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Any pointers for my first CX flock

 
David Hill
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I have 50 coming in on Thursday. I have a large brooder prepared and a 20 x 30 pen built. Looking for pointers for them to survive in Texas heat.
 
Paul Ewing
Posts: 127
Location: Boyd, Texas
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This is a bit late for CX batches in Texas in my opinion. My last group will be going to the processor June 25th and I will not start the next ones till September. It is possible to go through the summer, but it takes more management and you can lose a fair amount in the last couple weeks.

The chief things are to be careful with the brooder temperature. During the day you might not even be running heat lamps at all. Be sure to get the lamps back on when the sun starts going down though. CX are more cold tolerant than layer breeds and feather out a lot faster but can still chill off if you are not careful. I would probably go with 2-4 125W bulbs instead 1 or 2 250W bulbs so it is easier to regulate the temp. If you have some 60W Real light bulbs horded those might be a better option. I have had swings or 112F to 86F in the first week and not lost any so the whole 95F then drop 5F each week isn't really as important. Cooling is much more important than heat in our summer temps. I would be prepared to take them out of the brooder at 14 days and no later than 21 days and only going that long if they have plenty of room to scatter in the brooder to stay cool. We are starting fly season too so less time in the brooder is less fly issues.

I have started using peat moss instead of shavings for my brooders and it is great. It absorbs the very fluid CX poop and spilled water quickly and keeps things dry which helps keep flies down. It also is slightly acid which helps keep down flies and reduces pathogens for things like coccidiosis.

Lots of cool clean water is a very big key to survival in the summer. If you can change out the water morning, noon, and afternoon at least. Don't let them run dry.

Try to keep some kind of shade for them. Keep enough height to allow the hot air to stay above the chickens or better yet use angles to funnel the hot air out. I have found the flat roofed 2 foot tall Salatin tractors to be way too hot for our Texas summers. I use a 6 foot tall hoop coop for them set in an electronet paddock.

Remember that in the heat the birds metabolism slows down and they don't eat as much. The feed conversion ratio also worsens so they will not gain weight as fast and may take an extra week or two to get to your market weight.
 
David Hill
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Thank you for the info!
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/cards
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