Will the meaties grow really big on low protein and/or fermented feed?


12 Years
Aug 29, 2007
If I continue to feed my 3 week old Cornish Cross cockerels a lower protein fermented feed mixture, will they still be able to achieve 10 - 12 lb size? I am raising them to be roasters and at 23 days of age, they are "underweight" according to Welp Hatchery's (aggressive) chart. I know and trust Welp's cornish -- if fed the high protein flock raiser type feed, I am sure they'd attain the 10 - 12 lb size in 10 to 12 weeks. If they grow slower, will they die before they reach the weight I want? Or, if they have the lower protein, will they still have the bone structure to support a 10-12lb body?

Thanks in advance!
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Because these birds are bred for fast growth, there's little you can do to alter the results too quickly.

However, if you're looking for a larger bird, you will need to supplement the lower protein feed with something that's higher protein.

I know fermenting feed does raise protein levels. With our CX, I've experimented and found that 2/3 scratch grains and 1/3 feed in the fermenting pot helps to keep the birds well fed (and excrement much better consistency).

You could also add mealworms to their diet to add protein if you're in a location where natural bugs are decreasing. But warning! The birds find mealworms addictive - so do NOT hand-feed if you've got a large flock! It's better to place in a few spots in the run where they can run to get the bugs. I'm glad I was wearing gloves, as one exuberant CX removed my glove thinking THAT was the tasty treat he'd just consumed! And 25 CX's that are over 8#'s each are a formidable force! Ask my gate, which they've blown out twice in the past month - leaning against it thinking that's how the food is delivered. (No, I have to get through the gate and then the food is delivered!)

As for what will happen, I cannot answer. Our CX's are about 10wks and weigh at least 10# live weight. I've fed them mostly 18-20% feed depending on what was on hand (they ran me out a couple of times!) and fermented scratch and feed as a large supplement to their diet. Roughly 1/4 to 1/3 of their diet is FF. They have figured out how to be chickens and are eating the grass out of their run and all bugs that cross their path. But by far, their favorite is their regular feed. Bone structure on ours are well - although I've noticed a couple heavier cockerals having 'bent' toes as they walk from supporting their girth. They all waddle (can't say run), lay in sunshine, and a few have even tried the whole mating/dominance with fellow cockerals thing. Although they will no longer try to get on their jungle-gym of limbs my sons built for FR's this spring...they're too heavy to try to clamber up a ramp and sit on a strategically placed log!
Thanks for the reply! I received a lot of day old bagels and artisan-type bread, so I have been grating it with a kitchenaid attachment and fermenting it with the chicken feed. Since I have 50 or more pounds of this bread now, I bought the 24% protein starter. I also asked my husband to do the morning feed (before 8am) since I usually don't get out there until much later. He likes their ravenous appetite!

Yes, 25 8lb meaties coming all at once would be intimidating. Mine aren't free ranging since the neighbors wouldn't like that and the hawks would eat them. It's also really cold in NJ, so I have them in our greenhouse. I am trying to keep half on one side and half on the other to cut down on competition. They seem to do better in smaller groups, but that's just a casual observation. I have seen these chicks take dust baths. They turn gray, but look happy!

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