This was the only picture I got with any of our Cornish Cross chickens – the white ones. As I mentioned in a previous post our first batch of 100 came mostly dead and only 18 made it to butchering day. The company sent us a replacement batch of 100 and 69 of those made it to butchering day. So still not great odds but overall we came out o.k. as far as total chickens in the freezer goes. We did spend a lot extra on feed though. Many of these chickens lived (and ate!) for 4-8 weeks only to end up keeling over of a heart attack.
Cornish Cross chickens are not suggested for altitudes above 5,000 feet. Since we are right at 5,000 we thought we would give them a try. They just grow so crazy fast that we had to at least see if they would make it. If we try them again there are a few variables we would change. Most important we would raise them during a cool season like spring or fall. It gets so hot during the day here and their breathing was very labored and of those we lost most of them were during the very hot days. Next we would start with a higher protein feed and keep them on it. Our local feed store suggested and only carried a feed that was just too low (20%) and we didn’t know any different and so went with that. The chickens began to have major leg issues on the lower protein rations that did resolve within two days of moving to the higher protein feed (22%) that we were able to find at another store.
We found it’s difficult to find much for choices of meat chicken feed locally and we may need to expand our horizons on that with future chickens. Ideally we would love to feed no corn or soy due to GMO issues and if we could find something without spray that would be awesome. That will take a bit of research and time but by next year we may have a better solution. For now what we had worked. It wasn’t ideal for us but it got us started and we have our own meat in the freezer. The chickens had much better food than factory raised chickens, lots of fresh air and water and lived fairly stress free. All that equals really good meat. 🙂