As another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter.
As a child growing up, we raised white Leghorns, Cornish Rocks and a chicken called Indian River. That was my experience with butcher chickens, until we tried some Cornish X, which are the super hybrids, that grow so fast their bones have problems, they have heart attacks and one other unique problem.
Yes, I hung up a chicken last year to cut it's head off, and when I came back it had died of a heart attack, as that much beef on a chicken is DOA at any moment. Makes me wonder still all these American giants how quickly they are going to start dropping at age 40.
Anyway, Mom always used old newspapers for floor covering and it worked just fine with these other breeds. These Cornish X though are a great deal different, as they eat like pigs and shit like pigs. They literally grow out of their down and feathers they grow so fast.
You are supposed to take away their feed at night and not over feed or they have heart attacks. Is like playing Russian Roulette.
It is the shitting like pigs that you have to watch, as you know weather fronts come and go. Well, you will get by the first week in all being well with these chickens, and then they start growing and eating, and shitting like pigs. It is wet, very wet manure and it gets them wet and the bedding wet fast.
If you ever have been around a colicky baby, that is what these chickens become in peeping misery. You simply can not on newspaper bedding keep them dry enough, before they get their feet wet again, and then they start piling up, sweating (birds do not sweat, but these birds get damp in moisture) and then they pack in worse and suffocate.
We had 50 last year and I got up at 3 one night to check on them, and was horrified to find dead birds. It was a satan nightmare.....yes satan had a hand with evil thoughts from others........and it was odd in I could put a dozen in a box in the same pen without problems, but too many and they were insane and killing each other.
What does work though is wood shavings. You can buy this in huge plastic bales and this stuff will absorb a great deal of wet, and the chicks will stay dry. I am listening to them now as I type this, and the just make a happy low peep, because their feet are dry and they are not wet. Apparently get a chicken's feet wet and you got real problems in they are all cold, even when hot and suffocating on top.
So that is the key to raising these Cornish X. It is wood shavings and then you just scoop them up and put down new ones. I was averaging about once a week in changing things until I got them out into the chicken tractor, which by that age they are good to go at a month, providing there is not some hurricane Arctic wind.
It is the simple things that make things easy, and the simple things that make you just want to scream when things go wrong, as we never had any problems with the other breeds, but these Cornish X are just a bit unique.
Any way, you still have to do all the other things in regulated heat, heat lamps, feed, water, shelter, no cats or predators, but the wood shavings make a great deal of difference.
Oh and if you are in the big bucks, as metal stock tank is a god send for a brooder, with some plastic floor pallets on top.......that is out of my price range, but it makes chicken brooding easy.