfectly. I wouldn't worry about the feed consumption, because that's not as much as my Cornish X's used to snarf down at early ages. I can't say specifically for Dark Cornish since I always raised them mixed with other breeds, so it's not possible to say which kind at the most or least. I'd say keep feeding them free choice and make sure they have water. And, to save yourself running to the brooder every few hours, add a second and third waterer and feeder. It will make your life simpler.

    There is one comment I will make about Dark Cornish in general. They seem to mature much quicker than any other breed I've dealt with. The hens were the first to fly out and still forage widely about the farm. They were also the first to come into lay at a week under 5 months; which blew me away since I also raise black and red sex links. I didn't think a purebreed would reach POL before a hybrid. They are just awesome little birds. They seem wired differently from all the other breeds I've dealt with.

    If you want to do it all scientifically, you are going to be looking for your fastest growing roos for use as terminal sires later. At 6 weeks, I would weigh the largest looking ones, then put a band on the top 3. This will determine your fastest growing birds. Then, repeat at 8 or 9 weeks and see if it's the same birds again. Finally, realize that the bird that grows the largest of them all, may not be the quickest to market weight at 8 weeks. So, you may want to hold onto some with a lot of growth potential for breeding later (i.e. for making replacement roosters for future breedign) - but your cockrels heaviest at 8 weeks are probably going to give you the more optimal terminal sire for the first few generations.

    To check for growth left on them look for the birds with the legs set furthest apart; but who may not be in the top 3 heaviest. Also, look for any taller than the other, but who may still be thin. Once they flesh out, they could be good sires for your future generations of studs.

    Finally, don't sweat it too much. Mother nature has an amazing way of working things out.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2007
  3. beebiz

    beebiz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the information greyfields! I knew that, as usual, you'd come through for me!! As for sweating stuff too much, I really try not to. First, I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist (Somemtimes, I hate being like that!). Second, I really want to do the "right thing" for them. Third, I know Mother Nature is quite normally a better "mother" than we are... but usually find it hard not to lend her a helping hand![​IMG] And finally, I was blessed/cursed with a "Curious George" nature... I love to learn!!!

    Speaking of the DC's starting to lay at a week under 5 months, it brings to mind a question. From what I've read about them, the DC's are not supposed to be very good layers. Has that been your experience too?? I'm quite sure they won't lay like a Leghorn or RIR, but how do they do when compared with breed like PBR's or BO's... in your experiences or opinion??

    Thanks again, greyfields!!

    Robert
     
  4. greyfields

    greyfields Overrun With Chickens

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    Well they certainly lay eggs. They are medium to large in size, rather than large to jumbo with my other hens. Mine do have the bad habit of depositing eggs around the yard; but the portable netting usually keeps them in. I've had a couple go broody on me as well, which could be a breed characteristic. I think they compliment my flock well. They look like little eaglets.
     
  5. Chellester

    Chellester Chillin' With My Peeps

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    greyfields (or anyone else who has DC) how many eggs per week do they lay in your estimation?

    Reason I ask is: I bought 5 dark cornish chicks at the feed store, thinking they were layers. [​IMG]

    I don't expect them to lay as well as some of the laying breeds, but I would keep them for eggs if I could expect to get 3 or so eggs a week from them. I've read they only lay 1 egg per week.
     
  6. greyfields

    greyfields Overrun With Chickens

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    I'd say they lay no different from any of the other hens. Probably 2 eggs every 3 days. I like having them in there, because my dozens are mixed sizes which people like.

    Sort of related, a gentlemen here on the island approached me in the fair about them. He was looking for replacement roosters for his 'flock'. I say flock meaning he lets them run wild on his property like they're pheasants. They brood their own babies and he goes out and shoots them when he wants one for dinner. For some reason, I just can't picture silkies doing that. [​IMG]
     
  7. beebiz

    beebiz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
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    Last edited: Oct 14, 2007

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