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#16 2016-11-12 17:14:00

jocelyn
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From: PEI
Registered: 2009-01-23
Posts: 923

Re: Last few years with Cornish Crosses - no more

Ok, went and looked at my notes.  Smallest bird 3 pounds 10 oz, largest 10 pounds 11 oz (cut him in two).  Total dressed weights, 345 pounds, not 310 pounds, sorry.  Cost per bird is feed, chicks, one heat lamp bulb, electricty estimate, and propane estimate for scalding.  I forgot to add the oyster shell, so I don't know how much.  I would like to lessen the number of deaths, but expect to lose a few, drowned, eaten by fox, cooked under heat lamp......
Bedding that is deep and soft will prevent breast blisters, any soft bedding, grass, shavings, sods and clay, sand, doesn't matter as long as it is soft.

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#17 2016-11-12 18:07:11

Tegaan
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From: Salmon Arm, BC
Registered: 2013-12-15
Posts: 559

Re: Last few years with Cornish Crosses - no more

We processed at 8 and 9 weeks. We feed organic feed, so increases our cost.

Last edited by Tegaan (2016-11-12 19:30:05)

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#18 2016-11-12 18:33:04

jocelyn
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From: PEI
Registered: 2009-01-23
Posts: 923

Re: Last few years with Cornish Crosses - no more

Yup, organic costs more, bet they are very tasty too :)  I can't count either, we killed 46, not 43.  That's why the weights stuck in my head at 310 pounds, forgot the other 3 on the back of the page.  I don't know if organic feed is available here, I don't think I ever checked to see or not.

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#19 2016-11-12 22:31:10

jocelyn
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From: PEI
Registered: 2009-01-23
Posts: 923

Re: Last few years with Cornish Crosses - no more

WE forgot Journeys End in the tangent we got off on...oops.  So, medicated feed will prevent coccidiosis under low disease load.  It won't treat an oubreak.  Some hatcheries vaccinate for cocci, and some don't.  The chicks that are not vaccinated have a harder time if cocci are present.  Sometimes one has to use that medication that goes in the water to treat an outbreak.  If you Google cocci lifecycle, frost kills them, and drying out kills them....so chicks put in later in the year are exposed to more cocci than ones started earlier, when cocci numbers are lower from the winter die off.  Feeding milk may not have been the direct problem, rather that the little guys drank more liquids, had runnier manure, so a better survival of cocci nasties.  WE fed fresh milk when we had goats years ago, and it went OK.  WE did have chicks early though, and our barn is cold over the winter, so not too many cocci present.  Hope this helps

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#20 2016-11-13 01:51:33

Journey's End
Moderator
From: PEI
Registered: 2009-08-03
Posts: 2211

Re: Last few years with Cornish Crosses - no more

The thing is, we only feed medicated starter, and only half the chicks got milk, and only for a few days before I stopped. The deaths started at day 1 and kept up for the whole time. Out of 65 birds we butchered 38 I think, from both the milk fed and non.


Homesteading, homeschooling, hillbilly mama of three.

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#21 2016-11-13 09:13:15

jocelyn
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From: PEI
Registered: 2009-01-23
Posts: 923

Re: Last few years with Cornish Crosses - no more

OK, I'm out of ideas.  Anybody else?  Sorry you lost so many.  Wish I could help with ideas as to why.)>...

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#22 2016-11-13 10:31:05

jocelyn
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From: PEI
Registered: 2009-01-23
Posts: 923

Re: Last few years with Cornish Crosses - no more

Well, I've had my tea now, so more ideas, grin.
Some of these won't apply, so just mentally weed them out to those that might.
Sometimes the parent birds are coming down with something, just one barn in the breeder flock.
These eggs hatch OK, but those chicks may die on you at 1 to 4 days after you got them.
The feed store will start to get reports from several customers that the liveability was poor...so check with the feeed mill where you bought them.

The hatch was a little spread out, meaning some chicks were nearly 48 hours old when the chicks made it to the feed mill.  If the van/truck was delayed getting to the feed store, those chicks will have really low blood sugar and will be a little frail.  Folks that are able to pick them up right away and get them on warm water with honey/sugar in it will see better results than folks who couldn't pick them up for a couple of hours.  They are pretty dry, so they drink a lot of cold water, and then shiver up what little blood sugar they have left to get warm...meaning they often are too weak to eat much, and get sick easy.

Medicated feed will be enough if the chicks are healthy, but you will need further treatment in the water if the chicks are frail and their immune system is not working well because of any of the above...all stuff you have no control over.

Your chicks may or may not have been vaccinated to help prevent coccidiosis.

