Cornish X -vs- Standard Breeds -- which best for me?

Sunny Side Up

Count your many blessings...
11 Years
Mar 12, 2008
Loxahatchee, Florida
Please redirect me if this topic has already been covered, I'm new to this forum.

I'm also relatively new to processing meat birds. I've been keeping a large laying flock for about 4 years now but only recently learned how to butcher my excess roos. Then 20 wks ago I ordered the "All Heavies" special from MMH which brought 25 assorted standard breed roos. I've been processing them 4-6 a week starting at 17 weeks.

I've been reading on this board how delicious the Cornish Xs are, how plump & meaty, how quickly they grow. They sound great, but the extra care, cleanup, and feed they require sounds absolutely daunting. I would be doing most of the care and I'm not sure it would be wise to add more chores to my days.

Also, I think the Xs need to be butchered at about the same time and I don't have the extra time, help, or freezer space for many birds at once.

On the other hand, these standard breed roos required little extra care, just regular chick start & grow, a normal allotment of water, and routinely moving their tractor. They can be butchered at my convenience, and I cook them 2 at a time in order to pull & freeze half the meat for later. Though they don't have the a lot of white meat they still are tasty eating.

Have I just talked myself out of raising Cornish Xs? Should I wait until I have an extra freezer and more helping hands? Do you think raising only 6-8 of the Xs would be as much work as 25 standard breed roos?

I appreciate your imput. Thank you.
The jumbo cornish are ready in 8 weeks or less. They have less feathering and take less time to pluck. They have to be fed, watered and cleaned up after. For me the hour or so more work per week to clean up behind them was worth the trade off for better, plumper breasts and tender meat - not to mention easier plucking due to less undergrown feathering.
My thoughts are that doing crops of broilers is the easier solution; however this means an extra freezer for you. Get a Food-Savr and the chickens will keep very well and you'll hardly be able to tell they'd be frozen.

The reasons I believe you should raise broilers over cockrels:

a) The ammount of food you put into a cockrel to get to 14+ weeks makes them un-economical.

b) By that age, they are very 'male' and are constantly fighting and harassing your pullets or fighting amongst themselves.

c) Broilers put on weight faster and have very different 'anatomy'. They add meat on the breast and it's very wide and deep. They're simply meatier and great for cooking.

Now the reasons I would go your route, eating surprlus cockrels:

d) I love coq au vin.

I would rather sell my suprlus cockrels at auction (fetching $8-10 each) and use that money to buy more broilers for meat.

If the Cornish Cross is too daunting for you, there are slower growing broilers out there you could perhaps dabble in.
You know, everyone raves about the big breasts on Cornish Xs, but Hal and I really prefer dark meat. (We love duck for instance, but my original 5 are OFF LIMITS dear!
) So, how big are the thighs on the Cornish Xs compared to standard meat breeds.

Can anyone tell me?
The color of the meat doesn't have anything to do with the breeding. Dark meat is caused by muscle actually getting exercised, which is why you find the dark meat closest to the legs. Dark meat is a sign your birds actually enjoyed themselves a bit.

Industrially raised chicken thighs are more pink than dark, considering they are housed at a rate of 4 per 8.5x11 size sheet of paper. ><
Seeing that you are from Fl. you might be interested in this article.

I live in SC and primarily raise heavy cockrels, they don't get as big as fast, but they still cook up nice. They are also a bargain to buy as chicks, I think that offsets the feeding to 14 weeks. They are nowhere near as messy and you can pen them seperate from your hens. I like the idea of keeping them in a chicken tractor to ferilize your lawn. I plan to make one out of a trampoline frame.

Check out Cackle's Fry Pan Special, its the best price I've seen anywhere:
So what you're saying is if I like the taste of dark meat better than white meat I should get myself some very active chickens.
Gonna make it tougher to catch them for dinner.

I too was pondering the same thoughts as you. I also received the same great advice. However, I chose to go with the cornish /deleware cross as mentioned in the article about Tim Shell. As much as I tried to find his stock, Ive still not been able to procure any. I made the decision to pursue breeding my own. I know financially, and time wise this is probably not the wisest choice, but I really like the husbandry involved in chickens and the idea of my family working together to attain a goal. My wife and I both have off farm jobs and the kids are constantly busy with sports and social affairs and we, like most families (JMHO) need something to enjoy and share a stake in. I grew up the son of a commercial farmer and commercial livestock raiser and never plan to get so large I forget the simple value of growing food for us. Hey, if it doesnt work out we get to eat all the mistakes, how could that be a bad deal. Just my $.02 worth not trying to sway you either way.

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