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Breeding Cornish X Rocks

post #1 of 127
Thread Starter 

I want to have a self sustaining population of fast growing meat birds. Meaning, they keep laying and hatching chicks and after 8 or so weeks I cull and eat them. Rinse, lather, repeat. A multitude of standardized egg-laying breeds, such as RIRs, Orps, etc., are readily available. There exists no standardized broiler chicken genetic package that can be reproduced true to type, available to the homesteader. All of the broiler chicks bought and sold in the U.S. are generated from hybridized parent stock that are under the proprietary control of large multinational corporations. I see Cornish X Rocks sold all over the place in almost every hatchery with a disclaimer that goes something like this:

"Cornish X Rocks are hybrids. Therefore we do not recommend breeding, they will not produce the same high quality in the next generation and due to the extreme rate of growth they will be too large at time of sexual maturity to breed successfully."

I do understand this, but I'd like to create these hybrids myself, instead of reordering chicks months after month. Is it possible? I'm sure it is b/c they do it, but I don't hear or read anything about people doing it themselves. What kinda of birds to I need exactly? Indian Game? White Plymouth Rocks? Does one breed need to be pullet and the other a roo? How is it done? Does anyone actually do this? I don't need to breed top quality hybrids, I just want to have some dependable meat birds clutch after clutch.

Please fill me in, enlighten me, and correct my misunderstandings here. I can't find much on this subject and want your expertise and knowledge on the matter.

post #2 of 127

Developing your own Cornish X meat birds is a little like reinventing the wheel.  It took over 60 years and a lot of money to develop the present day meat chicken.  If you want something sustainable, use Buff Orpingtons.  Or you can cross white rocks and cornish (not cornish X) and see what happens.

The obscure we understand eventually. 
The obvious takes a little longer.
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The obscure we understand eventually. 
The obvious takes a little longer.
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post #3 of 127
Thread Starter 

That's what I mean. I'm sure the Cornish X's at every hatchery is not exactly the same. Can you just throw some Dark Cornish and White Plymouth Rocks in a pen and call it a day? Like I said I'm not trying to make a super hybrid, just hatching and raising a reliable meat bird that I can put on the table in 8 weeks.

post #4 of 127

Ain't gonna happen, but it might be fun to try.  Who knows?  It might work.  I've been wrong before. You would get a good meat chicken, but I don't think they are going to be ready to butcher in 8 weeks.

The obscure we understand eventually. 
The obvious takes a little longer.
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The obscure we understand eventually. 
The obvious takes a little longer.
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post #5 of 127

They have to be a Hybrid X in order to get the growth rate. Our best cross to date has been GOOD QUALITY SHOW STOCK Cornish to GOOD QUALITY SHOW STOCK Dorkings. The hatchery versions of these birds just don't compare when doing the cross. They do take several weeks longer than the commercial hybrid to get up to a good size.

The commercial version has been developed for over half a century to produce maximum results from the cross. You aren't going to luck into it overnight and expect years of selection/record keeping and culling to get a consistent frame.

"If you want to be happy for a year, win the lottery. If you want to be happy for a lifetime, love what you do."
Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.
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"If you want to be happy for a year, win the lottery. If you want to be happy for a lifetime, love what you do."
Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.
Reply
post #6 of 127

Dear rockpapershotgun,

It seems that you have already done some research because you are on the right track.  I have been interested in doing the same thing myself.  In fact, I made a post to that regard yesterday.

The Cornish X-Rocks that the big companies sell are actually crosses between White Cornish roosters and Plymouth White Rock hens that have been specially chosen for the quick growth of their offspring.

The problem with these crosses is that they are weak and unhealthy Frankenstein chicks.  To achieve a bied with similar qualities, you can use a Dark Cornish rooster with either Plymouth Barred Rock or Plymouth White Rock hens.  I would not use any other Plymouth Rocks such as the Buff Rock because their genetics breed smaller birds.  Both the White Rocks and Barred Rocks are known for their fast growth and large meaty frames.  The Cornish rooster will add a double thick breast and add to the compact meaty structure of the bird.

The commercial broilers are white because they prefer them for plucking purposes, but it does little to nothing for the meat qualities of the bird.  In fact, for the small homesteader that wants to free range the birds, white birds attract more predatory attention and are less desirable.  Therefore, using a Dark Cornish rooster instead of the White Cornish, and using a Plymouth Barred Rock hen instead of the Plymouth White Rock will produce a colored broiler that will be better able to stay safe from predators than a white chick.

It is notable to recognize that the Plymouth Barred Rock was the bird of choice that the entire American broiler industry was based upon until at least the 1920's.  It makes a great dual purpose bird.  When crossed with the Dark Cornish rooster, it will have exceptional meat qualities unmatched by anything other than a Jumbo Cornish X-Rock, yet it will remain much healthier and stronger than the commercial broilers. 

