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Meat Chickens Not Gaining Weight?

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Re: Meat Chickens Not Gaining Weight?

Post Number:#16  Unread postby akane » Sat Jun 16, 2018 5:48 pm


michaels4gardens wrote:I have found that when raising "meat chickens" -- I have to decide how i am going to raise them before i get the chicks.


Yeah, I previously had ~80 acres at my disposal with 50-60 of it seeded over 10 years ago and then put into CRP (Iowa pays for land by it's quality to be left for wildlife) and the rest poorly maintained yard with garden plants gone wild over the decades, some building material piles mixed among trees, etc... So I had no reason to go through the effort of confined cornish crosses with intensive feeding on specific poultry feed. 3-4months out of the year my chickens didn't touch poultry feed but around Sept. the eggs would tasted like the dust that comes from shoveling unscreened grains filled with partially chopped up grasshopper bodies. :lol: There was a downside of such free range eggs that they overpowered lightly flavored vanilla type things such as standard tapioca recipes. It was just lumpy egg flavored goo.
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Re: Meat Chickens Not Gaining Weight?

Post Number:#17  Unread postby GBov » Sun Jun 17, 2018 11:44 am


Oh eeeeeeeeew to the eggs!

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Re: Meat Chickens Not Gaining Weight?

Post Number:#18  Unread postby akane » Sun Jun 17, 2018 2:07 pm


We had at least an extra year's worth of eggs in the fridge all the time so when we started getting grasshopper eggs we could just turn them into dog food for a month and it was no big deal.
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Re: Meat Chickens Not Gaining Weight?

Post Number:#19  Unread postby Ghost » Fri Jun 22, 2018 4:45 pm


akane wrote:... tasted like ... partially chopped up grasshopper bodies.

OK that is an interesting description of flavor.

However, on a side-note I have eaten cooked grasshopper legs And I found then tasty. It stems from me personal prohibition of not eating the guts of anthropoids. This goes for even for lobsters and soft-shelled crabs. If anthropoids have meaty legs or tails, I can cook and eat them, but no guts. That being said, one day I saw a large group of hoppers with big hind legs.

The legs can be removed and placed in near-boiling water. They cool in about 10 seconds. then I could squeeze out the meat. It took about 4 large legs to even get a flavor, but what I did taste, was interesting. It was similar to crab legs but the meat was a finer grain and I thought it had a bit of nutty pistachio flavor. I'm sure I wasted more calories catching the hoppers and preparing the legs but it was a sort of weird/interesting experience.
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Re: Meat Chickens Not Gaining Weight?

Post Number:#20  Unread postby GBov » Thu Jun 28, 2018 7:59 pm


I can and will eat just about anything but it is going to take an end of the World as we know it thing to get me eating bugs. The texture is just sooooo offputting!

So I "did" three of the biggest meat chickens today and got three small fryers for all my work.

They better taste GREAT for all the effort it has taken to get them this big. :evil:

What is so very odd is, once again, there is NO conformity in the breed, these chickens are all over the place for size and shape. The more proper chicken shaped they are the lighter they are as well but 7 chickens all look different to each other, unlike EVERY other breed I have ever raised where they are all cookie cutter for looks.

Necks and giblets are simmering away with onion (and a roast pork pie is baking) so we will get a sneak peek for taste when they are done.

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Re: Meat Chickens Not Gaining Weight?

Post Number:#21  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Fri Jun 29, 2018 6:31 am


GBov wrote:I can and will eat just about anything but it is going to take an end of the World as we know it thing to get me eating bugs. The texture is just sooooo offputting!

So I "did" three of the biggest meat chickens today and got three small fryers for all my work.

They better taste GREAT for all the effort it has taken to get them this big. :evil:

What is so very odd is, once again, there is NO conformity in the breed, these chickens are all over the place for size and shape. The more proper chicken shaped they are the lighter they are as well but 7 chickens all look different to each other, unlike EVERY other breed I have ever raised where they are all cookie cutter for looks.

Necks and giblets are simmering away with onion (and a roast pork pie is baking) so we will get a sneak peek for taste when they are done.


I assume/ suspect, that the breeding where the chicks came from was "faulty", or "not as advertised" ...- sometimes male chicks are sold as "meat cross" chickens, when they were actually "left over", from a breeding for breed stock. -and were not the "terminal meat cross " advertised.
I have had some of these in the past- instead of the Cornish /White rock cross ordered, - I got White Rock males, they grew much more slowly, and were too skinny, - eventually they will get huge- but- they were not a "cost effective" meat bird at all...
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Re: Meat Chickens Not Gaining Weight?

Post Number:#22  Unread postby GBov » Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:17 am


I think you are right that they were sold as one thing and are not proper Cornish cross but one would expect a feed store to be selling what it says on the sign.

And these started off with the proper body shape, that wide barge look with very forward, high wing placement. But now most of them just look like chickens, granted with VERY big legs and feet.

If they ever grow into them they will be Ostriches. :lol:

Never, NEVER again will I try these, they eat ten times what any normal chicken eats and at least three of the seven may as well be just my normal dual purpose roosters for weight. :evil:

One very small plus is that 30 inches of chicken wire will keep them in place now but even then they are running and jumping about the pen. And fighting each other.

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Re: Meat Chickens Not Gaining Weight?

