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What meat chickens should I raise? What's the differences?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Brunty_Farms, Jan 10, 2011.

  1. SteveH

    SteveH Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 10, 2009
    West/Central IL
    It was not my intent to reintroduce the debate on CX : raise them , or not , nor to rip Bossdoo . I appreciate Jeff's summary and choose not to enter into the old arguements I've seen go on here . The CX is the most logical bird to feed the masses IMHO ; I also see the importance of preserving heritage breeds and developing better strains reproduced without elaborate crosses , especially when the bulk of the parent stock necessary to produce commercial meaties are owned by one or two corporations . I accept the fact that some can see only one side or the other , but personally believe that Jeff's summary is enough to help those with open minds decide which category of chicken best suits them .
     
    1 person likes this.
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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  3. bigredfeather

    bigredfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Very nice Jeff! Should help anyone wanting to get started in meat birds a good reference on how to decide and what to expect from each.
     
  4. Brunty_Farms

    Brunty_Farms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    BigRedFeathers Post.... so it doesn't get lost. Also a link to the actual post...... https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=436974

    With so many newbies asking questions on raising Cornish X’s, I thought I would put together a post on how I raise them. I am not saying my way is the only way or the right way, but it is how I do it. I have had great livability percentages and great final results using this method. So, here it goes.

    The Brooder
    When I am expecting an order of CX chicks, the first thing to get ready is the brooder. If I haven’t already done it, the day before they arrive, I put down fresh wood shavings, starting with 1-2”. I also plug in the heat lamp, fill the waterer, and fill the feed tray. You always want newly arrived chicks to have water to drink that is not tap water temp, as it can bring down their body temp very quickly. My brooders are 5’x9’, and I hang 2 heat lamps about a foot apart in the center of the brooder. Just like other chicks, CX’s know what temp they need, and will move in and out from under the lamp as needed. By placing it in the center, it keeps brooder temp uniform and at the same time, allows them ample room to move away from the heat. As far as size of the brooder, I figure ¾ of a sqft/chick, assuming they are going to be in there for 3 weeks. You could put more, but I have found unless you are going to change litter daily, this is about the right density. I still have to rebed, but only 2-3 times in 3 weeks. Under no circumstances will I ever brood them in my house. They are fine for the first few days, but after that the smell and the dander will drive you nuts. I have a simple rule, NO LIVESTOCK IN THE HOUSE!

    They’re Here
    When the chicks arrive, they promptly go to the prewarmed brooder. After putting them in, I will stand there and observe them for a few minutes. After a few hours, I go back and check again. If they are all huddled under the lamp, I move the lamp down a little to increase the brooder temp. If they are going about their business, I leave it alone. I have my lamps on small chains and attach them to hooks, allowing me to easily adjust the height. I have found that the sooner you can wean them from the heat, the quicker they will feather. After the first week, weather permitting, I will unplug the heat lamp during the warmest part of the day for a bit, increasing the time a little each day. In doing this, it allows me to get them out of the brooder and into the tractor by at least 3 weeks of age. During warmer weather, I have gotten them out to the pasture as early as 2 weeks.

    Feeding
    Cornishes are eating machines. It still amazes me how much they can eat. As a rough guide, I figure a total of 18-20 pounds per chick. I use a custom made 22% feed from my mill. Cornishes will literally eat themselves to death if allowed, so it is important not to overfeed them. Most will suggest feeding them 24/7 for the first 2 weeks and then 12 hours w/ feed and 12 w/out. I agree with this, as it does keep their growth at a pace that will keep their livability % higher. I, however, have been going about it differently. I give them only the amount of feed I want them to consume in a day. I have a chart that gives the approximate daily food consumption for up to 8 weeks. I found the chart on here a while back, and have found it very useful. I have modified it to my liking, and always have average weights of 4-5 pounds in 8 weeks, while having almost no flips. Sure you can feed them more and get them bigger faster, but for me, the reassurance of not losing a bird at the 6 week mark to CHF is well worth it. Staring from day one, I always make sure all of them have a “place at the table” when feed is given. At this point from experience, I know at what mark I need to add feeder space. To figure it out, after you give them feed, just make sure they all fit at the feeder. If they don’t, add more feeder space.

    Watering
    CX’s will drink a tremendous amount of water in a days time, especially in warm weather. Just like other breeds, it is important to have clean water in front of them at all times. After 5 weeks of age, it is nothing for 80 of them to drink over 10 gallons a day.

