Cornish Thread

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by Jx2inNC, Sep 15, 2010.

  1. Minniechickmama

    Minniechickmama Senora Pollo Loco

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    I have raised all the breeds you are mentioning here, and BY FAR, a good Cornish will save you money on feed. The problem with Jersey Giants is that they take forever to grow out. They basically put on frame the first year and meat the second, so for a meat bird, I found they really aren't part of the answer. Orpingtons don't take that long, but they do take longer than a Cornish by a few months to get the same amount of meat. I have had hatchery Cornish that dressed around 3-pounds at 4 months. But the good quality Cornish I have now dress better than that at the same age, like 3-.5 to 4-pounds. I am talking all cockerels though because the hatchery pullets were sold and so far I have not butchered any of my pullets from my current flock because I am waiting until they get a little older before culling.
    As for eggs laying, your hatchery birds will probably lay better than that, mine do. The better quality Cornish bred closer to Standard are not great layers, but if you are looking for bird for meat, then there is a compromise.
    There is another thread that is supposed to be more about crossing Cornish for meat: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/316007/red-laced-cornish-x-and-project-talk-pics-p-8
    If you are thinking at all about crossing to produce meat birds, including Cornish is a must. I have been crossing Buckeyes and Dark Cornish this year (hatchery type) and producing beautiful birds for both eggs and meat. Even the pullets are little meat monsters.
    So, I hope that helps in your search for answers.
     
  2. chickened

    chickened Overrun With Chickens

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    I bred a SOP JG to my SOP DC and have an interesting meatbird growing very well. I will say using SOP quality birds when crossing for a meatbird does have better results than using hatchery grade on one side or both sides.
     
  3. Minniechickmama

    Minniechickmama Senora Pollo Loco

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    I have a question for the folks who have been breeding Cornish for a few years (more than 10-15). At what point did the desire for shorter, stockier legs come into breeding these? I love the depth and the width and thickness of my Cornish, but I must say, I would like to see a little longer leg on them. Looking at older pictures, you do see that they were once a little longer in the leg and a little more upright, closer to the Indian Game in the pictures above.
    So, what changed and why?
    I think many would agree that the shorter, stockier legs lend to problems in natural breeding at some point. So the older style does seem to have more advantage in that respect.

    And Al, I know you LOVE doing your chicken A.I., but wouldn't you like to NOT have to do it?
     
  4. chickened

    chickened Overrun With Chickens

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    My understanding for stockier, shorter legs is it was used to keep the legs from turning inward at the hocks. My experience has been the stockier the legs the better the chance the mature bird will not have inward legs but straight down from the back as preferred in the SOP. JMO

    The short stubby legs is also used when breeding to an otherwisw nice bird that may have too long of legs, I am crossing a great hen right now to an ecellent cock that has a wee too long of legs.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2012
  5. Cedarknob

    Cedarknob Chillin' With My Peeps

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    While of course I believe that everyone should breed their birds according to their own preferences, my experience with Cornish bred to the APA standard has been they have absolutely no problems live breeding. Fertility has been close to 100% even when my Cornish were live covering narrow bodied Ameraucanas. Males normally stand on the backs or shoulders of females, not on the ground; the only exception I've seen was a large fowl mutt that had perfected a way to successfully cover a bantam hen by straddling her with his feet on the ground.

    Those bred to the extreme that they can no longer live breed neither look like the APA written description for the breed nor the illustrations provided in the latest APA Standard of Perfections. I've seen a few pictures of Cornish on the internet of males that were said to be too short in the shanks to breed, but those being shown and winning at the shows I've been able to get to appeared to be quite functional; I have come to believe it a myth that show quality Cornish are not capable of live breeding, though do suppose it possible that some have taken their birds too short to fit the standard.
     
  6. animalsRawesome

    animalsRawesome Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Cedarknob: Thanks for all the info! So, would I be able to expect any eggs from a good Cornish during the winter if I provided 14 hrs of light? (A.K.A, will I be able to find any eggs for the New years day hatch? [​IMG]) Also, I know you said you never kept track of feed to meat ratios, but could you give me an idea of how much a full-grown, non-hatchery Cornish would eat... is it going to cost me an arm and a leg to feed them over the winter while they give me nothing (other than lots of pleasure [​IMG])?

    Minniechickmama: Yes, that does help... And I'm not sure. I think if I get into Cornish, I wouldn't really want to sacrifice their meat/size by crossing them, but then again, I don't know [​IMG] And thank you for the link; I will check it out! I hope you have specific info and pics of your Buckeyes X Dark Cornish over there on the other thread? [​IMG]
     
  7. BennieLangdon

    BennieLangdon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    [​IMG]
     
  8. Minniechickmama

    Minniechickmama Senora Pollo Loco

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    Actually, I don't have any pictures of them other than for when I sold off those I didn't need. I have enough pure Cornish to fill my freezer up, so I let the crosses go. I do have some I held back for breeding though, and I did butcher a couple the last time I had a batch go in, however, I don't know who is who any longer in the shrink wrap. What I do know is when I pick one up, they are like bricks, both the males and females. Not like the Orpingtons or any of the other dozen or so breeds I have out here. When I pick up pure Buckeyes or pure Cornish, they are both meaty, heavy birds.
    As for feed, Cornish don't eat any more than any other large breed. So, if you find out how much feed a chicken consumes on average in the first 4 or 5 months, you will have good info to tell you what you want to know where that is concerned. They convert feed better, if that is what you are looking for. They are genetically designed to produce more muscle than other breeds, so it stands to reason that their feed conversion would be better. An advantage to raising them over winter to hatching in spring is that you can pasture or free range them, or move them around in a tractor set-up and take advantage of the grass and other critters on and in the ground that they will eat that will lend to a more natural diet. One of the things I hate about raising CRX for meat is that they DON'T graze and you have to keep them penned and they are poop machines that constantly need cleaning.
    The other thing I like about the Cornish is that if you have some that you want to cull early, and you like the little "Cornish Game hens" like they sell in the supermarket, you can have your own little single serving chickens. Some of my small birds like that are going to be a perfect gift for my mother-in-law who lives alone and doesn't need a big bird, but loves having roasted chicken.
     
  9. Cedarknob

    Cedarknob Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've read others saying they use artificial lighting to promote laying, but my experience is that they are going to shut down completely at times and I let them do it in winter. Since quality Cornish are rare, you are most likely going to have to start with a pair or two or perhaps a trio. This allows you to throw in some extra, off-breed hens for their eggs and the option of making some Cornish crosses for meat. I keep mine in movable pens that are 4 ft wide and either 8 or 12 ft long, with the back 4 ft covered in tarp or 1/8" plywood, with low roosts inside. I know that the one with 7 hens and my white cock takes just over or under 2, 11.3 oz coffee cans of feed plus browse................................ that keeps them on full feed but forces them to clean it up daily. I now keep the movable pens inside of an electric fence for predator control.

    You are not likely to find anyone selling eggs from quality Cornish at any time of the year; be wary of anyone offering them for sale.
     
  10. animalsRawesome

    animalsRawesome Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Minniechickmama: Thanks again for the info. I'm getting excited about getting some Cornish... [​IMG]
    Cedarknob: Ok, that makes sense that you let them take a break in the winter. And thanks for the estimate on feed consumption... that doesn't sound too bad. I thought they would be eating machines, but I guess they are not so bad.
     

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