Delaware roo X Cornish hen...will I get a decent meat bird?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by shelleyb1969, Dec 10, 2008.

  1. shelleyb1969

    shelleyb1969 Star Bright Farm

    I currently have Delawares, and I have the opportunity to get some young Cornish pullets. If I breed one of my Delaware roos with the Cornish hens, will they produce a decent sized meat bird? Or is this a cross that I would have to work with for several years to "perfect"? I'm not wanting some super ginormous 10lb dressed chicken out of it...just a nice 4-5lb dressed bird in say...8-10 weeks. Is this possible with this cross?
     
  2. dancingbear

    dancingbear Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,836
    25
    191
    Aug 2, 2008
    South Central KY
    Those who have experience with this tell me that it works much better the other way around. Cornish ROO and Delaware (or whatever breed) hen. The difficulty is trying to find a true to type Cornish roo. There are LOTS of inferior, poorly bred, hatchery stock Cornish out there. They're everywhere. I'm trying really hard to find Cornish not derived from hatchery run stock. I have found a man I can get some from, but I have to pick them up, and it's a long way from me. (I'll be driving 4 days round trip)

    You probably know this, but just making sure-this is standard Cornish for breeding, not Cornish X meat birds.

    Some say that any cross of dual purpose birds will yield a better meat bird than any of the pure breds. Here's a handy chart. http://www.ithaca.edu/staff/jhenderson/chooks/chooks.html
    I
    would look for early maturing breeds, that average at least 5 lbs. at maturity, and pick 2 that sound good. Try to find some good quality birds of each breed. By good quality, I mean true to type, as close to the breed standard of perfection as you can get. You don't need show quality to breed for meat, but you need something close to that to get the size and growth characteristics you need.

    Many people will tell you "so-and-so has great quality birds", meaning they have healthy birds. They mean well, but don't understand the problem. A healthy hatchery run bird will not have the breed standard traits.They are not really pure bred. they breed layer breeds into the mix, to improve egg laying so they have more eggs to hatch. Over time,the previously dual purpose breeds are no longer dual purpose. They're smaller and lighter, and lay a lot of eggs.

    Once you get the breeds you want to try, (let's call them A and B) you might want to try both ways, Roo A over Hen B, and Roo B over Hen A. See which yields the best results.

    Delawares were once the preferred meat breed, they still supposed to be pretty good, if you have good birds. If you have hatchery stock, probably not so good.

    Good luck, whatever you decide to try.
     
  3. shelleyb1969

    shelleyb1969 Star Bright Farm

    Thanks for the info, dancingbear. Yes, I am referring to standard cornish, not cornish x. I can actually buy a standard cornish roo with the 2 pullets, so maybe I should just go ahead and get the trio. Since Delawares are my "primary" breed, I was going to just incorporate the 2 Cornish pullets into the flock and let them be. I don't have the room (until spring) to keep any extra roos around. But I guess I don't need much room for a single Cornish roo, do I?

    But what's the worst that can come out of breeding a Delaware roo with a Cornish hen? Any chicken is edible, correct? [​IMG]
     
  4. miss_jayne

    miss_jayne Lady_Jayne

    Jun 26, 2008
    Columbiaville, MI
    if it's chicken, it's gonna taste like chicken! [​IMG]

    yummy yummy!
     
  5. Bassleg

    Bassleg Chillin' With My Peeps

    414
    2
    131
    Jul 25, 2008
    Lebanon Oregon
    shelleyb1969 : This is off the post but how do you like your Delawares and chicken breeds go?
     
  6. dancingbear

    dancingbear Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,836
    25
    191
    Aug 2, 2008
    South Central KY
    Quote:Sure, you'll still get an edible bird. It just won't be as large or grow as fast if you do it the other way around. Standard Cornish are slow growers, and the traits passed on from roos aren't the same as traits passed on by the hens. I don't fully understand chicken genetics, but they do some weird things. All they guys who've done this a lot say you get a much better result with the Cornish as the roo, whatever hen you decide to use.

    Where did you get your Delawares? Are they breeder stock or hatchery stock? How about the Cornish you are considering? Delawares are supposed to be good meat birds themselves.
     
  7. shelleyb1969

    shelleyb1969 Star Bright Farm

    Quote:I love my Delawares. [​IMG] As chicks, they feather out so quickly, making sexing at an early age even easier. They're very curious and friendly (but not overly affectionate). And their feed conversion is very good, IMO. I have chosen Delawares as my primary breeding flock for 3 reasons...they're good meat birds, cold hardy, and have a nice temperament. I'm working on getting a couple of hens from various other breeds for my laying flock, as there's just too many "irrisitable" breeds available! [​IMG]
     
  8. miss_jayne

    miss_jayne Lady_Jayne

    Jun 26, 2008
    Columbiaville, MI
    Quote:I love my Delawares. [​IMG] As chicks, they feather out so quickly, making sexing at an early age even easier. They're very curious and friendly (but not overly affectionate). And their feed conversion is very good, IMO. I have chosen Delawares as my primary breeding flock for 3 reasons...they're good meat birds, cold hardy, and have a nice temperament. I'm working on getting a couple of hens from various other breeds for my laying flock, as there's just too many "irrisitable" breeds available! [​IMG]

    like some lovely EE's from Miss_Jayne's house!

    the Delawares, they are great. they feather quickly and have good temperaments. we'll see here soon, how the pullets are for laying. i have two that should be pumping out the eggs anytime after Christmas.
     
  9. shelleyb1969

    shelleyb1969 Star Bright Farm

    My last hatch of Delawares' lineage can be traced back to Murray Mcmurray hatchery. My Dellies have exceptional dispositions, were super ginormous at hatch, and are absolutely beautiful. My last hatch of 11 came from a fellow member, csibb. I also have 2 others that were hatched out of eggs from shortcake1806 (not sure where her stock originated from). As far as how mine rate on the SOP, it will be a while longer before I can rate them. But regardless, they're beautiful chickens and worth everyone's effort to remove from the critical breeds list. People talk of true heritage (non-hatchery) Delawares, but no one will step forward and offer any to the rest of us. I am considering getting these standard cornish in an effort to cross-breed and get an even better meat bird out of my Delawares. Since true heritage ones are almost impossible to find, maybe I can start this project and get some offspring that are pretty close to the original.

    As far as these cornish I'm considering, I'm not sure yet where they came from. But other chickens that have been purchased from this young man have all came from private breeders. I may try to go take a look at them again this weekend.
     
  10. sred98

    sred98 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 18, 2008
    Oklahoma
    Maybe I am wrong ( I am still very new at this!) but I thought it was because the Cornish hens aren't the best at setting eggs? That it was easier to get a good hatch if you used a Delaware (or whatever breed) hen because they are better "incubators". And also because the Cornish hens aren't reliable layers. Mine lays really well, about 6 days a week, even now, but I think that is not really the norm. I think the benefit to getting another breed of hen is more eggs=more chicks.


    Shelly
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by