Raised 25 Jumbo Rocks. 13 Died While Waiting To Process. WHY WHY WHY??

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Maihlet, Aug 18, 2010.

  1. Maihlet

    Maihlet In the Brooder

    Apr 24, 2009
    Hi. Just started to do the Meat Chickens this year. We first went with some straight Cornish Rocks in March. We had picked up 6 at the Local Tractor Supply on sale. We did this because we had already placed an order for 25 Jumbo Cornish Rocks with McMurray to arrive in Late May. We didn't have any problems with the Cornish Rocks, followed advise read here and elsewhere, along with people we know who've done Chickens for Meat before. We lost one to a Fox, (only found the feet, poor thing). The only Hen in the Bunch my Visiting Mother from Florida saw and ordered that it be allowed to live. So we were left with 4 to go to the Butcher with. Took them up to a place that's been doing this for a long time with a good relationship in the Community. They allowed us to come in and see the entire process which I was really impressed with. Bottom line, when we were done, we had 4 great looking Chickens ready for the table. And let me say they were the best chickens I have EVER tasted in my life.

    The same day we took them to butcher, the 25 Jumbo Rocks from McMurray's arrived. WOW! Did these grow a lot faster than the regular Cornish Rocks. A WHOLE LOT Faster. We have a little under 2 Acres and 90% of it is shaded. We live in the woods and have cleared out everything under the large trees and allow the Chickens to pretty much run free. We also have a dozen Red Star hens for Eggs and a couple Roosters. They never really bothered with the Meat Chickens, and eventually we fenced off a seperate area for the Meat Chickens to grow and run. We also have Ducks and a Pair of Geese.

    Things were going great. The Jumbo Rocks were growing bigger and bigger every day. Then we took them to the Butcher yesterday morning. We had them in two seperate Cages that were more than large enough for them to move around in and everything seemed fine. We dropped them off at 10AM. There were others already there, (this place only butchers Chickens on Tuesdays). But we were told it would be a couple hours. We decided to visit some local orchards and buy some peaches and just enjoy the day.

    When we came back 3 hours later we were told that 13 of the 25 had died in the Cages and that they were only able to process 12 of them. I was filled with a mix of anger, fear I had done something wrong, and suspicion that maybe they were lying to me. But I've known this business and it just isn't their way. An older woman working there came out and asked us what kind of chickens we had. We told her Jumbo Rocks. She told us that she's had them die like this before because they can just get too fat and thier hearts give out. She also told us that the ones they were able to process had enlarged hearts with fluid around them and the livers were fatty.

    So... What did I do wrong? The Jumbo's that died were the largest of the Bunch. They were stacked on top of the other cage, and were in the Sun. Since they weren't used to the Sun did the heat kill them? (The Cage was open on all sides). What the heck happened here? I was looking forward to all those yummy Chicken Dishes when it gets cold and now I'm heart broken. And I feel horrible that these little guys died in a cage like that. Letting them run free only to see an end like that isn't acceptable [​IMG]

    So What happened? Help Me Please!


  2. bigstack

    bigstack Songster

    Jan 4, 2010
    Texarkana, TX
    This is a total gues... But I would say Heart attack! With these birds it is not uncommon. With all of the sudden changes and the new sounds...... Bang! Heart attack! I am so sorry they would not process them for you. especially knowing they had just died. But I guess it is good to have a butcher that cares. You never know what it could be from. Personally I would have done them myself if i could have gotten them home quickly.

    Good Luck and God Bless!
  3. eggseroneous

    eggseroneous Songster

    Apr 1, 2010
    South-Western PA
    They should not have been sitting in the sun. Surely the processor knows that! What was the temperature? There have been a lot of folks on BYC who have lost chickens because of the heat. And those guys being huge meaties to boot and crowded in a cage (even more body heat), most likely caused them to overheat super-fast. Poor things. I am sorry this happened to them and you. [​IMG]
  4. wyliefarms

    wyliefarms Songster

    Aug 19, 2008
    How old were the birds and what was their average weights? Ours go in at 8 weeks and weigh close to 10 pounds. Never had a problem with them dieing before they could get processed.
  5. Maihlet

    Maihlet In the Brooder

    Apr 24, 2009
    Just curious why the DIDN'T process them? What's the good / bad of doing it? BTW... I could not do any of these at home, for what they charge and as fast and clean as they are, I wouldn't want to even try.
  6. blueskylen

    blueskylen Songster

    Mar 3, 2008
    I am guessing the heat and sun also, especially if they didn't have any water. Sure am sorry for your loss - that is a lot of meat to lose.
    If you do them again, perhaps going to the butcher a week earlier - maybe 7 weeks instead of 8 might prevent some of the fluid issues too.
  7. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    I am so sorry this happened to you but if they just died, why wasn't the meat still good? I don't understand that.

    Thank you for sharing your experience.....I'm thinking of raising my first meaties next spring, and I didn't know something like that could happen.

  8. Maihlet

    Maihlet In the Brooder

    Apr 24, 2009
    These were the biggest Chickens I have ever seen. I'm also convinced it was the Heat since they were used to the shade, and it was in the 90's yesterday. (Figures it's raining like crazy today and it's in the 70's). I think these were 9 Weeks old. Like I said, I've never seen any Chicken grow that fast. My Wife doesn't want to raise them anymore. She'd rather stick with the regular Cornish Rocks we had before. They didn't eat as much and ran around more. "These have got to be the stupidest Chickens I've ever seen" was a common quote from my Wife and Teenage Children.
  9. Maihlet

    Maihlet In the Brooder

    Apr 24, 2009
    Oh, and the largest was 15 lbs the smallest 10 lbs. All the others were between that size. We fed them a diet of Meat Maker from our local Feed Coop that they make there. We also supplimented them with greens from our Garden along with occational Treats like Melons and such that we couldn't eat. All the Largest ones were in the one cage on top that died.
  10. Duramaxgirl

    Duramaxgirl Songster

    Feb 12, 2010
    My mom also raised 29 jumbo cornish. She lost 3 to a crow! And one did die from a heart attach at about 4 weeks, they butchered her and ate her.... Why wouldn't your butcher just butcher them up for you?
    By the way my sister, dad an I processed all of my moms... Its not that hard... And your right it is The best tasting chicken ever!
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2010

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