Post by simplynaturalfarm on Mar 16, 2012 12:10:41 GMT -5
I have been ordering Cackle heavy broiler cross pullets the last 4 years. This year all of you have gotten me interested in looking at Meyer. I am doing nothing fancy - 50 meat birds and 11 RIR. I note that Cackle says their broilers are white rock x cornish. But still supposedly grow 4.5 lbs in 6-7 weeks. Meyer says White Rock does the same, and yet Cackle sells theirs as a bird with less problems than a pure white rock. I had all my birds have issues one year and I can't afford to lose a year of meat so I am "afraid' to switch from what has worked because I know Cackle's birds survive my haphazard system of 2 weeks starter (used to be homemixed but I have no more time for that), then another week home cracked grains (still yogurt, whey, clabber, meat scraps etc), then by 4th week they go outside, free range with scraps, milk and whole grain til we butcher and we are done in 10 weeks and get lovely tender birds. Anybody have experience with white rocks? They are half the price of Cackle, and I could save $60 ordering from them. . . BLeck, what to do (don't worry if you have an opinion that I will blame a mistake on you LOL) Heather
I haven't done meat birds yet, so I have no input in particular, but one thing I HAVE learned since starting up this zoo that I call a farm, is that a sure thing is worth its weight in gold. Every time I've done something "different" and ended with a bad outcome, it only resulted in losing a lot of time and/or money. Now I only take little risks, that don't cost much.
Also, don't believe anything the hatchery says. I have found them to be wrong on SO many occasions. If you're going to be risking an entire year's worth of meat, then don't risk it. Get what you've always gotten and know that your freezers will be full of chicken. What if you paid $60 less then had to order the crosses anyway and ended up spending half again as much as you would have if you would have gotten the crosses in the first place?
This reminds me of a story from when I lived in Portland. The highway department was going to re-pave Hwy. 217 (about a 10 mile stretch of highway connecting two other highways). They sent it out for bids. The company that had done a lot of good work previously submitted a bid for 10 million dollars. Another company came in at 7 million. So the idiot DOT awarded the job to the cheaper company. They shut down traffic for 6 months, paved the highway, and it all fell apart 6 months later. There were holes big enough to drive your car into (well, that's what it felt like), and big pieces of asphalt were coming loose everywhere. So then they paid the original company to do it AGAIN, so it was shut down for 6 more months, done right, and it only cost them SEVENTEEN million dollars, and a year of construction for something that should only have cost 10 million and 6 months of construction.
Post by simplynaturalfarm on Mar 16, 2012 12:49:04 GMT -5
Lannie, you are absolutely no help *G* - I had already decided to go the Cackle route, but last year was a poor one for us financially, we are losing two of our staff and potentially shutting the clinic down in a couple months, potentially moving . . . and I thought "Heather you can save $60 if you do this" THen I thought, "But heck, if they all die, they get crippled, if you have to butcher at 3 weeks because they are lame or dropping over of heart attacks. . . you would have to start all over . . ." I do not enjoy meat birds enough to do two batches. Every year I heave a huge sigh of relief when they are in the freezer! SO, I guess Cackle it is even though so many people here have poor success with Cackle. AND I found out that our neighbor got Meyer meat birds the year I helped him and his looked lik 1lb rubber dummy birds - never grew or anything LOL Mine from Cackle did not Heather
Post by Jenny at Sagehill on Mar 16, 2012 16:41:10 GMT -5
"Heather you can save $60 if you do this" THen I thought, "But heck, if they all die, they get crippled, if you have to butcher at 3 weeks because they are lame or dropping over of heart attacks. . . you would have to start all over . . ."
How do you feed them? Pushing feed on them for fast growth leads to flip-overs (heart attacks) and lameness because their bones don't grow as fast as their meat and sores because of excessive flesh.
I raise Cornish Xs every summer and don't have many if any problems (other than predators!), but I feed mine twice a day as much as they can eat in an hour, and keep them in portable coops that are pushed to fresh grass twice a day; it takes a little longer to get the same weight, but everyone's happier and healthier, and they're all delicious.
She's been raising the cornish crosses successfully, and was considering ordering White Rocks instead because they were cheaper. I know sometimes it's hard to follow Heather's train of thought, but since it's similar to my own, I don't seem to have any problems!
