Raising Cornish X for Health, Hardiness, and Efficiency

After a few successful runs with Cornish X I figured I would offer a write up of how I successfully raise these delicious birds. I am yet to have one present a broken leg, heart attack, or any of the other myriad problems one hears about. None of my cornish have ever died past their first week of being here,

1. Acquiring Birds
It is kind of hard to go wrong ordering Cornish X from a hatchery, but there are some differences to pay attention to. I recommend choosing a hatchery relatively close by to minimize shipping stress. I also prefer a hatchery that hatches its own birds as opposed to a reseller. Lastly, the individual line or strain (ex. Cobb500 or Ross308) can effect the growth and hardiness of the birds. Always do your research on hatchery and bloodlines before making your final decision.

Each time I have ordered these, I ordered twice as many as I wanted to raise. I then sold half locally at a slightly inflated price. This GREATLY reduced my cost per chick, resulting in a much lower price per pound of meat at the end. I highly recommend this if finances are a main focus. I wanted to make this chicken comparably priced to the store, and this helped me succeed.

This batch of 25 Ross308 chicks all arrived safe and sound from Freedom Ranger Hatchery in PA.

2. Brooding(0-3 weeks)
You should have your brooder ready when your birds arrive. I start them immediately on semi-deep pine shavings in a raised outdoor brooder. I show them each where the water is when I place them in. From their very first drink I add McMurrays broiler booster (1/4 tsp per gallon) to their water. I heat the brooder with heat plates. Shortly after everyone is settled I will offer food. I feed 20% protein starter/grower for their whole life, adding corn at the end to lower protein a bit. I typically use trough feeders at this stage. They eat the food quick enough not to mess it too much. I refill as needed and let them eat as much as they want for as long as they are in the brooder. Water is obviously also offered 24/7. I add the vitamins to the water 5 days a week during the brooder stage, giving them plain water the other two days. I don't have reasoning for this it just feels right.:idunnoThis is the most manure intensive part in my keeping process, but it's not that bad. I turn over the shavings daily to keep them dry and add fresh shavings on top as needed. Sometimes I will scoop out and replace the shavings around the waterer, but don't do a total cleanout until they are out of there at around 3 weeks.

3 day olds, making themselves at home in the brooder.

8 days old

2 weeks old

3. Grow out
By 3 or 4 weeks old, depending on temperature, they are weaned off heat and put into a chicken tractor on grass. This is the link to my tractor build. https://www.backyardchickens.com/th...rame-tractor-step-by-step-build-pics.1363758/
Nearly complete tractor

At this point I start measuring food with a measuring cup made for feed I got at tractor supply. I measure based off this chart from welp hatchery.
welp chart

So each week, take the daily intake and multiply it by the number of birds you have. That is your daily feed. I divide this in two. In the morning, Sometimes I feed half with the feeder placed in the grass about 15 ft from the tractor to encourage them to get out. This also controls manure because they amble around and eat and poop in the grass away from the tractor where they sleep. At night I feed the other half in the tractor, They parade back in and I close the tractor door for the night. Other times I just feed in the tractor. Every other morning I move the tractor onto a fresh patch of grass. Electric netting is ideal for this kind of setup. If they over poop an area, just move the net. You can also do it with the welded wire/green T-post fencing though. At this point I also reduce the vitamin intake to 2-4 times a week decreasing as they get older, as I feel the vitamins have laid their foundation and aren't necessary in such high quantities as they grow.
3 weeks old first day on grass

Once they hit about 5 weeks of age i start adding 10 lbs of corn to the 50 lb bag of feed.
40 days old, getting big

52 days old


60 days old, right before processing


I did a whole article on backyard processing. https://www.backyardchickens.com/ar...inners-overview-setup-cost-and-results.75951/

5. Conclusion
In my experience, these birds are a pleasure to raise, and are truly delicious. If raised consciously and frugally the price can compare to the grocery store. They are hardy, funny, rotund birds. My last batch ended up costing about 1.70/lb of pasture raised meat. I love the way they make livestock for meat approachable and affordable for the small homesteader. I would highly recommend these birds to anyone willing to put in the little bit of time and energy it takes into raising them.

Finished Cornish X at 7 weeks

Thanks for reading my article
About author
Proudly kept by about 30 chickens including 2 roosters, 10+ guineas, a pitbull and a husky. Junior counselor at pasture raised Cornish X freezer camp.
Comments and suggestions always welcome. Hope you enjoyed the article!

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Excellent article for someone new to chickens.
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