What can I do to restore a cornish x to health?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Ken3, Jun 5, 2011.

  1. Ken3

    Ken3 In the Brooder

    May 20, 2011
    Folks -

    I've looked through the messages here, and realize that to many the question is absurd. But, I'm a first-time chicken owner who got some chicks to raise (for eggs) with my daughter and we ended up with a cornish x. Being new to chickens, we just thought that this one was growing faster than the others. Only today, when I posted a question on the illness section of BYC about this chicken having trouble walking, did I figure out what was going on, that it was a cornish-x meat type bird.

    So, I've read a number of the threads here where folks describe limiting intake, getting the birds to exercise more, and so forth in order to keep them healthy and extend their lives. Unfortunately, at this point I've got a huge bird that is having trouble getting to her feet and moving more than a couple of steps. I don't know how old she was when we got her (from TSC) but we've had her about 8 weeks. Any thoughts on what, if anything, I could do to get her healthy again? If I could get her the sort of longevity others have mentioned I'd like to. My daughter will be pretty upset if Sunshine has to go away (she named all the chickens).

    Thanks for all ideas. BTW, I do not have any problem with eating chicken, I'd just rather not eat this particular one.


  2. itsy

    itsy Songster

    Mar 14, 2011
    New England
    Hey Ken. Welcome to the forum.

    I'm uncertain that even if you did slim the bird down at this point that it wouldn't succumb to heart failure or something else at a sooner or later date. They certainly don't have the same longevity that the other chickens do. She might end up seeing Sunshine "go away" anhow. I don't have children and have no idea how I'd handle the situation, but from what I've read in the meaties section - most children enjoy learning how to process a chicken. Many parents post about how well children react to the event. Maybe it would be a good lesson for her to learn about where her meat comes from? I'm in no way trying to suggest how you should/could parent and I don't know how that whole thing works in the first place! Although... it may not be the best idea to learn how to process food from a "pet" and may be better reserved for chickens purchased for the intention of eating. [​IMG]

    Either way, I feel like processing Sunshine would be best, especially if you'd have to explain her "going away" soon anyway.

    This is a tough one. Good luck! [​IMG]
  3. PotterWatch

    PotterWatch My Patronus is a Chicken

    Apr 22, 2008
    Maybe someone will have some ideas but I doubt there is much that can be done given that she is already having issues. If you had caught it while she was younger and smaller, it might have been different. We have had success with leg weakness issues when the birds have been younger. We have isolated them so they don't have to compete for their food, and put them in a smaller area with the food and water right close so that the bird doesn't have to go far at all to get to them. After a week or two of less food than the others and resting, we have been able to put them in with a batch of younger birds and they have done reasonably well. Of course, we aren't looking for a long-term solution, just long enough to get to processing age and size.
  4. Clay Valley Farmer

    Clay Valley Farmer Songster

    Sep 7, 2010
    Perfect time to provide a good life lesson.

    I would tell it that all chickens have jobs, some have the job of laying eggs, others producing meat.

    Like posted above kids are often more into the processing than you would think and make their opinions of it largly off the adults responses to the event. If you are not icked out the don't tend to be.

    Enjoy that chicken for what it was ment to be, dinner. To let it suffer and eventually die is a waste and not a good life lesson for the little ones.
  5. Jschaaff

    Jschaaff Songster

    Apr 25, 2011
    New Hampshire
    Morning. The black and white of it is she wont live a very long, or enjoyable life. KNOWING that, however, does not take away from how your little one feels about her, or the fact that you do not want to eat this particular hen, especially since you were not aware, or intending her to be a "meat bird" in the first place. Unfortunately no matter how you feel, the only really fair thing to do for Sunshine, is to process her now, or give her away to someone else who is willing to do so.

    I understand how you feel. At one week old, one of my cornish got sick. I isolated her, treated her with antibiotics and hand fed and watered her until she was better..keeping her in the house with me instead of in the brooder. A lot of people around here (not on BYC...I mean locally ...NH) were confused as to why I'd bother so much with a meat bird... It wasn't about the $$ for me..having to get her (actually she, turned out to be a he) in the freezer, it was that part of this ENTIRE process for me, is ensuring a good life for all of my animals, whether meant as food, or not. I am a bit attached to "Hoppy"... but, if I try and keep him past his normal life expectency....8 weeks or so... he will be uncomfortable, have difficulty walking... his heart will be under so much stress, and there is a good chance he will die, before he could be properly processed for eating. . .thus wasting his short little life. So as much as I adore the little guy...he will join the others in the freezer next week.

    Whatever decision you make, whether to process, or keep her alive a bit longer, do explain to your daughter, that it is simply not possible for Sunshine to live a long happy life. Her body is just not made for it.

    Take care and best of luck Ken.

  6. KatyTheChickenLady

    KatyTheChickenLady Bird of A Different Feather

    Dec 20, 2008
    Boise, Idaho
    you can put Sunshine on a diet, they don't like it at all, but it does help. Typically when they start walking a few steps and then sitting down & wheezing it's too late. What does she weigh? I grew some out to 20 lbs they were 18 months when they gave out to CHF. They were pets & we buried them, the kids and husband would have had it no other way. I guess what I am saying is it's a question of "how" you want your daughter to see her go. In our house we butcher meat birds and we bury pets.

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