I'm on my second batch of Cornish Cross and the difference from the first is night and day and it has me wondering, how many different strains of Cornish Cross are there?
my first order was from http://www.mthealthy.com/ and it was a rough go. the chicks arrived with half of them with almost no rear end, it was pretty much a straight shot up the legs and that half died within a few days. the hatchery was nice enough to refund my money for the dead chicks but I became leery of cornish cross's altogether as the ones that did survive grew, and grew and grew and became lazy blobs. they were the poster child of frankenchick, lazy, grew so fast that they would barely be able to get up, take a few steps between water and food and flop back down on the ground where they spend most of their life. the fact that they were on the ground so much meant that they got quite messy, till I learned about stall dry, which made it possible to raise a large number without stinking up the neighborhood. before I ordered more, I did a little research and asked for some advise from the local seattle farm coop. I was told about freedom rangers and read up on them but was discouraged by the additional cost in feed and I don't have a good yard for free ranging. I was also given a tip from someone who had had a good experience with Cornish Crosses to try http://www.jenkshatchery.com/ in OR. I called down to the hatchery to enquire about an order and who would answer the phone but Mr Jenks himself! the gentleman gave me 45 minutes of his time and explained quite a few things to me. He said the main problem I had with the poor livability of my first order was that the hatchery was too far away. He said I'd get chicks from his hatchery in half the time because it's a straight shot up I-5 and that would dramatically improve the outcome. well, he was right, instead of two days it only took 13 hours. it's been two weeks and not a single of the original 30 chicks has died. but what is more surprising is the difference in the behavior of the chicks.
I was so impressed in the difference that I called them back a few days ago and got to chat with his son, 4th generation chicken farmer! After I mentioned that my birds didn't even feather out all the way before slaughter, he explained that the first batch I got was likely a strain that is made purely for one thing, growing meat super fast and for cheap. He mentioned the name of the strain that he thought it was but I didn't write it down. I did however, write down the name of the cornish cross line they use, it's CoBB 500. I have not found a comparison contrast of the various Cornish cross's out there so I thought I'd start a thread and see if folks have more info. my second batch of chicks, the COBB 500 are lively, they run, scratch, peck and "forage". when I return their food in the morning they have dug holes all the way down to the base looking for any spilled food from the day before, it's quite amazing that both batches of chicks are commonly know as Cornish Cross. I do wonder if Cornish Cross have such a bad reputation in the urban homestead/small farm community because people don't realize that there are many different kinds, with one extreme being the classic frankenchicken monster and the other extreme being more "chicken like", having it's senses and instincts in tact, capable of free ranging, even. does anyone know how many types of cornish cross there are, and have you had a good experience with strains other than the COBB 500. it makes so much more sense now that there are dramatic differences in the videos out on the internet about Cornish Cross some saying they are great and some saying they are awful.