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. farnorth
    They are gonna get huge and stinky in just a week or so. Also I don't think it works out well to keep them beyond 12 weeks old as they are meant to be processed at that time and were not bred for longevity. You can try to keep them but I don't think you will want to....I don't think they can even fly up onto a roost. When they get big they have a tendency for leg problems because they get too heavy for their own legs.
  2. XxMingirlxX
    Very helpful
  3. CrowMountain
    My Jumbo Cornish lays about 2-3 times a week, but they are HUGE eggs and almost always double yolks. She is also out most friendly hen, just gotta look out for those landmines she lays everywhere.
      olayak likes this.
  4. Loc20chick
    I have read that about this breed too, But I believe it depends sorely on how you raise them. I learnt a lot here at BYC at first when I ready about it I was disappointed as I had just bought them before reading (which I'm now thankful I did). A member here name BeeKissed raises them and free ranges them too. If you can free range them and give FF they do great.

    Same principal applies to these breed as humans if people eat and don't exercise they get fat and can't walk, if these chicken don't have room to walk (free range) and all they do is eat 24/7 yes they will get leg problems. Mine didn't and when I butchered they didn't have as much fat either. Hope that's helpful
  5. CVAN732000
    Well after reading your post, I'm really torn. I've seen the condition you're talking about when they get so big, but also wonder if you've tried the fermenting feed that others have posted about? Question is, would you do it again and are you happy with the meat vs. cost to raise them. I would like to order some, but have my doubts too...
  6. DuckRaiser
    I heard about a breed getting so fat it can't walk, is this the breed?
  7. mendocinobirds
    1. Cornish X dont taste like regular grocery store chickens UNLESS you raise them like FFarms- indoors, no real stimulus, exercise or fresh veggies. Add all these and they taste MUCH better.
    2. Nothing wrong with the breed that good husbandry wont cure. Mine take 10 weeks because we FORCE them to exercise and raise them in small flocks with Heritage Birds, who they copy. I've seen the Cornish fatties as we call them forage all day long and never go back to their feeder, having fun with their little chose gang.
    3. You cant reproduce them, its a trade secret. Let's figure it OUT and breed healtheir ones.
  8. mendocinobirds
    Ditto to person above. Its all in the management. My favorite trick is raising them with heritage chicks the same age. They make them much more active. I've seen them go off exploring, flying and playing with heritage friends for hours, leaving their feed behind. Yes they are eaters. YOU MUST cut off their access to food about 12 hours per day after week 3. they are great little fatties if forced to exercise, go outdoors and socialize. They will sit and eat and poop all day if you let them, but that is your fault
      olayak likes this.
  9. Knoxguy
    Lizanne, after I posted that query I read another thread that summed up your response. Appreciate the saved me a bunch of time, effort and headaches for sure. I can understand the "physical limitations" of the Roos.
  10. lizanne
    @knox. If you breed CC you won't end up with the same kind of chicks you bought. It doesn't work like that. IF you can get them to the breeding age, and IF you are able to successfully hatch the eggs, you will still get a meat bird. It won't have the same growth rate/size of a CC though. I had 2 that laid eggs for me, but they often laid super large and double yolked eggs, and only laid for a couple months before stopping. My Roo's were too fat to get the job done with the ladies.

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