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making the best of raising cornish rock cross

 
Posts: 64
Location: Rockwall, TX
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I watched Justin's vlogs and none of his Cornish Cross chickens keeled over or had bent legs. One was eaten by a snake. He started them off with honey and raw apple cider vinegar in their water and fermented feed along with free ranging. He was very pleased with his success. Don't have a link to his vlog. They're on YouTube.
 
Mother Tree
Posts: 11116
Location: Portugal
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Jerry Sledge wrote:I watched Justin's vlogs and none of his Cornish Cross chickens keeled over or had bent legs.



Does he try to keep any alive to breed from though?  I've heard of a few people who have managed it, but so far none of mine have.  I can slow the growth right down by having them live purely free range, but eventually they just get too big anyway.  Keeping them for the short while it takes to raise them for meat is ok, but then you're dependent on buying in replacements.
 
Jerry Sledge
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Meat only, none for breeding.
 
Posts: 109
Location: W. CO, 6A
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My thought on this is like with hybrid veggies: use them for what they are intended.
Hybridized veggies can grow bigger, faster, and have have better disease resistance, with the caveat that saving seed to replant is like a box of chocolates. I'm sure you can finish the quote.

I have chosen to rethink my stance on hybrid veggies from being unaware, to totally against, to ok in some circumstances.
Obviously, you don't want it interbreeding with your heirloom landrace veggies.
Or do you...hmm. Perhaps a discussion for another time.
 
pollinator
Posts: 795
Location: Federal Way, WA - Western Washington (Zone 8 - temperate maritime)
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Oh, Cassie! so glad you brought up the forbidden word....compromise!  I know there are other words used in this 'arena' (not on this forum, however ;)... puritan, perfectionist, slackers, halfwayers,etc... all with appropriate sneers, etc; passing judgment is so.... human!, automatic, and feelgoody.... but I think we need to work on being 'slack-cutters'.  Let's live and let live, and acknowledge that we are all 'permie sinnners' in somebodies eyes (hope I never meet those 'somebodies', and our 'hawks' pick them off pretty quickly on this forum).  I'm probably judging the judgers right here, but I vote for live-and-let-live.... even Jean Martin Fortier and Stefan Sobkowiak acknowledge that they could not have their marvelous market garden and permaculture orchard without black plastic (here I could put in a plug for silt fencing material... but I won't :).

So, thanks for the opportunity to say that.... and I LOVE PMNA !!  So veeery well done ;)
 
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Location: Aroostook county maine
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Burra Maluca wrote:The problem we had with them, after we'd sorted out how to make the things walk around and forage instead of sleeping with their heads in the feed bowl, was that their skin is so soft that within a few weeks of them reaching 'finishing size' their feet wore through.  We wanted to keep them for breeding and were very hopeful that the rooster, who was a little smaller and slimmer than the hens, would be a good meaty cross for our laying flock.  But after he wore great holes in the bottom of his feet just from waddling around in the grass he wasn't going to much use to use, so we ate him. 

This a photo of one of the young hens, with her legs bowing under the weight...



This one is sulking as I'd found her hiding and made her stand up and get some exercise...



And this is the rooster, at exactly the same age - noticeably slimmer!  But the skin on his feet couldn't take the strain of exercising and, although we kept him longer than any of the hens, he still didn't make it to breeding age.



We also bought a 'freedom ranger' rooster who was much better at foraging and grew at a sensible-ish rate, but his feet wore through just the same and he lost the ability to walk within days of starting to crow, so he was no use to us either.  Except for the pot.



It wasnt bumblefoot was it?
 
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
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I've been looking at raising cornish rock cross and have been scouring the internet for strategies and best practices.  Apparently, the key to keeping them healthy is to put them on a strict feeding schedule.  You can't just let them eat as much as they want or they'll eat themselves to death.  Give them a ration of food in the morning, more in the afternoon, and then once more in the evening.  Beyond this, they'll need a lot of grass to forage on.  This keeps them moving (as opposed to falling asleep with their fat beaks in the feeder) and gets them to eat a lot more grass and other greens.  Most of that grass will go right through them, but their bodies will mine the grass for vitamins and minerals, and the exercise is good for them.

They'll still gain weight and will be ready to harvest in about 13 - 15 weeks (rather than 11 or 12), but will be much more healthy.  Basically, you use their "super power" to your advantage (they just want to eat, eat, eat) and force them away from the empty food tray and get them out into the pasture.

This WILL NOT WORK if you have a mixed flock of other birds, as the cornish rock cross will eat all the food up and leave nothing for the slower eaters.  You need to separate them.  The other breeds can eat when they want, but you can't leave a CRC in with them or they'll just hog all the food.

If you use this strategy with a chicken tractor, you may need to move your tractor 2 times a day (or more, depending on the # of birds you have in there).

As with most things permaculture, its all about management.  Yes, this requires a lot more work than just filling up their feeder with all the food they can scarf down in a day, but it will yield a much healthier bird with few of the problems (legs, heart attacks) associated with CRC.
 
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