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When to pasture Cornish Crosses?

Posted by gardenunusual 5b (My Page) on
Sun, Jul 1, 12 at 8:35

Hi all~

this is my first attempt at raising meat birds. I have been diligent about 12 hours on/off feeding schedule. My birds are almost two weeks old and are not interested much into the heating lamp. I've adjusted the temps up and down and they just don't seem to care for it anymore. I would like to move them outside and get them started on pasture. They are now starting to fly outside of their box, so I was thinking to get them started on attempting chicken life early. My thought was around four weeks.

If I do this, should I have a heat lamp outside for the next couple of weeks. It gets about sixty at night here.

Many thanks for any and all advice and comments ~ Cheers

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: When to pasture Cornish Crosses?

Sorry if this is too late.

This time of year we shut the heat lamp off as soon as the temps stay above 60, or when they have feathers, whichever comes first. I would not put a heat lamp outside-instead offer something they can go into, with rounded corners, where they can snuggle up together. Rounded corners are for if you have a lot of birds, they don't all pile on the ones stuck in the corner.

They are not old enough to go out onto pasture without protection: they will dissapear 1 by 1. They need either to be monitored, under and inside a decent fence, or in a solid chicken tractor. Provide many things for them to get under and around.

I've never heard of the 12on 12off method. We've always kept food for the little ones out free choice 24/7.

Good Luck

RE: When to pasture Cornish Crosses?

When are you planning to process these? You know that they are usually ready in 8-10 weeks.

RE: When to pasture Cornish Crosses?

A couple tricks I learned in 20+ years of raising chickens-

It's easier to raise a mother hen to brood the baby chicks. Best breeds for brooding will are also great egg layers so we keep them around year round. They provide eggs when not brooding a flock of baby chicks.

Also, if you are planning on pasture'ing Cornish-Xs, some people are planting peas, oats and alfalfa in the field they will be pastured and then they only get some scratch a couple times a day.

And that is something you should be aware of with the Cornish crossed birds- they are vivas ous eaters. Many people won't be raising them this year because of the high price of food for them, but we are getting around that by sprouting our grains instead of giving them the grains directly. So, if they only get pasture food,mthey they may not get the size you are expecting.

Sprouting fodder means the livestock will get more nutritious feed and have less health problems (it's like they get fresh spring greens) and it costs 75% less than conventional feed.

There are 2 sprouting fodder books on this site. One is general info for small scale livestock. The advanced one is for medium to large scale sprout production.

Here is a link that might be useful: Save 75% on feed by Sprouting Chicken Feed

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