I've gotten myself into an odd situation by ordering "old-fashioned" Rhode Island Reds through the local farmers' co-op. My intention was to raise heritage (as opposed to production) RIR laying hens, but the chickens turned out buff and are currently very heavy at 18 weeks. I called the hatchery (Clearview Farm & Hatchery) and it turns out that what they meant by old fashioned was RIR crossed with cornish chickens to create a very heavy chicken capable of laying eggs.
My question is this... Given the notorious health problems of cornish-rock chickens reaching adulthood, should I go ahead and slaughter these chickens for meat, or see if they end up as healthy adults? I should also mention that one died last week for no clear reason, and the others are seeming increasingly languid as they continue to widen out.
Thanks for any advice you can offer.