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#23 2016-11-13 15:27:51

CathyJK
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From: Near Invermere, BC
Registered: 2012-12-02
Posts: 1199

Re: Last few years with Cornish Crosses - no more

jocelyn wrote:

W
Your chicks may or may not have been vaccinated to help prevent coccidiosis.

If you vaccinate for coccidiosis, and then you feed medicated starter, you nullify the vaccine (small dose of coccidia). The medicated feed kills off the little bit of coccidia that the chicks had.

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#24 2016-11-13 19:34:51

shaneb99
I Love A.C.E.
From: Strathmore
Registered: 2012-08-28
Posts: 2109

Re: Last few years with Cornish Crosses - no more

I've raised Cornish Cross for meat since about 2001 with a couple of experiments in between.  We have always got them from Rochester.  I wish I had kept records from the start but I started in 2009 to record the numbers we got, how many survived to processing and at least average weights.  We seem to lose about 15% on average generally in the first couple of weeks.  However in 2012 we had 100% survival.  I always feed commercial chick start, then broiler grower then finisher and for the last 6 or 7 years I've added cracked corn to fatten them up.   I used to feed free choice 24/7 but in the last couple of years have gone to daytime feeding only and keeping it dark at night.  If they have light at night but no food they will eat litter.  I separate the food and water so they have to walk at least some.  No heat lights after 4 weeks.  If we need heat I heat the building with heaters.  We butcher pullets at 10 weeks and cockerals at 12 because it takes the cockerals longer to fill out. Average weight is always about 6# for pullets and 8# for cockerals with some variation about 1# each way.  In 2013 I tried Mistral Gris and of 25 ordered 21 survived to processing.  They averaged 4.5# for pullets 5.5# for cockerals processed on the same schedule as Cornish.  I probably should have kept them a couple weeks longer.  Last year we got Cornish Cross from Rochester after the salmonella problems and those were different. Smaller for one thing at about 5.4# each on average.  They were more variable in size and I think it's because they had to switch suppliers. This year we went with Western Rustics.  Of 25 chicks 2 died, a 3rd was processed for dog food early after it broke a wing somehow.  The remaining 23 were processed in 3 batches.  The biggest 11 were done at 12 weeks and averaged just over 5#, the next 6 were done at 14 weeks and were still a little smaller and the last 6 were done at 15 weeks an were about 4#. Very disappointing.  Next year we'll go back to Cornish.  The Rustics didn't forage any more than the Cornish but were slower growing and smaller.


Blue Buff and Silver Laced Brahmas plus too much other stuff to list.

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#25 2016-11-14 06:41:32

uno
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From: Enderby, BC
Registered: 2009-02-22
Posts: 5529
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Re: Last few years with Cornish Crosses - no more

Journey's End, there are so many variables... but I find crowding is a problem. If I have too many chicks in too small a space, there is trouble. I have seen posts in the past about getting the temperature of the brooders just right and I have seen enclosed brooders, like boxes and totes with 250 watt red bulbs overhead for heat. I always panic a little when I see that. To me, more important that the right temperature, is enough room for the chicks to get into or OUT OF the heat as they feel the need. I truly feel that in our zeal to get the temperature just right we over do it and overheat the chicks. I would NEVER place a red heat bulb over an enclosed area like a Rubbermaid tote! I only use a red heat lamp in an area 3x4 or bigger. There must be cool, uncrowded escape room at the edges of the heat zone and that does NOT happen in a small space with a massive heat source. When I brood my chicks in the basement in their little enclosure, I use a reading lamp with a 100 watt bulb for heat.

I also believe shipping chicks is unbelievably hard on them. They are little balls of fluff meant to be cuddled and snuzzled by a fluffy mom. Instead they are tossed into boxes and sent on their way. They are not programmed for box survival or the jostling and shock of shipping. That any survive at all is kind of miraculous.

My gut reaction to your high losses would be to make sure they are not overheated, not over crowded. Have lots of room to get in and out of the heat.

Did they peep a lot in that high, piercing, car alarm peep? Did they make sounds of distress or quietly just slip away? I find there are two types of diers. (as chicks) Those who yell and screech and make a racket and those that droop and huddle with closed eyes, not moving as everyone else zooms around. The screechers can sometimes be helped if you adjust their environment. The sleepy droopers are a much tougher problem to solve.