The only real downside is that you wil sacrifice a little bit in growth rate from the commercial crosses.  Still, I think that the advantages far outway the disavantages.

I hope this helps.

post #7 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by cassie 

Developing your own Cornish X meat birds is a little like reinventing the wheel.  It took over 60 years and a lot of money to develop the present day meat chicken.  If you want something sustainable, use Buff Orpingtons.  Or you can cross white rocks and cornish (not cornish X) and see what happens.


Just to clarify, a "Cornish X" or "Cornish X-Rock" simply designates a hybrid (the "X" stands for "cross") "Cross" between a White Cornish rooster and a "Rock" (Plymouth White Rock) hen.

post #8 of 127

@rockpapershotgun.I raised a cornish x rock broiler hen to breeding age.She laid about 15 eggs and quit.Of those 15 i managed to hatch 10 in my incubator.The roo was a dark cornish from McMurry Hatchery.All chicks where yellow with some black spots.All seem to carry the broiler genes.There appetite is that of a broiler and show rapid growth.The oldest of these chicks are a little over 1 wk.Will be monitoring and documenting growth rate.Ill post more pics in about 2 wks   http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/65232_005.jpghttp://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/65232_006.jpghttp://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/65232_009.jpghttp://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/65232_003.jpghttp://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/65232_007.jpghttp://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/65232_004.jpghttp://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/65232_002.jpg


Edited by 2ndAdvent - 8/10/10 at 10:43pm
post #9 of 127

2ndadvent.......that is truely tempting.  But even if I'd attempt it, I know I'd have to watch her diet real close and limit the food.  I've had them before in my younger and stupid days and if you keep them too long and allow them to eat whatever they want, they will drop dead in the yard.  Plus if the hen gets too big, I think the eggs will stop. 
But a handful of Cornish Xs......all pullets on strick rations, supplimented with grass clippings and lots of water, with a lot of litter to exercise in, might help someone be self-sustaining if crossed with a standard cornish roo.  Might even do fairly well with a PR.  Not sure about the life expectancy of the hens though.

RIRs 2 roos & 43 hens, Americana hens 3, Araucanas 4 hens & 3 roos, 1 female crossbreed goat, 4 active beehives, 5 children, husband of 24 years.  Certified Penny Pinching, French speaking, hard-headed, little too tall Cajun.
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RIRs 2 roos & 43 hens, Americana hens 3, Araucanas 4 hens & 3 roos, 1 female crossbreed goat, 4 active beehives, 5 children, husband of 24 years.  Certified Penny Pinching, French speaking, hard-headed, little too tall Cajun.
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post #10 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by Agape Builder 

Dear rockpapershotgun,

It seems that you have already done some research because you are on the right track.  I have been interested in doing the same thing myself.  In fact, I made a post to that regard yesterday.

The Cornish X-Rocks that the big companies sell are actually crosses between White Cornish roosters and Plymouth White Rock hens that have been specially chosen for the quick growth of their offspring.

The problem with these crosses is that they are weak and unhealthy Frankenstein chicks.  To achieve a bied with similar qualities, you can use a Dark Cornish rooster with either Plymouth Barred Rock or Plymouth White Rock hens.  I would not use any other Plymouth Rocks such as the Buff Rock because their genetics breed smaller birds.  Both the White Rocks and Barred Rocks are known for their fast growth and large meaty frames.  The Cornish rooster will add a double thick breast and add to the compact meaty structure of the bird.

The commercial broilers are white because they prefer them for plucking purposes, but it does little to nothing for the meat qualities of the bird.  In fact, for the small homesteader that wants to free range the birds, white birds attract more predatory attention and are less desirable.  Therefore, using a Dark Cornish rooster instead of the White Cornish, and using a Plymouth Barred Rock hen instead of the Plymouth White Rock will produce a colored broiler that will be better able to stay safe from predators than a white chick.

It is notable to recognize that the Plymouth Barred Rock was the bird of choice that the entire American broiler industry was based upon until at least the 1920's.  It makes a great dual purpose bird.  When crossed with the Dark Cornish rooster, it will have exceptional meat qualities unmatched by anything other than a Jumbo Cornish X-Rock, yet it will remain much healthier and stronger than the commercial broilers. 

The only real downside is that you wil sacrifice a little bit in growth rate from the commercial crosses.  Still, I think that the advantages far outway the disavantages.

I hope this helps.


Great post.  I just ordered some freedom rangers for my first batch of meaties.  But after that I intend to start a new flock of DP, and you gave me the perfect info.  I was going to go for dark cornish and white rock, but didn't know what rooster to use.  Your point about a white bird is true as well.  I'll be ordering some dark cornish and barred rock next year.  Thanks for the info.

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