    Housing
    I use the tractor method. As stated above, I most always have them out to pasture by 3 weeks. It is very helpful for them to start to eat greens at this age, as the nutrition in the greens result in much healthier birds. I am also a firm believer that the amount of sunlight they get from being outside is beneficial. My pasture mix is a horse pasture blend of white clover and 4 or 5 types of grass hay. The birds love the clover. As soon as I start to move the tractor, most of them will move to the front to get to the new pasture. My tractors are 10’x10’, and I put right at 70 per, giving them around 1.5 sqft per bird. Tractor density is more important than people think. If you have them too dense, it is tough to keep enough feed in front of them and some will get shorted, resulting in some smaller birds. If you don’t have it dense enough, they will not grow as well due to lack of competition. Not sure of the science behind it, but I can tell you from experience it is a factor. At any rate, I am happy with the results I get with this density. I move the tractor at least once a day, twice on the weekends or when I am home all day.

    Raising this breed properly will result in a bounty of reward. You can get a very nice eating size bird in a relatively short period of time. No other breed will ever give you as proportional breast and dark meat as these. The Cornish often gets a bad rap, unrightfully so. They are not genetically modified and are not frankenbirds as I have often seen the called. People who have problems often get into them not being fully knowledgeable of how to properly take care of them. As a result, they spread a fury of misinformation about their expirience. I think that this misinformation hinders some folks from even trying them, which IMHO is wrong. Under no circumstances will they ever “die for no reason” or just break a leg walking. I have never had one go down from bad legs and have had very few flips. If either if these happen, it is from improper care, not the breed.

    I hope this is insightful for those of you considering trying your hand at this breed, and hopefully it clears up some of the misinformation people spread. Once again, I am not saying this is the right way or the only way to raise these, just my way.​
     
    2 people like this.
  5. Brunty_Farms

    Brunty_Farms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Please explain to me how anything that is not economical can be sustained for long?

    Oh. Yeah. Sorry. I forgot about hobbies!


    Thanks Jeff for taking the time to write this. I have been putting off doing something like this for lack of time. The snow must be pretty deep up there in the snow belt and you have extra time in the house.

    Hatfields & McCoys, Good & Evil, BossRoo & Steve H. . . . eternal struggles.

    Snow? LOL.... oh ya. We are supposed to get a half a foot tonight but I hope they are wrong. I'm tired of winter already, bored out of my mind.
     
  6. Neil Grassbaugh

    Neil Grassbaugh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:DON'T FEEL SORRY FOR HIM FOLKS. HE LIVES ABOUT A HALF MILE FROM A SKI RESORT AND I KNOW HE SNOWBOARDS. PLUS THERE IS A BAR IN THE LODGE.
     
  7. Brunty_Farms

    Brunty_Farms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Haha... wow. Throw me under the bus why don't ya. [​IMG]
     
  8. Bossroo

    Bossroo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:DON'T FEEL SORRY FOR HIM FOLKS. HE LIVES ABOUT A HALF MILE FROM A SKI RESORT AND I KNOW HE SNOWBOARDS. PLUS THERE IS A BAR IN THE LODGE.

    We get a dusting of snow about once in a decade at our arrid ranch. Just 18 miles East and a 45 minute drive from our ranch is a major ski resort in the High Sierra Nevada Mountains with bars for a hot toddy. Then too there are 3 major Indian casinos NE and within 5 miles with bars to help one loose ones' paycheck. There is a famous lodge at Yosemite National park in the Sierra Nevada Mountains just 25 miles North that has a luxurous bar with a huge fireplace that just becons you to take off your parka and enjoy a hot buttered rum. Then just a mere 2 hour drive due West we can baske on the Pacific Ocean beaches in swim suits and enjoy a Dos Equis or three and watch the sunset. We can do all this on the same day. Such is life.
     
  9. KatyTheChickenLady

    KatyTheChickenLady Bird of A Different Feather

    Dec 20, 2008
    Boise, Idaho
    Quote:Bahahahha . . . bump goes the bus . . . [​IMG]
     
  10. KatyTheChickenLady

    KatyTheChickenLady Bird of A Different Feather

    Dec 20, 2008
    Boise, Idaho
    Quote:DON'T FEEL SORRY FOR HIM FOLKS. HE LIVES ABOUT A HALF MILE FROM A SKI RESORT AND I KNOW HE SNOWBOARDS. PLUS THERE IS A BAR IN THE LODGE.

    We get a dusting of snow about once in a decade at our arrid ranch. Just 18 miles East and a 45 minute drive from our ranch is a major ski resort in the High Sierra Nevada Mountains with bars for a hot toddy. Then too there are 3 major Indian casinos NE and within 5 miles with bars to help one loose ones' paycheck. There is a famous lodge at Yosemite National park in the Sierra Nevada Mountains just 25 miles North that has a luxurous bar with a huge fireplace that just becons you to take off your parka and enjoy a hot buttered rum. Then just a mere 2 hour drive due West we can baske on the Pacific Ocean beaches in swim suits and enjoy a Dos Equis or three and watch the sunset. We can do all this on the same day. Such is life.

    lol, bossroo where the heck are you from? I'm from Oakdale . . .
     

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