Time To Cull My Cornish Cross Chicks??

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by machoman, Oct 19, 2011.

  1. machoman

    machoman Chirping

    Sep 9, 2011
    I have a situation that's just breaking my heart. We have some cornish cross babies, about 4.5 weeks old ( fully feathered ) and 2 are not doing well. To be honest, I'm kind if disappointed with the breed and will probably not get them again. It seems unnatural to me how they act, not very chicken like. Of my 13, two died within the first week. I have another with spraddle legs that I wasn't able to fix. It's significantly smaller than the others, it does eat and drink, but can't stand in it's legs, it's usually in a sideways splits position and basically drags itself everywhere. My husband says cull, I say keep alive as long as it's eating and drinking. Another chick is also smaller, but was doing fine until a couple of days ago. It's basically just lethargic. It doesn't want to eat or drink and just sits there, wings kind of hanging down. It doesn't chirp when I pick it up. I expected it to be dead this morning, but there it was, maybe a little more awake.

    I process my own chickens, and these are to be raised for food, but I really, really don't want to cull baby chicks. I have no idea what to do. Any ideas on caring for the lethargic one? My friend and I split an order of 26 and she's lost all of her except 2, so I consider myself fortunate. Someone suggested feeding cooked eggs to them? Thought? Right now, they're separated from the others and back under the brooder light and that may be what's helping. They went outdoors ( screened in porch )in their big brooder 4 days ago, and spent two lights with the top covered, no light and one day in their outside pen, feet on the grass. Could it have been too soon for my smaller guy?

  2. Gmsg01

    Gmsg01 Chirping

    May 4, 2011
    West Monroe,NY
    I am sure someone here can correct me, but I believe the product we purchase as "Cornish game hens" in the grocery store are these Cornish crosses processed at 4-5 weeks. So you could process these guys now, and have a romantic dinner for two. [​IMG]

    I did have my first experience with these guys this year, and share your concerns. But I am going to try an outdoor tractor system next year, because those carcasses are SO MUCH NICER then what I but at the store. Mine were 3.5-7 pounds dressed weight at 8 weeks, and NO ONE had those big globs of fat I am always trimming off the store birds.

    I had also processed #3 21 week old roosters at the time, one wyanadotte, and 2 ameracuna. Cooked them in the smoker. Although there is no where near the white meat, the flavor was super, texture very acceptable, and will do it with the roosters again next year. These guys were raised somewhat free range, and VERY low maintenance (which the meats were not!)
  3. WVDan44

    WVDan44 Songster

    Jul 22, 2010
    I have my first batch of Cornish X that I'm raising and they are about the same age as yours. I ordered 25, got 26, lost one within 5 days for some reason, and had one that went cripple on me. I thought the same as you at first. When the others began picking at it I kept it separate from the rest which made even more work for me every day. At 3 weeks, I realized that I was doing the bird a great injustice by trying to keep it alive. The others are prospering and doing very well. I regret not culling it sooner. I won't make that sad mistake again. In my opinion, it doesn't pay, in fact it costs a lot of time, money, and emotion to hang on to a bird that isn't ever going to make it. If you have a problem culling it, maybe you can get someone else to do it for you. For me, culling was the right thing to do.
  4. WishboneDawn

    WishboneDawn In the Brooder

    Jun 19, 2011
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    I'd cull it. We had a meat chick with a different problem and it lived until 6 weeks. I wish I'd culled it as well.

    As for them being un-chicken like...Meh. Probably has a lot to do with how you raise them. Ours were outside at 3 or 4 weeks and free-ranged. They cleaned the lawn of slugs, ran like the dickens when they saw food and were the friendliest chickens I've had to date. I loved them and can't wait for next summer to get more.

  5. erinszoo

    erinszoo Songster

    Jun 28, 2011
    North Central Oklahoma
    We have our first meat birds this year too. We got 15 Cornish X. One died the first day but since then the rest have just grown and grown. We haven't had any leg problems or lethargy. We've been weighing them weekly to check on their progress. Last week, at 24 days, we killed two of our birds for cornish game hens and ate them for Sunday dinner. They were the most succulent birds I have ever eaten. Tomorrow we are going to process four more at 32 days for the freezer. The other eight we plan to keep until they are 8 weeks or so to stock the freezer with but if they start not growing as fast or have a problem, we will cull earlier.

    Given they won't live for more than eight weeks or so anyway, they will always be baby birds when they are killed so I would go ahead and cull some.

    Ours still have light on for at least 20 hours a day. They are only outside for two to three hours a day and the rest of the time they are in their shelf brooder which is a 4 x 4 shelf in our chicken house with bedding and hay. Three side of it are solid and the fourth side is a frame with hardware cloth for ventilation.

    Where did you get your birds? Ours came from McMurray Hatchery, and while we aren't thrilled with their customer service, all of the birds we have gotten from them have been excellent quality.

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