Originally Posted by CanadianBuckeye
I agree I'm not sure why the goal for home grown chicken has to be a humongous turkey sized bird. I'm leaning towards smaller is better (who wants to eat the same chicken all week?) and I've been wondering if crossing bantam to standard cornish might be an idea. Or bantam cornish over dorking............
Heritage Cornish/Indian Game was a very popular cross in Britain and America prior to the CornishX era. The Indian Game was crossed over many breeds to improve breast quality in the offspring of hens who laid more eggs than the Game. Dorkings and Sussex were both popular hens to breed to in Britain back then. According to my studies this cross gave a nice breast to the offspring... although possibly no better than either parent breed if well bread. Growth rate doesn't seem to have been any better than either parent breed as long as they were all from good meat production lines. The advantages the cross provides were higher rates of fertility, hatch-ability, and survivability to butchering age. Growth rate for all the birds seems to have been fairly slow.
I've been focussing my reading on books from before 1950 and authors who worked with dual purpose breeds, so my information is dated. But in fairness I believe those were the people who knew these breeds best. Another tidbit I've gleaned from my study is that dual purpose birds were more selectively bread for their meat qualities back then, so that while you see a scrawny looking carcass today on a Barred Rock or Wyandotte, many of those birds produced a significantly prettier carcass with a fuller breast than to same breeds do today. That's why I'm so intrigued by Beekissed's White Rocks. They seem to be more like the old birds I've been reading about.
Edited by AnthNDacula - 1/21/16 at 10:41am