ready by July?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Alleyoops25, Jan 29, 2008.

  1. Alleyoops25

    Alleyoops25 Songster

    May 14, 2007
    My duaghter is in 4-H and she does chickens usually in breeding, so that she doesnt have to sell her birds. But this year she is wanting to doing Market poultry, which is going to have to be meat birds like cornish X's. I have never dealt with these breeds of chickens and have heard a lot of negitive stuff about raising them, like they grow to fast and cant walk or sufficate them selves to death. Is there anyone who has raised these that can tell me more about how t raise them and if you think my 10 year old could raise these fairly easily. Also our County Fair is going to start the 18th of July, so when should I order them? Any info. would be excellent, thanks!
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    Order them about 8 weeks before the show. Change litter ALOT (Don't do deep litter) and keep them just like other chicks. They eat and poop alot more. A vitamin supplement is good but I've never used it. Mine do fine. It's not that bad, they are sweet and calm... at least the strain I end up with is, and are just big poo machines.
  3. brooster

    brooster Songster

    Jun 14, 2007
    northwest Ohio
    Well, dont get jumbo X Rocks, get Cornish roasters. McMurray is a great place to get them, I wan reserve champion with mine. Roasters should be 8 or 9 weeks at begining of fair, and fryers should be 5 or 6 weeks. Start them on turkey starter and just keep them on it aal the way for fryers. For roasters keep them on it for the first 6 or 7 weeks and then swith to a flock raiser or grower (not layer) this will put a little fat on them. You pretty much want the underside of the bird to be a rectangle. does your fair go by single pen of three or what? To find your best three start by most consistant size and weight. The hold them by thier legs upside down and feel the breasts. should be firm wide rectangle. No broken wings, good feathering and no breast blisters. No roosts for these guys.
  4. UncleHoot

    UncleHoot Songster

    May 22, 2007
    St. Johns, Michigan
    Just to weigh in with my limited experience, I've read a lot about starting them on 22%-24% protein diets, and then removing their feed at night, but I'm not convinced it's the right thing to do.

    I've kept mine on 20% protein from day 1. I've raised 2 batches, and the only losses I've had have come from other factors, such as predators and heat. They grow plenty fast, so, in my opinion, adding even more protein and then taking their food away at night, just seems to me like it would put them under even more stress.

    I've kept mine fed and watered 24/7, with a 20% grower mix, and they have done fine. I got this idea from someone else who has raised them for the last few years, however, so it's not anything new, but it goes against some of the conventional wisdom. Additionally, this can also allow you to raise your layers along with your meat chickens for the first 8 weeks, then drop them down to a lower protein mix.
  5. seymojo536

    seymojo536 Songster

    May 16, 2007
    Central Ohio
    Please contact your 4H advisor before you order the chicks. Most fairs have a hatch date that you must observe. You will probably have to show the NPIP paper when you check in.
    Here in Union County, most of the kids in 4H receive their birds on the same day. We just put all the orders together and get them at one time from the same hatchery. This gives everyone the same chance to win. Emphasis is on care and mangement of the birds.
    If your fair is similar to ours, you will be required to bring a pen of 4 birds and show 3.
    Once again, your advisor will know the rules for your fair.
    Using our fair as an example.
    They will be weighed and you cannot go over the pen weight, here it is 28 lbs. for the 4 birds. If they are over they cannot be judged for champion, in essence they are DQ'd. Deuctions are given to the amount the pen weighs under 28 lbs. You could have 3 8LB and 1 4LB bird to make up the pen. But most shoot for each bird at 7.0 lbs.
    No brusies or blemishes are allowed. No blisters on the feet.
    Now here's the important part, the birds you show must match as closely as possible. That means the breast is the same size and shape, the legs and wings have the same amount of muscle. They way the judge explained it was if he was blindfolded and you handed the birds to him , that he couldn't tell which bird was which. That means a lot of time spent using your hands to try and find 4 that are as close to the same as possible. It also means you're gonna need to raise 3-5 birds for every one you take to the fair. They just don't grow at the same rate and you only have 7 weeks to get them to weight.
    Also, if they are 7 weeks old they are still going to be immature as far as their feather development. We start dunking them in a pail of cool water when they are 4 weeks old. It helps pop the feathers on their breasts. Every other day or so in they go. Each bird is weighed and color band coded so we can customize they feed intake. Some will require you to cut back the feed available and others will need to eat all they can get to catch up.

    I know this is long, but you did ask and my son and daughter do very well with their chickens and turkeys, both at the county and state level. If you still have questions feel free to shoot me a PM and I can go into more detail.

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