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

To post comments, simply sign up and become a member!
  1. Beautiful_Chickens
    Can you post pics? Maybe they are pure buff cornish, not Cornish Cross. How old are they? I might be interested in buying eggs if they are Cornish.
  2. LAChickens
    HI Beautiful_chickens, I did post a couple of photos of them in the Cornish Cross Gallery - they are the buff/wheaten/red laced birds at the end of the slideshow. They are currently 24 weeks old. None of the three are laying yet.
  3. Beautiful_Chickens
    Whatever they are, they look interesting! What rooster/s do you have in your flock? I'm thinking they might be cornish or some other sort of game bird. If you had a big New Hamp or Barred Rock or Sussex rooster, you might get good meat chicks from them. You never know till you try!
  4. abbadackerygirl
    Poor things. Reminds me of the turkeys we would sometimes see on Thanksgiving. They were so fat that they were lopsided. All they could do was lay on their side and eat! XD
  5. ooptec
    I also free range my cornish X's and can report same results as you. They are smart and good free rangers.
    It was so hot here when they got to the size I wanted to butcher at so didn't. I like them larger than fryers but smaller than roasters and by the time it cooled off last fall they were all roasters. In the 8 to 10 lb range.
    No leg probs and as a bonus they go broody and are as good at setting as the other chickens
  6. TMNfarm
    How old were yours when you butchered?? Mine are 6 weeks old now and HUGE! They don't have any problems and I have managed to raise all 12 of the ones I bought fairly easily so far, but a few of them only walk a few steps before they plop themselves down to rest. I am concerned that they may develop leg problems soon. I was planning on butchering them between 8-10 weeks if I can wait that long. I feed them 1/2 of an ice cream bucket of meat bird food twice a day, so they don't have unlimited access to food, either... This is our first attempt at raising chickens of any sort. We also have 12 layers, and the difference in size is amazing!
  7. EdenCamp
    I agree that they are extremely docile and friendly birds. I just raised my first "batch". Have also seen posts by people that free range them along with other birds and how that eases the weak leg problems. Even so, these are a hybrid cross - they themselves are not bred, engineered deliberately to gorge themselves and get big and fat FAST. I'm assuming your pet is very young yet. They consequently are not likely to get very old before being so fat makes it impossible for them to get around and/or have a heart attack.
    I'm afraid you've set yourself up to get your heart broken with making a pet of this hybrid. There are other docile breeds that live much longer that would make a far better pet choice for you.
  8. farmerChef
    they look like (poorly laced) red laced cornish, do you still have them?
  9. CasnLucky10
    I raise Cornishs too and I love them. Well everything but the smell. I have to agree with you they are the dirtist birds I have ever came acrossed. But they are the sweetest, loving, well mannered and calmest birds. Its always a joy when we bring the chicks home and almost kills us when we have to kill them.
  10. LAChickens
    Hi farmerChef,
    I think that you're right. I still have two of the three. They have the boxy Cornish build and one of the two has some decent lacing but not as nice as a Sliver Laced Wyandotte or Gold Laced Cochin. They do have a lot of personality though, and one of the two went broody and hatched out chicks. :)

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: