Dark Cornish questions


13 Years
Jan 13, 2010
Fairfield, Maine
My Coop
My Coop
We're going to get our first chickens in May, - 16 layers and 10 dark cornish (straight run) for meat. We currently renovating a shack to serve as the coop.

Is it necessary to keep the layers and meat birds separate? Our plan was to build a wall down the center of the shack and keep them separate, because we are under the impression they have different food requirements.

How long, generally, does it take them to grow to butchering size? If we butcher them in say, September, at 16 weeks, won't all the roosters be fighting by then?

This is all new to me, - I appreciate any advice!
You can keep them separate, but it isn't necessary. You can feed them both the same thing until you butcher the DCs, then switch to a layer feed. I think it is probably up to you.

Folks who know more about feeding could answer your question better than I can, though.
"Broiler" is about how and when a chicken is cooked. See second and third paragraphs of this article...


I didn't see the part about butchering and fighting...

I butcher mine at 20 weeks and they still aren't fighting by then. My leghorns, on the other hand, were fighting much much earlier than that. I couldn't wait to whack those suckers.

Maybe I'm just lucky with my DCs. Historically they had a reputation for being pugnacious. Even my three roos now rarely actually fight, just the big guy occasionally reminds the others who's boss and they quickly accept it.
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Come on- you're just arguing for the sake of arguing! You know what I meant because now that I look back to your previous post, you said the same thing I did.
You can raise them all together. Only separate Jumbo Cornish (white broilers) from other breeds, they tend to bully the smaller chicks for food as they grow larger. I have never had any trouble with Dark Cornish at all. They forage well, great egg layers and very curious and friendly. This is one breed I will always have. I agree with jaku on processing. wait until 20 weeks or more. Really around 24 weeks. One thing about this breed is how compact and heavy they are, these chickens are SOLID.

Hercules 1 year old Rooster

Come on- you're just arguing for the sake of arguing! You know what I meant because now that I look back to your previous post, you said the same thing I did.

Not arguing, Jaku. I don't like arguing with you. You are one of my favorite meat bird guys. Honestly, I don't know how I slip into these things with you and Brunty, since I agree with about 90% of what you guys say and do.

It is a common misconception on this site that Cornish X are the only "broilers" or "meat birds". Just wanted to briefly clear that up. And no, I didn't know what you meant. I assumed you meant that DC aren't broilers.

'Cause that is what you said.
Thanks for all or your replies!
It looks like we have more options than I realized. The only advantage I can think of for dividing the coop in half, would be to have the option of getting Cornish X in a future year, or perhaps using the area for quarantine. It was going to be a much smaller coop area (for the meat birds), but from what I've read here, I think I'd like to raise these birds all together. I thought the Dark Cornish might be giant, like the Cornish X, or bully the other birds, but it sounds like they will fit in well.
If we don't wall it off, it will be a good size coop (12'x13'), so we'll have room to expand our flock!
We can always add a wall some other time.

Do I have to start this kind of meat bird (the Dark Cornish) on a special meat starter feed, or will regular chick starter be okay? If we need a higher protein starter, we could use two brooders at the outset, and combine the flocks later, right?

I am so excited about getting our first chickens, and so glad I found BYC!

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