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. Organic Acres
    Yes I agree. I have three of these on my farm at the moment, they are growing too slow so I will have to penn them in a smaller area and increase their protein intake, I think.
  2. cassie
    The reason your Cornish are not living up to the hype is because of the way you are managing them. I am not saying you should change. It works for you, and that is a good thing. But to maximize gain, they need to be kept in smaller quarters and fed high powered feed. They are bred to eat (a lot), poop (a lot) drink and sleep. Period. As a matter of fact they remind me of my brother-in-law. The way you are handling them, your chickens are probably healthier than most but the gain will be slower.
  3. Jchantecler
    Actually, this review is based in truth. Because Cornish crosses put all their food into gaining weight, they never fully develop their major organs, making them prone to many problems and diseases. By supporting this breed, you're essentially killing off the older, healthier, and more sensible heritage birds, which aren't crazily bred like these. If you do some reading into the breeding of Cornish crosses, I think you'll be surprised by how non-ideal they are. I recommend Harvey Ussery's book "the small scale poultry flock", as well as the ALBC website. It's only by stopping eating these hybrids that we can begin to bring back the heritage birds.
  4. EdenCamp
    Yep, hatchery "secrets" just like some of the sex-link "brands" with fancy names - Cinnamon Queens as an example. I did one batch of the CX and while tastey true enough...they are nasty stinky birds laying in thier food dish and thier own filth if you let them. Somewhat better if you free range them with other birds - but what about quarentine? There are some nifty pvc and wire tractor squares on here that would be good for these as they really do need to be moved out of thier own filth often.
    Anyway, I went to Sulmtalers. Flesh is considered a delicacy, lay almost 200 lrg cream eggs a year, good foragers and free rangers. They are good sized birds, gain fast (tho not as fast as the Cx's) and no ICK factor. They are NORMAL birds.
  5. TREX
    LOL!! @ Franken chicken.
  6. lauranickerson
    That's crazy that you gets eggs from yours! I had them when I was a kid intended for meat, but when dad went to slaughter them, we begged him not to. They lived for a few years, actually, but never EVER saw an egg. I know this because they couldn't get in the nest boxes, and there were never any on the ground.
  7. EdenCamp
    They are franken-chickens, built for a purpose - which is to eat, grow too huge too fast to support the bulk and be butchered young - or have legs or pelvis break or heart attacks. Tastey yes. Pets, eggs layers, reproduce it's a bit like insisting a puppy can fly - umm nope, not gonna happen and won't be pretty if you insist on trying.
  8. TREX
    They are bred to be slaughtered at around 8 weeks because of the phenomenal feed rate conversion thats been bred into them. this is also why they have heart failure and trouble walking. Because of the amount of meat they put on in such a short time thier frames just can't support it.They are not intended to be long lived or egg layers but like you said at least they are tasty! :)
  9. Tammy N
    OK love Cornish had a Great first time result in the 80's my first and last order the rooster was Huge did not fit in a turkey roaster at 12 weeks , Bad news second order different hatchery all chicks had broken legs and i can not let anything suffer they where 3 weeks old . Nothing but broken bones so my ? what hatchery did you all use .
  10. TheCrazyClucker
    You do know these birds are meat birds, right? The whole purpose of this breed is to produce fast and they will eat very much to gain weight. I agree with al6517.

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