BackYard Chickens › Breeds & Supplies › Chicken Breeds › Cornish Cross

Cornish Cross


Pros: Voracious foragers, tough as nails, develop quickly and have the deepest muscling.

Cons: They come from the hatchery needing some probiotics in their systems.

I've raised two batches of the CX and are incredibly impressed with their foraging abilities, their activity levels and their tough nature.  These birds can get an injury and brush it off like it never happened.  Heal up so fast and well that you can't tell who was injured, even when doing the processing later. 


They have a great feed conversion and I've never lost one to unexplained death.  They will range farther and forage longer than any breed of chicken I've ever raised..sunup to sundown out on pasture and in the woodland. 


They do well on fermented feed and full free range.  Grew them slow, used fermented layer mash and whole grains.  Healthy chickens that fill the freezer like no other breed.  Can't say enough positive things about this breed. 


Pros: Fast growth, big meaty birds, pullets mature into reliable egg layers, GREAT cold tolerance

Cons: FLIP in cockerels, hens are short-lived due to heart problems, heat intolerant, and huge amounts of POOP!!!

We've been raising these birds for years.  Aside from a tendency to heat intolerance, the biggest downside to this breed is the HUGE amount of poop they produce - think turds the size of golf balls, from every bird, all day long! Other than that, they are relatively trouble-free birds, as long as you don't overfeed them.
A little known side benefit of this breed are their eggs - I usually order all roosters and the few that turn out to be pullets get added to our laying flock. The pullets lay enormous eggs with huge yolks on an almost daily basis. They begin laying at about 20 weeks of age, provided they are hatched early enough in the spring to allow them to mature by late summer (pullets from late summer or autumn hatchings often never begin laying at all); unfortunately, most Cornish cross hens only live to about 18 months of age, due to a tendency toward heart problems.


Pros: Fast growth, easy to fence, good feed/growth ratio, lots of tender white meat, easy to pluck, sweet friendly birds

Cons: Need to be managed properly to avoid problems such as leg problems or early death

We have raised several batches of Cornish cross from different hatcheries and have had great success. I love that they are ready to process in 6-8 weeks and then they are done, as opposed to other meat breeds or dual purpose breeds that take much longer to finish. They have so much meat on them and it is tender, delicious, mostly white meat. They do much better raised on pasture with room to roam or in tractors moved frequently to give them plenty of greens to eat and to keep them clean. They have a tendency to over eat if allowed so we restrict feed to only 12 hours a day, and take the food away for the other 12 hours a day. They also require a lot of fresh water to drink but if managed properly are very easy to raise.


Pros: Great foragers, fast growing, docile, absolutely delicious!

Cons: Need "special" management to remain healthy

There is no better meat bird! With plenty of room to forage, restricted feed, and probiotics, these birds thrive. Yes, they grow amazingly quick. By restricting feed, encouraging movement, and giving them a large area to forage in, health problems can be kept to a minimum. I have never lost a bird to "flip," and I credit my management techniques. If you want lots of juicy meat and can give them lots of room, these are the birds for you!


Pros: Friendly, easy to handle bird. Great feed/meat conversion ratiodue to fast growth. Good forager, great tasting.

Cons: Can eat alot if penned all day.

Raised four CX from day1, after learning about Fermented feed and feeding this to them, they ate less but kept growing, they didn't have the disgusting liquid poop that most people describe here. They had tender great tasting meat, better than the store bought ones.


Pros: Great meat

Cons: Dumb, Do not stop eating, so messy

I don't think you will ever get an egg from these chickens. The only hen we tried to keep died young of heart failure. They can barely walk and have a lack of feathers! But I can say they taste good!


Pros: none

Cons: not very healthy to eat,they produces too fast.

Cornish cross are one of the least healthy chickens to eat all they do is eat!


Pros: rapid growth, friendly, easy going

Cons: gluttonous

I have a brooder full of these guys in my bedroom right now. They are laid back chicks, very friendly and alright with being handled frequently. I was overwhelmed by how much they can consume, I always have a pan of feed for new chicks and at less than a week old I am already limiting their intake-they polished off over 4 cups of feed the first day, an amount that typically takes my day old poultry 3-5 days to finish. Needless to say, they do not get that much anymore. They also drink much more than the other breeds I have raised.


I'm planning on holding over a few pullets to see if we can get eggs/chicks from them with my huge Delaware roosters, but it remains to be seen if im going to WANT to keep these guys that long-they are tiny predators roaming the brooder!


Pros: Good egg production, friendly and docile.

Cons: Leg weaknesses, eats a lot, poops a lot.

My Cornish Rock Cross hen has been very friendly towards people and other chickens and has laid more eggs than any other breed I have (Barred Rocks, Speckled Sussex, Americana, and Red Cross). She will follow us around the yard and will come when called. The downside to this breed is the vast quantity of poop produced as well as leg weaknesses (bumble-foot is a real issue with this breed).    

Cornish Cross

Cornish Cross (Cornish X) chickens are the standard meat chicken for the American market. Sometimes called broilers or Cornish/Rocks. Although it is NOT a breed of chicken, it is a cross or hybrid of some very secret breed lines for the sole purpose of gaining weight as rapidly as possible. The first attempts at "Hybrid" meat birds was in the 1930's and was the dominant commercial bird by the 1960's. Modern broilers are typically a third generation offspring (an F2 hybrid). The broiler's four grandparents come from four different strains, two of which produce the male parent line and two of which provide the female parent line, which are in turn mated to provide the broilers. The double cross protects the developer's unique genetics as strains cannot be reproduced from the broiler offspring. In 2003, approximately 42 billion broilers were produced, 80% of which were produced by four companies: Aviagen, Cobb-Vantress, Hubbard Farms, and Hybro making them arguably, the most popular chicken to raise.

Breed PurposeMeat Bird
Climate ToleranceAll Climates
Egg ProductivityLow
Egg SizeMedium
Egg ColorBrown
Breed TemperamentCalm,Bears confinement well
Breed Colors/VarietiesWhite
Breed SizeLarge Fowl
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC

Chicken Breed Info:

Breed Purpose: Meat Bird
Comb: Pea
Broodiness: Seldom
Climate Tolerance: All Climates

General Egg Info:

Egg Productivity: Low
Egg Size: Medium
Egg Color: Brown

Breed Temperament:

Calm,Bears confinement well

Breed Colors / Varieties:


Breed Details:

A Cornish X will weigh about 3 times that of a Buff Orpington (dual purpose breed) at 5 weeks! From hatch to slaughter weight in 6 to 8 weeks, some hatcheries claim 9 1/2 pounds in 10.5 weeks! Processing is much easier with Cornish X's than a dual-purpose bird because they have very little feathering at slaughter age. Probably the only other reason why this bird is used so much by the processing/packing industry. Cornish X's are not self-sufficient. The best results after brooding seem to come from those who raise in a chicken tractor, moved daily (sometimes more), and a ration of high protein feed. Rationing the feed 12 on, 12 off, seems to encourage the Cornish X to forage and get some exercise. If not, they tend to stay right by the feeder making a very concentrated mess. Some problems that may occur if pushed (or even just because of their genetics) are heart attacks, broken legs, and FLIP. The reason for the main image is because that is their intended purpose... FOOD!! Yummy!!!!


BackYard Chickens › Breeds & Supplies › Chicken Breeds › Cornish Cross