Dark Cornish as meat birds?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by the_great_snag, Apr 22, 2009.

  1. the_great_snag

    the_great_snag Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 14, 2007
    Staples, Minnesota
    Hello everyone,

    I am curious about the viability of raising dark cornish cockerels for meat. All the literature I've read on them says they are good meat birds, but I wonder how they would compare to cornish x rocks. I have raised them in the past as pets, and really enjoyed them, but unfortunately they were killed by a cat before I was able to butcher them.

    I know they won't grow as fast, and the meat will not be quite as tender as a result, but I'm really attracted to the idea of not having to fret over feeding 12 on/ 12 off, and worrying about the myriad health issues the broiler hybrids are prone to. I have raised cornish rocks several times in the past and while I love the meat yield, I find them to be rather unpleasant to work with.

    As far as meat quality, will closer confinement result in more tender birds? What does the skin look like after plucking? Will it be an attractive color? One of my criteria is I want them to be fully feathered before butchering, so I hope pinfeathers will be at a minimum, which I am hoping would reduce the dark pinfeather spots that dark feathered birds are prone to.

    How about feed? Would broiler feed still be appropriate, or should I run normal chick starter?

    I was originally looking at the white cornish roasters that McMurray offers, but they are not available until June.

    If anyone doesn't like the idea of Dark Cornish, can you suggest another standard breed that would give good meat yield in cockerels?
     
  2. Steve_of_sandspoultry

    Steve_of_sandspoultry Overrun With Chickens

    We raise Dark Cornish and find them to be a very good meat bird, they are good foragers. The only down side we have with ours is they are on the flighty side.

    We feed and raise ours just like regular chicks. One thing about the DC's is you can feel the difference in weight of the chicks right from the start. They are very solid and close feathered so I don't think they would do very well in a cold cold winter area.

    Steve in NC
     
  3. pringle

    pringle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 16, 2009
    Pepperell,MA
    actuall dark cornish are ok to raise in cold weather there feathering is very tight so they can hold in warmth.I raised dark cornish before and there meat is delcious,it tastes a lil different from most chickens for some reason.they are a very easy bird to raise but do to there tight feathers it will be a little harder to take them off in the butchering process. good luck
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2009
  4. Steve_of_sandspoultry

    Steve_of_sandspoultry Overrun With Chickens

    I didn't know that, I figured with the close feathers they wouldn't take cold very well - not having the 'fluff" to trap and hold the body heat. Where we live cold is in the upper 20's - the teens make front page news. [​IMG] . Our birds use more suntan oil than anything.

    Steve in NC
     
  5. estpr13

    estpr13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 18, 2008
    Lexington, Ky
    Quote:I was lucky to get some eggs from Steve and they are 4 weeks old today. They are heavy for their size and are some of the most flighty chicks I have ever raised. High energy levels. I'm gald to know it isn't something I have done to them. Most of the breeds I have raised are relatively calm. Orps, Jerseys, NH, Dels and hybrids. (I have a bantam Barred rock hen roosting on my leg as I type.)

    This was supprising to me as I have some what I call Delcorns (Delaware roo x Dark Cornish hens). As chicks they were almost affectionate. The hens still seem to still be that way. The roos are stand offish, but not flighty.

    I am looking forward to raising, breeding, and eating the Dark Cornish.
     
  6. the_great_snag

    the_great_snag Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 14, 2007
    Staples, Minnesota
    Hey guys,

    Thanks for the reply. I will just be holding these guys over the summer months, so cold tolerance is not a big issue for me. They will be in a very sturdy coop with heat lamps as well.

    I think with their pea combs they should be fairly cold tolerant, especially since they are an English breed, but hopefully it will not be an issue either way given the time of year and my plans for them.

    I just really want to avoid the tight schedule requirements for slaughter of meat birds, as well as the health issues and feeding requirements attendant to true broiler birds.

    I found my McMurray Cornish that I owned before to be quite calm and docile birds, but I could see how they could tend to flightiness given their genetics.

    I'm gonna toss a couple white laced red Cornish into the mix too, as well as a few jersey giants. Should be a fun summer!
     
  7. Steve_of_sandspoultry

    Steve_of_sandspoultry Overrun With Chickens

    Quote:I was lucky to get some eggs from Steve and they are 4 weeks old today. They are heavy for their size and are some of the most flighty chicks I have ever raised. High energy levels. I'm gald to know it isn't something I have done to them. Most of the breeds I have raised are relatively calm. Orps, Jerseys, NH, Dels and hybrids. (I have a bantam Barred rock hen roosting on my leg as I type.)

    This was supprising to me as I have some what I call Delcorns (Delaware roo x Dark Cornish hens). As chicks they were almost affectionate. The hens still seem to still be that way. The roos are stand offish, but not flighty.

    I am looking forward to raising, breeding, and eating the Dark Cornish.

    They are high energy that is for sure. Wait untill you turn them out and watch them forage, anything that moves, crawls or looks like something to eat is in trouble. [​IMG]

    We use their weight as a selling tool at shows and sales. Have somebody pick up a Buff Orp chick and a DC, you can see the suprise on their face.

    Steve in NC
     
  8. Steve_of_sandspoultry

    Steve_of_sandspoultry Overrun With Chickens

    I just really want to avoid the tight schedule requirements for slaughter of meat birds, as well as the health issues and feeding requirements attendant to true broiler birds.

    You will like the DC's in this area. They are very healthy and take good care of themselves.

    Steve​
     
  9. Kezzie

    Kezzie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 15, 2009
    Coastal Georgia
    I have chickens for the first time this year and I am raising seven DC's. They're only 5 weeks old now so I don't have much experience with them yet. They're definitely more solid than my other chickens and look like little raptors running around the brooder. They are flighty and flip out every time I try to feed or water them. They're going out in the chicken tractor this weekend where they'll have a lot more room to run amok which seems to be their favorite activity.

    I'll try to keep one or two roos out of this batch to start a breeding program. I'm looking to perhaps get some eggs from Steve later in the spring but right now getting these guys out of the house is my main goal!

    I'll try to get some pics up when they're outside this weekend.
     
  10. skywatcher

    skywatcher Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 22, 2009
    Arlington,Indiana
    Hello
    I raised dark cornish for a couple years here in Indiana where winters are sub zero for a few days , THe coop wasn't heated however was not drafty plus has dirt floor with layers of straw.
    I liked the DC even had hens hatch a few chicks the dc rooster was king over the silver campine and guineas i had in with them.
    They where a gentle breed that i liked however where slow growing and slow to lay eggs and costly feed eaters and of course big birds big mess. this year I am raising white rocks and rhode island reds and my longtailed red shouldered yokohamas.
    [​IMG]
     

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