Post Number:#23  Unread postby Deer Heart » Sat Jun 30, 2018 8:23 am


Any chance you can share any photos of the birds pre-cull? That'll give the rest of us a chance to say for sure instead of guessing.
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Re: Meat Chickens Not Gaining Weight?

Post Number:#24  Unread postby GBov » Sat Jun 30, 2018 10:50 am


I will try but my picture posting skills? Pathetic. :oops:

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Re: Meat Chickens Not Gaining Weight?

Post Number:#25  Unread postby Homer » Sun Jul 01, 2018 2:36 pm


Gave Gbov a hand with the pictures but she will have to explain them... ;)

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Of course all chickens need one of these! :lol:

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Re: Meat Chickens Not Gaining Weight?

Post Number:#26  Unread postby GBov » Sun Jul 01, 2018 6:35 pm


Thank you thank you thank you Homer!!!

Pictures one and two are just the meat birds, they are 20 weeks old now.

Picture three is ONE of the meat birds in a cage with one of the chickens we hatched out. It is 23 weeks old. So you can see why I am disappointed with the meat birds. At 20 weeks of age the meat birds should be huge and they are not.

I butchered three of them last week and I got a dressed out carcass weight of just two pounds each.

Pictures four and five are the meat birds and Dude, our good dog. He has restored my faith that good dogs still exist, after having after having bloody awful dogs for the last 20 or so years. :roll:

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Re: Meat Chickens Not Gaining Weight?

Post Number:#27  Unread postby Deer Heart » Sun Jul 01, 2018 7:22 pm


WELP. That solves it. While those LOOK like cornish crosses at first glance, those legs look completely wrong. Even their faces seem shaped wrong. Their legs should almost look like thick tree trunks under them, no matter how you fed them. Even purebred cornish get legs like that. Did you contact the place you purchased them from and ask what their source was? Either these aren't completely cornish crosses or they were straight up starved and they don't look starved to me. I've seen some people able to achieve fatter birds than that at 4 weeks even with pasturing them (see below photo). I'd butcher normally and order directly from a hatchery yourself for your next attempt. Ideal has reasonable shipping, includes "extras" (male chicks) on small orders which can add more meat in the end to your bottom line and the birds I got from them would have eaten the birds you ended up with so fast. :| Pictures are worth a thousand words for sure, I was imagining they just weren't quite to your expectations of a market bird, but that's just... no way are those cornish crosses, imo.

THIS bird is a confirmed cornish cross at 4 weeks old that was raised on pasture, food-scraps, and limited feedings.
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Re: Meat Chickens Not Gaining Weight?

Post Number:#28  Unread postby GBov » Sun Jul 01, 2018 8:52 pm


I got them at Rural King and they were listed as Cornish Cross. :evil: That is twice now that I have tried them, once at Tractor Supply and now Rural King. :evil:

All I wanted to do was see how they did for me and if it would make sense to do meat chickens like this instead of hatching normal chickens. It has put me right off ever trying them again.

Well, if we lose our bid for freedom (the trial date is set for a two-week window in August) to move more than 50 miles from my ex, I will try them ONE LAST TIME, from the hatchery you recommend Deer Heart.

We love chicken and if I can raise 6 months worth of chicken in 8 weeks, that would be lovely but these little things, not worth killing and not worth letting live.

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Re: Meat Chickens Not Gaining Weight?

Post Number:#29  Unread postby Homer » Mon Jul 02, 2018 12:34 pm


No problem G! It takes me longer to boot the computer than adjust and post the pictures. :?

I keep a few ducks around for eggs. I get email offers from Ideal Poultry for a couple bucks a chick if you need/want different stock. Just go to their home page to sign up for emails and you'll get one per week with discount offers. :) ...just saying.
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Re: Meat Chickens Not Gaining Weight?

Post Number:#30  Unread postby Deer Heart » Mon Jul 02, 2018 4:36 pm


GBov wrote:I got them at Rural King and they were listed as Cornish Cross. :evil: That is twice now that I have tried them, once at Tractor Supply and now Rural King. :evil:

All I wanted to do was see how they did for me and if it would make sense to do meat chickens like this instead of hatching normal chickens. It has put me right off ever trying them again.

Well, if we lose our bid for freedom (the trial date is set for a two-week window in August) to move more than 50 miles from my ex, I will try them ONE LAST TIME, from the hatchery you recommend Deer Heart.

We love chicken and if I can raise 6 months worth of chicken in 8 weeks, that would be lovely but these little things, not worth killing and not worth letting live.


I'm not sure where that rural king orders their chicks from (I'm guessing you used the one in Ocala and not Leesburg), but they get a lot of stock from local farmers too and just label it whatever the farmers say they are. If the farmer is lying about, or mixing up, what they're selling, they need to know ASAP. Could also be they used the same supplier as the tractor supply nearby and it's a poor supplier. Not sure. (Though if it's the Tractor supply in ocala off 441, I've noticed they very routinely mislabel their chicks on accident and the employees generally have no idea the difference, they seem to have default signs up and just sort them wherever the sign seems to "fit" the most). I hope you don't give up on what you want from your farm because of a few "bad eggs". If you want a nice "market" bird with tons of breast meat, you should still be able to achieve that. Even if you choose to pasture, that should only add about 1 month to your grow out time and no more than that. Would absolutely try again, just order directly and use the ads/coupons as they do really nice specials from time to time. Murray McMurray does too, I take advantage of their brown egg layer special almost every year, raise them on pasture, and sell at a profit to farmers looking for hens already started.
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