Hatching Meat Bird Eggs


9 Years
Apr 2, 2010
Hi all I posted before that my meaties were starting to lay. I have a Freedom ranger Quad, and a Cornish X trio. But alas the freedom Ranger Cockerel has been tossed outta the flock by the Cornish Cross cockerel. I collect about 4-5 eggs a day so everyone is laying.
They all live in an fenced in yard that is about a half of acre, they free range and eat 4 lbs of food through out the day. But they don't pig out on all the food first thing anymore. It last for the whole day. They do have an unlimited access to fresh water, the drink A LOT!

The Cornish Crosses still have bear under bellies but it doesn't even look like the feathers are attempting to grow in part, they lay x large to OH MY GOSH size eggs, and are fairly happy chickens.

They do seem more prone to bumble foot we have discovered and are now doing twice a week foot checks and starting to contemplate wrapping their feet with vet wrap to act more like a shoe to prevent anymore bumbles.

Their personalities are AWESOME I mean they are truly friendly and will walk up to you and gently peck or nudge your hand, I know it is for food but hey I will take affection where I can get it.

Flying, well not so much. They run like well (I hope no one gets offended at this) a really fat person at a fast pace wattle that is actually hysterical. Even though they have been known to be fat and lazy we have realized "meat bird" translates to muscle bound brut bird, they are so strong, if you are messing with one to work on bumble foot or weigh them and they hit you with those wings you are going to bruise.

They have the deepest crow you have ever heard and are reminiscent of a werewolf sound

They are not lazy and can actually move when they want too. There have been a few unfortunate creatures who they decided to play with.
They have worked as a team and caught and ate a field rat. The two roo's got mad at the blue slate tom and tag teamed him one day, he now stays very far away the chickens.

Now I have some questions, when this came up before their was debate on how many would actually be "meat" birds, or something else. Does anyone have any idea of what I should look for to seperate the meaties from the none meaties? Or am I just going to have to base it on how much they grow? I have two dozen in the incubator so we shall see how it turns out.

Here are some pictures below


the smallest cornish hen at 10 lbs who had bumble foot

Freedom Ranger Cockerel "Honey"

Cornish x Hen

Afternoon siesta


Wake up time

You know I was wondering about crossing meat birds with some other breeds to get them to "bulk" up. I have some "dual" purpose breeds and while they lay well they don't have the heft that I would like.

good question,

I kept a few Freedom Rangers cause i had read on the hatchery site that they lay decent. But i have yet to run across an answer on here. Ive asked a few times but havent gotten any bites.....so......

are they worth keeping around? When did they start laying? etc

Yes they are fertile there is a bulls-eye in the yolk, plus "Sugar" the Cornish Cross Cockerel is their 'Sugar Daddy' and he likes them all A LOT. I would post pics but it might be considered chicken porn with as frisky as he is
. They started laying around 7-8 months I had some other stuff keeping me busy and I didn't want to incubate them without having enough time to carefully monitor them. They do not eat the full 4 lbs a day more like 2-3 lbs between all 7 birds.

If you were going to keep the cornish x's I would caution you about their tendency toward bumble foot. If I stop them from free ranging their feet would be protected but I don't know if they would be as healthy as they are. So I think I am going to make them some kind of chicken flip flop for lack of a better term. I think they are really neat and I enjoy their fun personalities.

Would I keep them just for egg laying purposes most likely not. There are other breeds more suited to that with less food consumption. However if I can get even a 50% hatch rate it would be worth it. Considering how much it cost to buy meat chicks. We will see what happens in 21 days

I finally got a good pic of the Cornish cross cockerel

Shoes might be difficult, but it used to be that geese were driven to market with their feet dipped into tar to protect their feet from the road.

It might be possible to coat the chicken's feet with something that would provide protection.
Oh man, if I was a hen, I'd be all about Honey myself. Forget Sugar. What pretty feathering. I'm still trying to learn colors and patterns (and not doing very well). Is that a golden cuckoo?
Where does the 2 lbs for 7 meat birds come from. I haven't met anyone that knew before do you breed meaties in NZ? Please let me know about the information you have. I have been worried about them not laying if their feed was cut back too far. It is only with the Cornish that we have foot problems the Freedom Rangers are Free of problems. I was wondering if part of the foot problems could be, because they are breeding the Cornish X's here with such thin skin anymore.

All they call them is Le Poulet tri-color. It is J.M Hatchery's fancy way of saying ' the tri-color chicken' in french. http://www.jmhatchery.com/free-range-broiler/colored-range-chicks/prod_5.html

think both Sugar and Honey are beautiful and we did keep Honey because of his wonderful markings.
My Freedom Rangers were my sole source of laying eggs for a long time, that is until my Cornish Cross hens started laying
I sold fertile eggs too and had decent hatching rates by my sellers. Mine started laying at about 5.5 months old, pretty average. They were very reliable and I had more eggs than I could possibly eat even after selling some.

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