Cornish Cross

Average User Rating:
  • Breed Purpose:
    Meat Bird
    Climate Tolerance:
    All Climates
    Egg Productivity:
    Egg Size:
    Egg Color:
    Breed Temperament:
    Calm, Bears confinement well
    Breed Colors/Varieties:
    Breed Size:
    Large Fowl

    Cornish Cross (Cornish X) chickens are the standard meat chicken for the American market. Sometimes called broilers or Cornish/Rocks.

    Although it is NOT a breed of chicken, it is a cross or hybrid of some very secret breed lines for the sole purpose of gaining weight as rapidly as possible.

    The first attempts at "Hybrid" meat birds was in the 1930's and was the dominant commercial bird by the 1960's.

    Modern broilers are typically a third generation offspring (an F2 hybrid). The broiler's four grandparents come from four different strains, two of which produce the male parent line and two of which provide the female parent line, which are in turn mated to provide the broilers. The double cross protects the developer's unique genetics as strains cannot be reproduced from the broiler offspring.

    In 2003, approximately 42 billion broilers were produced, 80% of which were produced by four companies: Aviagen, Cobb-Vantress, Hubbard Farms, and Hybro making them arguably, the most popular chicken to raise.

    white egg.jpg
    Cornish X egg (white)

    Cornish X chicks

    Cornish X Juvenile

    Cornish X hen

    Cornish X rooster

    For more information on Cornish X and their owners' experiences with them, see the Meat Birds ETC forum section for discussions.
  • d213c165_cornish_cross-21703-475586.jpeg 6ab252da_DSC_0088.jpeg f67a56b8_QDI_Marilyn.jpeg IMG_0419.jpg white egg.jpg Rooster.jpg Juvenile.jpg chicks.png

  • Chicken Breed Info:
    Breed Purpose:
    Meat Bird
    Comb: Pea
    Broodiness: Seldom
    Climate Tolerance: All Climates

    General Egg Info:
    Egg Productivity:
    Egg Size: Medium
    Egg Color: Brown

    Breed Temperament:
    Calm,Bears confinement well

    Breed Colors / Varieties:
    Breed Details:
    A Cornish X will weigh about 3 times that of a Buff Orpington (dual purpose breed) at 5 weeks! From hatch to slaughter weight in 6 to 8 weeks, some hatcheries claim 9 1/2 pounds in 10.5 weeks! Processing is much easier with Cornish X's than a dual-purpose bird because they have very little feathering at slaughter age. Probably the only other reason why this bird is used so much by the processing/packing industry. Cornish X's are not self-sufficient. The best results after brooding seem to come from those who raise in a chicken tractor, moved daily (sometimes more), and a ration of high protein feed. Rationing the feed 12 on, 12 off, seems to encourage the Cornish X to forage and get some exercise. If not, they tend to stay right by the feeder making a very concentrated mess. Some problems that may occur if pushed (or even just because of their genetics) are heart attacks, broken legs, and FLIP. The reason for the main image is because that is their intended purpose... FOOD!! Yummy!!!!






TLCMidMichigan likes this.

Recent User Reviews

  1. Kessel23
    "Awesome birds"
    Pros - Grow fast, very friendly, fun to watch, more hardy than you would expect, and they taste good.
    Cons - Leg problems and other growth related issues have been the main problem for me with this breed.
    I got 53 of these guys this year, they are very awesome birds and are way more hardy than most people claim. I was expecting to get a weak bird that has a high death rate because of what I read. Out of 53 birds I only had around 5 die, all of them were from leg or other growing issues, 2 of them had to be culled earl because of this. Other than the leg stuff they are great birds. I kept a few of these guys to cross breed with my egyptian fayoumi, golden campines, and leghorns.
  2. AA Maple
    "What a treat"
    Pros - Good natured, fast growing, and delicious.
    Cons - Be ready for the "throughput".
    I just ate the first of my Cornish Cross broilers. At 8 weeks he dressed out to 6 pounds 8oz not counting the heart, liver, gizzards, etc.

    I bought a dozen through a local guy who does an egg business and raises a bit of meat birds. One was lost due to carelessness (people who were watching them) week one, and one died for no apparent reason week 7. I'll be eating them as they grow over the next few weeks.

    These birds were everything they advertise. Fast growing, voracious eaters, and tender juicy meat.

    Mine were pretty lazy, not wandering far from their food, but they did stroll around and forage a little. Definitely good natured birds, calm and pretty friendly with each other and people, even though I try to not get too friendly with them knowing that I'll have to give them all the axe eventually.

