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!!!!






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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. Knoxguy
    Raised my first ten last year. Going to do 20 this year with hopes of having some breeding stock to get me through the winter. Any tips?
  2. mendocinobirds
    What is in these chickens that makes them mature so fast? Are they genetically modified with some other animal? Amazing speed of maturity and they dont even live to be one year old, tasty but creepy!
  3. Beekissed
    The CX have to be managed to avoid the problems you incurred. You can't let them have continual access to feed or they will grow too fast and develop health problems. The proper exercise and diet for this bird will produce very healthy, very active birds that put on meat quicker than the average chicken but not so quick that it can't be controlled and managed until it's time to process.
  4. Chicken Wanter
    Thank you Beekissed, you just proved my point. And yes, mine fly up to a foot for a few seconds - and they're HUGE!
  5. Thassa
    Sorry, but this is about the worst review I have ever read and not even close to how a Cornish Cross acts. FLY? REALLY?
  6. Beekissed
    It's not actually a true breed, much like sex link production birds, so stating that one is supporting a "breed" over heritage birds and "essentially killing off" the heritage breeds is silly at best and downright absurd at worst. These birds come from a crossing of heritage breeds of great renown, such as the Cornish and Plymouth White Rock, so they are right in line with supporting the best of the heritage breed genetics. They have their purpose and they are not any less healthy to eat than any other chicken if raised like you would any other chicken~exercise, free range, portioned feeds. Nor do they lack in hardiness if raised sensibly, with excellent meat conversion for the feed and time involved. Harvey Ussery killed off a large portion of one of his flocks with botulism in his attempts to feed BSF larvae...who in the world listens to someone who can't keep regular birds alive, let alone meat birds? He's a city boy wannabe who wouldn't know anything about chickens he didn't read in a book.

    Not eating CX won't "bring back heritage birds"...that takes time, skill, knowledge and commitment to a breed that few on this forum possess. One of which is Al6517, who has been raising Cornish birds longer than most of us have been alive. When he speaks, stand up and give a listen because he has forgotten more than we will ever know about "heritage breeds".
  7. LilRedRoo
    I agree that there is no credibility at this time on the claim that they are unhealthy to eat; cornish cross raised on pasture with some supplemental me the data that proves this results in a health concern for my family and I'll go to heritage breeds from now on.
  8. lizanne
    I got my first batch for Mc Murray hatchery. They all did great. I have one left that is almost 7 months old. She started laying around 20 weeks, and is a great layer with huge eggs. She is super friendly, and will come over to me and sit at (or on) my feet when I go outside. You do need to keep a good eye on them, and I have to wash her every once in a while, because she's too big to get to some areas herself. She's been ok in the heat, but her sister died a couple months ago in the heat (we had a week over 106), it just got to be too much for her. If you want to keep one as a pet, I wouldn't get your heart set on a specific one. Just keep the one that seems to be the healthiest and get along with your other hens. If you want a fat, fluffy chicken as a pet I would get a Standard Cochin, or an Orphington.
  9. lizanne
    He said "not very healthy to eat", not that the birds were unhealthy. Have there been any studies that show the nutritional value of a Cornish-X, verses a heritage breed? Cornish-X make a lot of sense for those of us who have small - suburban flocks. Many of us can't have roosters, and when raising heritage breed cockerels for meat you have to wait much longer to process. If your wait for 14+ weeks they will likely be crowing.
  10. lizanne
    I have one that lays. I just made sure to put a nesting box on the ground for her. They eggs are huge, and she frequently lays double yolked eggs.

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