Rock Cornish Chickens: Ratio of Roos to hens??

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by HelenWheelz75, Nov 11, 2013.

  1. HelenWheelz75

    HelenWheelz75 New Egg

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    Hi, Yall,

    My dad gave me 3 Rock Cornish Chickens about 10 days ago. They were originally for butchering, but I think I can do more for my family if I raise them and let them breed. I have 2 hens and one rooster. I don't know how old they are. I DO know they are still young enough that they just peep and cheep at me but they have adult feathers. I have never raised chickens before, and it only took me 5 years to convince my husband to let me keep them, so when I fell into these for free, I reckoned I shouldn't look a gift hen in the mouth.[​IMG]
    Here's my question: How many hens should I have for this little rooster? I plan to free-range them and give them table scraps. I don't plan antibiotics, but do plan to use vinegar in their water. I intend to raise them naturally as possible, partly because I'm on a shoestring budget and partly because it creeps me out to give them medicine they don't need. I also raise rabbits, and they can't have any medicines at all. Maybe that's the source of the no-medicine policy for me.

    Any info at all is greatly appreciated.
     
  2. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    Sorry to be negative but I don't like your chances. Cornish X are raised specifically for fast-growing meat, so they stack on the weight at a rate that their heart cannot keep up with. Attempts to keep them, generally result in them having a heart attack by 3 months of age. Additionally, the males get too large to be able to mate the hens very well, plus, because they are "mutts" they don't breed true. So, even if you were able to defy the odds and get them to breeding age and get them to breed, the offspring would not be more Cornish X.

    I used to think it was just in how they were raised, and that if raised like a layer, the results might be different. So as an experiment one year, I chose one to raise with my spring layer chicks. He grew twice as fast as they did on the same amount of food. He free-ranged with them around my backyard. He ate grass and bugs and dust bathed just like they did. He was fitter and healthier than your typical Cornish X who sits in front of a feeder 12 hours a day. But, as time went on, I noticed he was having trouble keeping up with his flock mates. They would flit here and flit there and he would trudge along, and just as he caught up to them, they'd flit off somewhere else and he'd have to plod along to try and catch them again. When he was 10 weeks old, he had a heart attack and died anyway. He was smaller than a Cornish X that has been raised in front of the feeder, but nevertheless, too large for his heart to keep up with the rapid growth.
     
  3. BCMaraniac

    BCMaraniac Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The CX are bred strictly for meat, and are hybrids, and it is recommended by the hatcheries that they not breed because of their large size. They even say that even if they live that long that physically they are so large that they CAN'T breed.

    If I were you, I would butcher them, and consider getting a few chicks to raise. You can get them at your feed store or Tractor Supply in late winter/early spring for a couple of dollars each, maybe less.

    Try to find out how old they are from your dad, and consider keeping until they are 8-10 weeks of age, depending on how they are growing, and how healthy they are.

    A fertile rooster can easily service 10 hens, often more.
     
  4. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

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    I'm holding on to a few hens, but using a different rooster. Not sure a cornishx rooster can do the job. Good luck-- If you want a different breed rooster, now is the time to find them!! Check CL, etc.
     
  5. HelenWheelz75

    HelenWheelz75 New Egg

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    Thanks, Everybody!

    I am going to see what happens. I have to get the old man used to the idea. If I end up butchering them, that's OK. I will if they look miserable. Maybe some will just show up one day... Muah hahahaha....
     
  6. bshv

    bshv New Egg

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    As everyone else said, you won't get much by trying to breed out your CRXs. However, if you are interested in breeding your own meat chicks, you have a few options. You could raise a dual purpose breed (like barred rocks), or you could try to cross-breed for your own pseudo-cornish cross chicks. The CRX is basically a white cornish rooster crossed with a white rock hen. If you want, you can go that way. Or, you could try crossing a white cornish rooster with a new hampshire hen (this is one of the crosses from which the CRX likely originated).

    Good luck!
     
  7. HelenWheelz75

    HelenWheelz75 New Egg

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    I just hafta say that I like this forum! I'm learning so much!! I have plans to rearrange my bunny shed to make room for the chicken coop that I want to build. If nothing else, I will learn a lot from these 3 that I can apply to my next set of birds. I'm optimistic that the old man will let me get some more. I showed him the numbers on feed cost- very low, compared to rabbits and they are pretty cheap. I did not know they would be so interesting! I'm hooked on chickens! Besides grub/insect control, meat and eggs, are there any more pros to raising chickens? I'm arming myself with info so I can make good arguments. It took me 5 years and a busted hand to get him to let me keep chickens. My hand is super-sore right now, so I couldn't immediately butcher the chickens. Old Man refuses to butcher chickens. These were a gift, so I took the ball and ran! LOL

    What is a good breed for a beginner like me? I have a friend who has buckeye chickens. I like the, but am not sure they would be the best for a newbie- especially with my vision. I'm legally blind. I need slow, docile chickens. Looks aren't important to me, just that they be good birds.
     
  8. BCMaraniac

    BCMaraniac Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am sorry to hear about your vision. One thing to think about with your eyesight is whether or not you need contrast/color to enable you to see your birds well enough. Buckeyes are a very dark reddish brown, but I hear that they are good meat birds....I don't know about their egg laying.....and they are very cold hearty. They are the only breed developed by a woman, and got their name because she lived in Ohio. I believe they are pretty docile.

    Barred Rocks have the black/white contrast, so I don't know if that would be better for you. A white bird would probably be more easily visible for you, but they can't hide as well from predators because of their color.....something else to think about.

    Orpingtons are hearty docile birds, and come in a variety of colors.....that could be a good choice.....you can get white/buff/blue/lavender/black/chocolate.....buffs are probably the most common and therefore the most economical. They are dual purpose, so you can butcher extra roosters, and are considered winter layers.

    Whatever you do, do not get White Leghorns.....they are very flighty, and are pretty scrawny in terms of meat. I think the Roosters can be aggressive as well.

    I am sure there are others here who can give you their opinions regarding breeds who know a lot more about their dispositions, but perhaps this will help a little.
     
  9. HelenWheelz75

    HelenWheelz75 New Egg

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    Thanks BC! I know my friend's Buckeyes. They seem very tame, but she hatched them out herself and she handled them from day one. They are a pretty bird, very nice size. Her coop is a lighter color inside than mine will be, and that's the only problem I see there. I know the black-colored birds confuse me, and the stripey black and whites, too. You hit on it right with the colors thing, though. Thanks for the warning about the WLeghorns! Is there a good breed comparison chart on here that I have missed? Just out of curiosity, can I mix peanut butter in the chicken feed for extra protein? I do it for the rabbits in winter, to help them stay warm. It makes nice fur! I tan the fur. I'm saving skins right now for a project.

    Is it ever a good idea or even possible to de-spur a rooster? Is there a breed that is easier to pluck than others??
     
  10. BCMaraniac

    BCMaraniac Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Here is the chart that I used when I started looking at birds.....there is a pdf format now that you can download and print:

    http://www.sagehenfarmlodi.com/chooks/chooks.html

    I think people remove spurs, but I don't know anything about it. I think pretty much any kind of protein is suitable to feed them in the winter. I give mine cheese, scrambled eggs, finely chopped meat, yogurt sourcream, etc. I think if I was going to use peanut butter, I would melt it in the microwave, then thin it with something.....milk maybe, so that it won't be so sticky and get caught in their throat.....

    I heard someone say that trying to catch a white leghorn was like unto an Olympic sport. I think they are bad to pick at each other and cannibalize the weaker ones.
     

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