    In retrospect I'll probably put my next batch in tractors. These just didn't really care to explore much and their steady flow of food---poo through them gets to be a bit abundant in a permanent coop.... unlike my laying hens that travel a lot during the day to scatter their droppings, it really piles up around these broilers.

    Did I mention how delicious these are? Easy plucking and made a big meaty dinner + plenty of leftoverrs. And all things considered not that much money into them buying chicks local and 15$ a bag for starter/grower feed. I don't think I'll look any farther for a meat bird for next year and having such good results I'll likely look to get many more.

    Lastly, keep an eye on their water. They drink almost as fast as they eat and compared to other birds I have around they'll really surprise you how fast they can guzzle your waterer dry.
  3. fryburgfarmer
    "Great Meat Birds!"
    Pros - Delicious, Calm, CURIOUS, Great Foragers, & Fast Growers
    Cons - Must be Butchered at the Correct Time (can't holf off or leg problems/heart problems will occur), Eat like Crazy, Poop OFTEN
    I've had Cornish Cross's as my meat birds for years now and LOVE those sweethearts! They are evil! They make you fall in love, then you have to butcher them soon after!! They wonder and forage GREAT but trust me, they can eat! Lovely birds with rapid growth. Just watch out for health problems as a result.

User Comments

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  1. nizar
    this breed you can know it by its feet, they grow so fast and die so fast, whenever you didn't give them good food their feet become so weak and they hardly could recover again.
      BlackHackle likes this.
  2. poultry person
    So sad though they're only alive to die and they can hardly walk.:hit
      BlackHackle likes this.
  3. chickengeorgeto
    One of the best reasoned and most truthful reviews of a CornishX that I have read anywhere.
  4. hellbender
    I wouldn't have one of these poor miserable 'batards' but this is one of the best reviews I seen about any breed or hybrid.
  5. Jeanniejayne53
    Agree -- we raised a dozen this spring, and they could fly up onto a chair I put in their grassy run-- up about 18" -- and another 2 ft to the top of the chair back. I did not find that they enjoyed foraging at all, though. They would sit in front of a feeder all day until it got too hot, and then go into the coop until the sun went down. If I picked clover for them they would eat it, but no way they forage as well as my Welsummers or Buff Orps.
      BlackHackle likes this.
  6. Annadurai
    Where do you feed them? The first batch I fed in the penned area outside the coop (small 12x12 yard for baby birds to be protected from hawks before they go out on the full field) The second time I because of what you describe here and the mess, fed them in the middle of the 3 acre area we have fenced off. I put one feeder on each side of the watering pipe we made so they drink plenty as they eat. The thought behind this is they are in the middle of the field and with a short attention span will forage longer and sooner because they are already out there. Also taking away food in the early evening then giving it back in the morning helps them move better as they get bigger. The muscle mass grows faster than the bone mass and makes them to heavy for their legs. However, if you take away the feed for 9-12 hours it gives the bone mass time to catch up and reduces issues with their legs. They should be able to move freely until ready to process.
  7. duluthralphie
    If you feed lower protein and withhold feed you get a bigger bird that is healthier. I process at 13 weeks and have 10-12 pound birds that are delicious!

    They poop less then and seem more active.
    1. Thomas Lamprogiorgos
      Just chicken scratch and marble powder.
      Thomas Lamprogiorgos, Nov 1, 2018
  8. JadedPhoenix
    I had one years ago. She fell off of a Tyson truck so we called her Lucky. It took her a month to leave the coop. Once she did, she never went back in. Instead, she slept in the doghouse with my dog. In fact, I think she decided she'd rather be a dog. You could be outside at three in the morning and she'd come sit with you. You head inside, back to the doghouse she'd go. She would lay HUGE eggs and would frequently lay double yokers. Her largest one had an egg in an egg in an egg. When it was all said and done, it had NINE yokes!!! She only lived about a year after she fell off of the truck but she had a happy year. She truly was lucky. I am considering getting some more just to have some more just like her.
      olayak likes this.
    1. olayak
      That's a beautiful story! She sounds lovely!
      olayak, Oct 8, 2018
  9. hellbender
    A few of them might do ok here then. I have a new 6 month old Heeler pup that would gladly make them move! He wouldn't bite them (these lessons are well learned already).
  10. duluthralphie
    I have 3 that are 7 months old, 2 pullets and a rooster. The rooster crows and is a sweet heart. They are laid back, but do venture out daily in the snow.
    I do not feed them a high protein feed, I feed them layer mash at 16%. They get table scraps and treats to forage for. I have had no signs of leg problems, but I severely limited their feed when younger. I am hoping for eggs and chicks this spring.

    They are one of my favorite chickens, actually extremely clean when raised like a bird with special needs.

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