Post by simplynaturalfarm on Mar 16, 2012 21:22:23 GMT -5
Lannie that is seriously disturbing. I read Jennys and thought, "didn't I tell them all in my first post. . . maybe I thought it. . ." Then I was going to link to the top again where I mentioned first 2 weeks on starter, next 2 weeks on cracked grains and then rest of the time whole grains, clabber, scraps and free range. I've never been able to handle restricting anythings feed. My birds acted like they were dying so instead I let them have free choice whole grains and the rest takes care of itself free choice, meat scraps, lots of clabber etc. Oh dear, my train of thought is that hard to follow. . . I need to work on it! Heather
Post by farmeratheart on Mar 16, 2012 21:31:49 GMT -5
White Rocks will grow more slowly than the crosses but they don't usually have the problems with overgrowing their bones. Rocks will forage better and the hens make decent layers, but if you are strickly wanting meat go with the tried and true.
I asked the waiter, 'Is this milk fresh?' He said, 'Lady, three hours ago it was grass.'
Oh dear, my train of thought is that hard to follow. . . I need to work on it!
LOL! It's the sign of a busy mind, that's all! Your brain goes faster than your fingers. Sometimes I'll type a post, then preview it and it's like, "WHAT in the heck did I just say?" and have to re-type it and put in all the stuff I missed, and then I STILL miss some!
Post by Jenny at Sagehill on Mar 17, 2012 7:27:50 GMT -5
It's true that Rocks do reach 8 lbs, but it takes them a year to do it because they put on bone first, then meat. Cornish X were bred to reach 6 lbs in 6-7 weeks at expense of bones and health because most are slaughtered before it becomes a real problem... unless they have food in front of them all the time.
Actually, you feed quite similarly to me, Heather... whole grains, clabber, scraps, forage (though mine are in rolling coops). If your cornishXs are free-ranging, then twice a day feeding (enough that they clean up their pans in an hour) should be fine for a little slower growth, but fewer health problems.
It's not good to overfeed anything just because they act like they're starving... even humans.
Post by fishyfarmer on Mar 17, 2012 13:01:36 GMT -5
I like the Cornish Cross. I have heard horror stories, but I treat mine like "regular chickens" - give them some dark time, give them some sunshine, put them on pasture as soon as possible and although they are not nearly as active as my Buckeyes, they are never the lethargic, weak-legged things I hear stories about. I had a "Murphy's Law" series last fall that forced me to keep them growing 3 weeks past when I wanted to butcher. They were like small turkeys, but still tender and delicious. Got my 50 peeps yesterday, there is a local guy hatching them and I REALLY appreciate that. No shipping losses at all - I have opened enough boxes with dead, smelly chicks to last a lifetime. (One.)
2 calves, a Jersey steer and a Holstein heifer, 35 chickens unless the fox has been by, 1 dog, and 100 to 1000 fish, depending on the day, 2 kids and 2 grandkids, and a husband who put up with this nonsense for over 30 years.
Post by simplynaturalfarm on Mar 17, 2012 17:20:24 GMT -5
Yes, but I never have anything starving on my property - if my horse or cows are starving then something is wrong. So I make sure I give free choice slightly less quality hay so they can fill up and feel happy, I give doggies bones to chew on and chickens slower protein but free choice grain and then they don't HAVE to starve or act like they are dying. Mine are very happy free ranging birds that finish to 6-8lbs in 10-12 weeks and I guess like Lannie says I should stick with what works I was just confused why Cackle claims their cornish crosses grow slower than White Rocks but achieve 4.5 lbs in the same time as Meyer's white rocks do. . . something is wrong. But I like my cornish crosses very well - except that I have no success with the males and great success with hens and this year they are only selling straight run which means I will have 90% males. . . (every time I buy anything straight run from cackle that happens!!) I began to think maybe they sex their birds for the expensive hen sales and throw all the remainder together with a few hens and call it "straight run". SEriously, every year I buy straight run I get 4 roosters to every 1 hen! Heather
Post by farmeratheart on Mar 17, 2012 20:07:16 GMT -5
Have you tried a different hatchery? I have ordered from Ideal Hatchery in Cameron, TX and have always gotten healthy chicks, The straight run are "boxed as hatched" and if you order 25 or more the hen/rooster ratio is pretty even. They have White, Red, and Black Broiler chicks.
I asked the waiter, 'Is this milk fresh?' He said, 'Lady, three hours ago it was grass.'
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