Dark Cornish taste/texture

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by HillCountryMomma, May 7, 2008.

  1. HillCountryMomma

    HillCountryMomma Songster

    Mar 16, 2008
    Have any of you raised and eaten Dark Cornish as meat birds? Just the dark cornish, not the cornish crosses!

    I'm debating ordering some to eventually breed to my Freedom Ranger hens (assuming some of the 45 St. Run rangers I have are hens! Darn well better be a few in there!), maybe my barred rock and red sex link hens as well.

    If they are good eating birds, I might as well order more and put some in the freezer while I'm at it.

    I read on Ideal that their meat texture is very 'firm'. What exactly do they mean by that? Are the birds tough? Is the texture odd? Is there a particular cullinary use for them, or can I just use them in everyday cooking (soups, stews, roasting).

    Also, how are these birds health wise? Would they be abel to free range? What is a healthy life span (ie - can I expect them to get to breeding age healthy and sound?).

  2. greyfields

    greyfields Crowing

    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    Quote:They taste no different to any chicken. Their stance is a little more erect as you'll notice, so they breast does seem longer and wider than on a normal chicken. But, it will still be relatively thin compared with a broiler you buy at the grocery store. They are still a purebreed, so will not grow as quickly as a hybrid. But, I think they are a good option if you choose to go that route.

    There is a farm that sells pure Dark Cornish through Hertiage Foods USA describing it as a cullinary specialty. http://www.heritagefoodsusa.com/index.html

    Quote:I believe they make the "firm" statement simply because they are 15+ week birds and have consequently gotten exercise and generally have been allowed to be chickens. That farm surely does not "marinate" the birds in brine, either. Someone used to grocery store broilers, wet and soft, would find it 'weird'.

    Quote:There is a farm on the island here where he releases his Cornish hens into the wild, then shoots them with a shotgun when he wants a chicken dinner. They are among the bets foragers, flyers and have a slightly feral nature to them. They look like little hawks when they're roosting. I think you will be very pleased. I have around 10-15 hens in my laying flock. They lay medium sized pale brown eggs, similar to a Sussex. The hens are always the ones who stray furthest from the laying house.
  3. Chickybaby

    Chickybaby In the Brooder

    Mar 28, 2008
    NC - paradise!
    Hi! I'll qualify first that I'm no expert, but I have done some research on the dark cornish because they are next on my list to get. I'm having trouble locating them near me (I just prefer to buy local whenever I can) so I'll be placing an order soon if I can't find them. As for your question about texture, I'm thinking that "firm" is not tough, it just means that it isn't the soft, almost mushy meat you get from todays store-bought chickens. Those are, for the most part, so full of injected saline and other solutions it's almost impossible for them not to be super moist. Dark Cornish also have more dark meat. From what I have read, they are supposed to be very flavorful. I've even seen them referred to as the "gourmet" of meat birds. They do grow more slowly than some other breeds, especially the crosses. But they don't have the health issues as a result either. They are supposed to be terrific foragers, so I would think that translates to free range. I have also read that they can be a little aggressive and are not as docile than some breeds are. I rather like that they can fend for themselves pretty well. I've read conflicting things about them raising their own offspring but most of the info I've read says that hens do go broody and are good mothers. I have not read anything that would make me question their ability to get to breeding age, in fact everything I've seen says they are pretty hardy. Except for really cold climates, they don't do very well in extreme cold, and don't like being penned either. But as I said earlier, I'm no expert. I'm sure someone will set us straight if I'm too far off... [​IMG] Good luck!
  4. Carolina Chicken Man

    Carolina Chicken Man Songster

    Mar 29, 2008
    Raleigh, NC
    I take it from what I have read here, that any hybrid is going to be better as a meat bird.

    I have 10 BO hens that I got as layers.. If I wanted to breed them and be able to slaughter the cockeriels and keep the hens, then a Dark Cornish Roo would be the way to go. They'd grow faster than a purebred with a better FCR. The hens that I keep would also be decent layers.
    Last edited: May 8, 2008
  5. greyfields

    greyfields Crowing

    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    Correct. No purebred will grow anything like a hybrid will as far as rate of growth, FCR and vigor.

    I'm not very familiar with Orpingtons, except that I know they are big birds. The larger breeds tend to put a lot of growth into bone before the muscle fleshes out. But, your own backyard cross should still grow better than just trying to eat the BO cockrels.
  6. BaronRenfrew

    BaronRenfrew Songster

    I posted my dark cornish stories on another post linked here.


    If you can find a good bloodline, the meat bird is impressive when finished. Had a hen that was very tame and I would impress visitors as she was heavy like a couple of bricks. They are slower to mature and can go feral. Every fall I move the birds from the coop to the barn and one hen took off. Even putting food out for her it took me two months to catch her.

    Good eating? Great, just be ready to feed them. There's no match for them in the roast pot.

    I'm going to buy a flock of cornish from a lady selling her farm this fall. Her vet told her to feed them less as they were too heavy. She did and the birds were healthier. She has bantams as well and they weigh two pounds!

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