Cornish Cross Broiler Care

Suggested Reading and Resources
Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens
The Chicken Health Handbook
The Chicken Encyclopedia
Butchering Comprehensive Photographic Guide
How to Process Poultry (DVD)

At the Post Office: Promptly pick up your package and get your chicks into the prepared brooder as soon as possible. 

Live Guarantee: We guarantee that properly cared for birds will be alive and well for 48 hours after they arrive at your post office. Please see our full policy and claim form here: HERE:. 

Brooder Requirements:   A half square foot per chick is recommended to start. The brooder environment must be sterile and draft-free. Make sure the brooder area is big enough so that the chicks can get away from the heat source.  

Temperature: A thermometer is a baby chick’s best friend. Start your chicks off at 99 degrees for the first three hours. Then 95 degrees the first week. Reduce by 5 degrees each week until they are fully feathered out.  Once they have been moved to a grow out pen or coop, a heat source should be used if the chickens show signs of being cold. 

Water: As soon as you place your chicks in the brooder, immediately dip their beaks in water to teach them how to drink.  Birds need to have access to drinking water at all times.  As they grow, make sure their water is easy to reach as they are short and can’t move as well.  A 1 gallon chick waterer for each 50 chicks is suggested. Initially, water levels should be minimal to avoid drowning. Clean marbles in the dish will help. Warm water for the first few hours may be beneficial.  On the third day include vitamin or electrolyte powder in the water. 

Feed: Cornish Crosses grow rapidly and need a special feeding schedule. Offer free choice chick starter for the first 5 days. After that, make feed available 12 hours on and 12 hours off for proper growth. Chick starter is appropriate for the first 5 weeks. Switch to 18% protein broiler or grower feed from 5 weeks to butcher time.

Litter: The best option for bedding material is large size kiln dried pine shavings. We suggest paper towels over top of the shavings for the first few days. Do not use sawdust or cedar shavings. Bedding must be changed regularly and kept clean and dry. 

Pasty Butts: Sometimes stress can cause a condition called pasty butt. This is an accumulation of loose stool around the vent, which can harden and lead to a blockage. The inability for the chick to poop can cause toxicity within the chick, which can lead to death. Use a warm, damp paper towel to remove the stuck and dried poop. Take special care to avoid getting the chick too wet during this process, and return to the heat as soon as possible.

Picking: Sometimes chicks will peck the head, feet, or bodies of their brooder mates. This can be a sign of overcrowding, boredom, or overheating. Chicks can literally peck each other to death if the problem is not addressed promptly. A red light can often alleviate the problem.

Coop and Run Considerations: Once the birds are feathered out, you can move them to a coop with .6 square feet of space per bird.  In the run, provide 2 square feet of space per bird. To keep the meat tender, do not give them a large run or a lot of room to free range.

Safe Handling of Poultry: After handling poultry, wash your hands with soap and warm water. Do not let young children, elderly persons, or people with weak immune systems handle or touch live poultry. Do not snuggle or kiss your birds.  You can get Salmonella from touching live fowl. Your birds can carry Salmonella and still appear healthy and clean. Regularly clean your poultry equipment.

For questions, please call us at 920-472-4068, email at chicks@purelypoultry.com, or feel free to visit our educational blog at www.purelypoultry.com/blog 
 

FEED CONVERSION RATES FOR CORNISH CROSS BROILERS

Weeks of Age Average Weight in Lbs Feed Consumption per Week Total Feed Consumption to Date
1 0.35 lbs 0.3 lbs 0.3 lbs
2 0.85 lbs 0.62 lbs 0.92 lbs
3 1.54 lbs 1.02 lbs 1.94 lbs
4 2.38 lbs 1.44 lbs 3.38 lbs
5 3.34 lbs 1.9 lbs 5.28 lbs
6 4.37 lbs 2.32 lbs 7.6 lbs
7 5.4 lbs 2.73 lbs 10.33 lbs
8 6.42 lbs 3.10 lbs 13.43 lbs

 

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