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#26 2016-11-14 06:59:22

Rosewood Farm
I Love A.C.E.
From: Barriere, BC
Registered: 2009-02-25
Posts: 5506

Re: Last few years with Cornish Crosses - no more

Over the years we've had various results with CGs.  We've had years where we have lost most often the week they are headed for butchering and we've had years where we have raised 27 out of an order of 25 (there is usually 2 extra.  The poor years have out number the good.  We tried some heritage meat chickens like Delawares, but they were not any better than the Wyandottes.  Last year we raised MGs but were disappointed with small sizes and not very tender.  This year we raised some Rustic Broilers.  Many were smaller than expected and a few were very tiny (whites and dark browns).  We haven't cooked any yet so don't know about quality.  We are still looking for a good meat chickens that can be raised like real chickens.


Rosewood Farm,
Breeder Berkshire Pigs.
Black and Blue Cochins, Blue Laced Red Wyandottes.
Beltsville Turkeys.

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#27 2016-11-14 12:05:22

Journey's End
Moderator
From: PEI
Registered: 2009-08-03
Posts: 2211

Re: Last few years with Cornish Crosses - no more

Uno, heat wise, we use heat lamps but there is plenty of space to get away and no overcroding. There were no high pitched peeps and even after they left the brooder they were still dying. I went through everything. thought of anything that could have led to such numbers.  I finally had to conclude that the genetics are bad enough now at the hatchery that they just can't survive. The feed store I get my feed from (different from where I got the chicks) was saying he was hearing a lot of complaints about this year's batch.


Homesteading, homeschooling, hillbilly mama of three.

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#28 2016-11-14 19:37:13

jocelyn
A.C.E. Addicted
From: PEI
Registered: 2009-01-23
Posts: 923

Re: Last few years with Cornish Crosses - no more

If the feed store is getting complaints, you likely have already identified the problem.  I spent 20 years hatching commercially, and there is a huge difference in eggs from different breeders.  My hatchery was custom, meaning whatever people wanted hatched, not broilers.  Some birds are well fed and healthy, the eggs are stored where it's cool and not too long, the parents are not too inbred.....good hatches and good liveability.
Some were not so lucky, and the hatch rate was very poor, and the little birds died like flies and the owners blaimed me for not looking after them.  I would ask.crying. how old the eggs are on arrival, some were a month old.  Some parents were brother and sister, and product of cousins to produce that brother and sister.  Sometimes the flock had had ILT in the past, or some other disease that affects hatch rate.  Broiler hatcheries usually buy their eggs from parent breeders, and have only 'after the fact' control of those eggs...they can call the supplier and work through a problem after it has already happened.

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#29 2016-11-17 18:39:35

Blaithin
Moderator
From: Torrington, AB
Registered: 2011-12-19
Posts: 1143
Website

Re: Last few years with Cornish Crosses - no more

Last time we did Cornish was two years ago so my memory is fuzzy on exact numbers. I think we ordered 50 and picked them up at Peavy Mart in Red Deer. This was the year of Salmonella.

I have NEVER seen such active Cornish x's. We did limit their feed and had no deformities like typical free feed produces. And they were slightly smaller than the free fed variety, but they were adventurous escape artists! I think I lost more through having to cull bad idea chickens than actual issues. Lost a couple as chicks but then there was one stuck in a pallet because she thought she was svelte enough to fit through and I believe a dislocated hip because they thought they were acrobats despite their size? I even have a photo of one that went out the barn, all the way around it, into the other side and climbed a stack of square bales to meet me at the door. Under normal meat bird standards it would've had an issue getting 10 feet from the door outside. There was one memorable other one that knew how to escape the outdoor pen but never thought to go back in the same way. Instead she'd walk up the old school liner cattle loading chute and JUMP over the pallet fence and back in craazeee So obviously not as stupid as they seem to be when they're inert globs of fat. They also really liked leaping and jumping after all sorts of insects, they were lovely and yellow when butchered because of this and their high grass diet.

If all Cornish were the same as that group - we'll see if the next is - then I would have no issue with growing them. I don't need a huge bird at butcher so they were still big enough, tasty enough, and cost is much better than any of the heritage crosses.

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#30 2017-02-07 21:13:36

HamaaraHof
Growing Member
From: Barrhead, Alberta
Registered: 2017-01-14
Posts: 41

Re: Last few years with Cornish Crosses - no more

Mh, this makes me wonder...
We picked our up from the hatchery before and only lost 2 out of 50.
We kept them I believe for 10 weeks and averaged 7.5lbs with little problems, they were running in a pen outside.
Pen is designed for sun and shade. The plan this year is to purchase hatching eggs, as the feed cost is so high,
have to make up for it somewhere. Will be interesting to read feedback from others :confused:


Saxony, Pekin, Cayuga and Muscovy ducks, SL and GL Wyandottes, dilute Orpingtons, Bourbon Red turkeys and Standard Rex rabbits
Bernese Mountain Dogs
Haflinger Horses

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