Uh ... help ... maybe ... babies eating too much?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by erinszoo, Sep 25, 2011.

  1. erinszoo

    erinszoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 28, 2011
    North Central Oklahoma
    Got our first meat birds early Thursday morning. We leave food in front of them at all times since they are new birds and they are eating like CRAZY!! But how much is too much? I went out this morning and picked one of the babies up and it's belly was literally fat and round and it weighed a ton (not really but a lot more than are egg layer babies). Is that normal?
  2. Jloeffler

    Jloeffler Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 22, 2011
    Northeast NC
    When DH and I first started looking into Cornish crosses I read that fir the first two weeks you should make food available all day but then restrict feed to daytime only until ready to be processed. I might have the week wrong, but I don't think it's earlier than two weeks. Remember, these birds were bred to achieve mature weight months ahead of schedule. Their metabolisms are in hyperactive ludicrous mode.
  3. shelby528

    shelby528 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 5, 2009
    Exact reason why I dont buy cornish crosses anymore I find it cruel...I have perfectly healthy meat birds of my own (no name) I crossed them between a speckled sussex (because I find the meat amazing) and a sex link...and these birds take 5-7 months til i process and there not disgusting cant walk type of birds. [​IMG] But yes food for 2 weeks all the time then only the day time thats what I offer mine [​IMG]
  4. ScottyHOMEy

    ScottyHOMEy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 21, 2011
    Waldo County, Maine
    Everything is fine. The CornishXs are bred to eat and convert feed. I recall being a little alarmed during my first experience with them. When they hit that mark at 2-3 days old when their yolks were all consumed and they started chowing down, they began developing what looked like tumors about where their necks join the rest of the body. All I was seeing was their crops stuffed full. It's the nature of the critters.

    That first batch, I'd had some layer chicks shipped along with them. Among those were two White Wyandotttes and I had had the hatchery mark them to be sure I didn't put them in the brooder with the meat chicks. I needn't have worried. They wouldn't have been together long enough to do any harm to the WWs. Though the layer chicks did show a less pronounced enlargement of the crop for just the first couple of days that they started to getting serious about pecking at feed, they, unlike the CornishXs, started regulating their intake so that it wasn't at all noticeable. If that wasn't difference enough, by ten days the difference in size and behavior really began to emerge and the WWs woud have been easily identified in time to put them in the correct place.
  5. Tracydr

    Tracydr Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have six right now at the two week mark. They have the "junk in the trunk" look, along with the enormous crops. I'm also raising a bunch of red broilers from Ideal. They're staying pretty close, size-wise, but the Cornish have the messy bald chests and are starting to get ever so slightly larger than the reds. I'm sure by 6-7 weeks, the Cornish will be much larger than the reds. I'm beginning to think that I'm going to like raising these reds. They're quite attractive and growing fairly fast, active, clean. I'll be very interested to SE how they dress out at twelve weeks. I'm considering keeping a couple hens and maybe getting a Cornish roo to breed them to.
  6. CrazyFowlFreak

    CrazyFowlFreak Pine Hill Farm

    Apr 24, 2009
    How bad is the poop situation with the meaties? I'm considering getting some next year, but am worried that they stink way worse than other chickens. [​IMG] Any feedback on this?
  7. Jloeffler

    Jloeffler Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 22, 2011
    Northeast NC
    Those of you raising meat birds, erinzoo and Tracydr, please keep posting how things are going! Like CFF, this is something I've considered and it would be nice to get feedback from other first timers! I am so glad you started this thread erinzoo!!
  8. ScottyHOMEy

    ScottyHOMEy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 21, 2011
    Waldo County, Maine
    Quote:They WILL require much more frequent cleaning than layers. They consume VAST quantities of water to go along with their feed. Again going back to my first experience with them, I got caught short and had time only to erect the year-round coop intended for the layers (the way-oversize, well-ventilated, moderate-weather-only, easily-accesible-for-husbandry doghouse for the meat birds was budgeted and in progress , but not ready when it became necessary to move the birds from their brooder). The temporary solution was to partition off the coop I had up and ready.

    15 CornishXs on one side, 8 layer pullets on the other, with the space weighted heavily toward the Cornishes. In those four weeks before the meat dearies were sent to freezer camp, their side of the coop required mucking out about every 3-4 days (four early on, 3 at the end was stretching it) to keep them on acceptably dry litter. As I did, it smell never became a problem but, even maintaining dry litter at a healthy level for the CornishXs, there was a remarkable drop in the humidity in the VERY well-ventilated coop once the girls were into the coolers.

    They grow so fast and convert feed so incredibly efficiently, but somehow they need to take in a lot of water to keep things flowing. And it passes right though them. So, yes, there is the potential for things to get wet and smelly, and quickly. The layers, having run of the full place, can go six weeks or longer with only an occasional raking of their litter before I change it out completely. Those first meat birds, if I let them go a full three days in those last couple of weeks, I was shoveling out cakes ( the kind that hang WAY out beyond the edges of the scoop shovel) of sodden manure and litter that had compacted under their own weight. Definitely tightened up the drill to elimnate the extreme.

    They're wicked efficient but, properly husbanded, they will require, over their short spans on this big blue marble, more intense work than a flock of laying or dual-purpose birds.

    Easily managed, in my book, and well worth the brief, if extra, effort.
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2011
  9. Chickann

    Chickann Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 10, 2011
    Warren, Ontario
    Quote:I've got 43 White Rocks sitting at 5 weeks of age right now, another week old batch (44) and 10 3 wk olds....they eat. And poop and drink. ALL DAY. The two youngest batces have to be cleaned twice a day since under the heat lamp and around the feeders get disgusting pretty quick. They're poopy feed converting machines. And they STINK.

    I would include photos....however it appears I have no idea how [​IMG]
  10. Clay Valley Farmer

    Clay Valley Farmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 7, 2010
    I have ~85 six week old broilers and they are eating the equivilent of about 2 bags of feed every 3 days. These things eat like pigs and grow like weeds it is just the way they are. I have found it best control the eating with restricting hours of light rather than having them in a pen with an empty feeder.

    Always good to have in mind that their purpose and advantage is feed conversion and quick growth, if you do much to fight quick growth then it does not make good sense to have that sort of bird. As long as they are healthy then there is no harm is feeding them what they will eat. I have had to cull birds injured due to trampling when I tried to restrict feed.

    Every 2lb of feed they eat equals about 1 lb of chicken!

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