|close-up of the GLW and red broiler chicks|
|all 50 of the new chicks|
|out of focus, but shows his colors|
|Elf, our new bantam rooster|
Final part of today's chicken chores: slaughtering those two Cornish-Rocks my neighbor traded me for the barred juveniles. The nuggets were 12 weeks old yesterday, and I could tell they were failing on the inside. One had fluid around its heart, and both has fluid around the surprisingly small gizzards. Their livers were paler than my previous batch of nuggets, but whether that is a function of internal deterioration or the difference in feeding styles is uncertain.
What is certain is that these will probably be our last Cornish-Rock birds. The very same genetics that give them astoundingly rapid growth is the same genetics that doom them to an early demise - they outgrow their hearts in particular it seems. They pretty much need to be slaughtered before 12 weeks old.
I have the 25 red broilers to see how they grow up in comparison, health-wise. CRs are supposed to be slaughtered at 5 and 8 weeks old, while with red broilers the earliest they are supposed to be ready is 12 weeks, and do not have the internal health problems associated with the CRs. I will be putting that to the test, and am toying with the idea of keeping a trio or quartet to explore the genetics involved. I did email the hatchery to ask, but got back a vacuous and vapid non-answer in response. I will at least keep the best pullets to cross with the Wyandottes to see what results. My goal is to get to the point where I can hatch my own meat birds, instead of ordering them.