How are meaties bred?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by kaddidle, Aug 29, 2010.

  1. kaddidle

    kaddidle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 23, 2010
    This might be a dumb question, are the breeds used to make Cornish X chickens bred? I've heard over and over that they have health problems if you keep them alive for more than 14-ish weeks, so I'm wondering how fertile eggs are produced?
  2. jjparke

    jjparke Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2008
    the x is a hybrid. the breeding stock do not have those problems
  3. kaddidle

    kaddidle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 23, 2010
    So Cornish chickens themselves don't have problems, but when you cross them with a Rock or other breed (that also doesn't have so many problems) the offspring do?
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    They are a hybrid, usually a cross between a Cornish rooster and a white rock hen. Some breeders may use artificial insemination but I don't think so. Regular Cornish and regular white rock can breed without artificial insemination. It is tightly controlled and those breeding flocks are very valuable.

    The best Cornish cross come when the breeder keeps four different breeding flocks. One of the flocks produces the father for the Cornish rooster. A second flock produces the mother for the Cornish rooster. You can guess what the other two flocks are, the parents of the white rock hen. This is a simplification. The genetics of the four flocks are tightly controlled so it is almost certainlly breeding pairs or trios or such instead of flocks to produce the parents of the parents of the Cornish cross.
  5. Matt A NC

    Matt A NC Overrun With Chickens

    Feb 22, 2007
    Morganton, NC
    Sorry, but what has been posted is not quite right.

    The original crosses may have been cornish and rocks, but that was a long time ago. If you breed a rock to a cornish you will NOT get a broiler X. Also they will mature at a normal rate not at the fast pace of a broiler. It takes alot of generations to get to that point. There are several types of broilers, but some of the most popular are "Cobs". I have been around folks that work in this business most of my life.

    Matings are done by artificial insemination(AI) in most cases. For the birds to get to the point of laying they are kept on very restricted diets. Some to the point that they can still mate in the 'natural' way, but that is not how it is done. In order for the companies not to be wasting time with setting duds they do AI. It is all about the $$$ and that is the most economical way.


    Edited to add that these breedings are done very carefully for speed of growth and quality of meat.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2010
  6. al6517

    al6517 Real Men can Cook

    May 13, 2008
    Quote:Well said and very true..................... The genetic testing to achieve that fast growth has taken several decades of very hard work by industry science, and are very highly guarded like fort knox LOL.

  7. SteveH

    SteveH Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 10, 2009
    West/Central IL
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Thanks. That video especially cleared up some misconceptions of mine.
  9. Lazy J Farms Feed & Hay

    Lazy J Farms Feed & Hay Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:AI is used extensively in the Turkey industry but not in chicken production.
  10. ChIck3n

    ChIck3n Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 12, 2010
    Texas A&M
    Quote:This is true for the original genetic breeder flocks, however the grower flocks produced by the company are different. The order goes:

    1. Genetic breeders select and breed the absolute best birds they can (usually by natural methods of insemination, bot occasionally AI).
    2. Meat companies buy these birds and raise them as their own breeder flock.
    3. The eggs produced by these are then hatched and grown out for food.

    Once the company buys from the genetic breeder, the birds are usually placed in a large house where they have free roam. These birds are fed either every other day, in limited quantities, or with filler (such as sand) in the feed. That way they do not grow as large, and are able to procreate as usual. The company hatches these eggs in large hatcheries, and ships the chicks off to growing houses where they...well...grow. These birds are usually killed long before they even have the ability to lay.

    It would actually cost MORE to perform AI with chickens, as you would have to do millions of them. It's much easier to let the birds do it themselves. AI can be used for turkeys because they are larger, and thus you don't need to produce large quantities of them to make a profit.

    Broilers are right on the edge now, and this is a subject of debate. If we breed chickens any larger, they will be unable to reproduce on their own (commercial turkeys are already this way). We have the ability to breed them larger, but are unsure if AI would be in any way plausible with the number of birds currently being produced each year.

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