Tag Archives: Cornish Cross

Cornish X Meat Birds – Here They Grow Again

Cornish Rock chickens (Cornish X) are a hybrid cross between a pure Cornish and a White Rock chicken.    Cornish Rock chickens have been a staple in the industrialized food system for many years because they are very fast growing.       They put weight on so quickly that at six or seven weeks their legs begin to break from the weight they carry and their hearts can give out from the strain.       They are also very sensitive to overcrowding.       All this contributes to the mega-loss of chickens on the factory farms where the majority of these birds are raised.

The chicken-business giants responded in turn years ago by writing a 100-200 a day chick loss into their risk management, reducing the number of chickens they will pay the farmer for to take the losses into account. The second way they addressed the problem is to collect the chickens two weeks early (at 6 weeks instead of 8). These are the smaller Rock Cornish Game Hens that are readily available in the grocery store. They typically weigh at least 2 – 3 lbs less than the full size bird. Less loss for the chicken company, less revenue for the farmer.

There are two things about these birds that makes the breed recognizable anywhere, their speedy growth rate and the fact that they are…well, homely, at least until their feathers come in. Our friends at The Self Sufficient Homeacre have also taken to raising Cornish X as egg layers. They’ve found that if you give these chicks the lower protein chick starter, they don’t grow as fast and they have less physical problems. Their eggs are slightly larger as well.

We’re not in the market for any more egg layers right a the moment. But, you could give it a try. In the past we have bought the birds from Schlecke’s Hatchery in Iowa and more recently from our local Tractor Supply. Let us know how it goes.

Happy Homesteading,

feather pen with egg

COLD again!!

High Today 51
Low last night was 28!!

More like January, but still hard to take.  Baby rabbits were born this morning to a new mom.  But she has them all covered up against the cold, so we haven’t been able to count them yet.    When rabbits give birth, they pull their own fur out from under their chin to make the nest.

The other livestock are fine. We finished putting up the meat birds last week – 33 out of the original 53! quite a heavy loss. We heard of another fast growing meat bird this week – White Heritage…supposedly ready in 6-7 weeks. The picture looks amazingly like our Cornish Cross. Have to investigate further, since there is supposed to be less loss than with Cornish.

Happy Homesteading,

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Orpington Egg Layers – What’s the Story?

Hillside Opringtons

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Back in Jan 2015 we had just acquired 10 chickens (Orpington & Barred Rock) that we had intended to use for meat birds. Read the original post…. We decided to keep them for eggs because the Cornish Cross are far superior weight-wise for meat. (Read about the latest flock of Cornish Cross.)

Here’s the story on the original Orpington flock – We were free ranging them on a limited basis, because chickens really can tear up a pasture and dig holes, etc. Because the flock of 10 was not producing more than 5 eggs a day, and it was costing too much for feed (remember everything organic is much more expensive than the industrialized products), we kept three Orpingtons and put the rest in the freezer. (end of Aug) They weigh in at about 2 1/2 lbs. so it takes two for a meal. The three we kept are resident in Chicken Tractor One and doing a good job weeding the Hilltop Garden.

It all works out…moving forward.


High today will be 81
Low last night was 54

Hillside garden showing cover crops
The Hillside garden showing Chicken Tractor One
weeding the Hilltop Garden
Chicken Tractor One with resident Orpington hens