How to produce a lean bird...

Advertisement Purina Flock Layer


8 Years
Jan 30, 2011
Western Washington (Sultan)
Hi everyone,

I am raising 25 cornish crosses. They had their first 5 weeks in a brooder/coop and have had there last 4 in a chicken tractor out on pasture. I feed them twice a day and they go through about 10-15 pounds of feed per day... I have already slaughtered 2 (because they broke their wings) and they seemed pretty fatty. Is there any secrets on how to produce a really lean bird. Should I just feed them less or do they need a certain amount of food. They started on an all-purpose feed that was about 16% protein and were moved to a finisher last week that is at 20% protein. Am I giving them the wrong feed? Any advice would be great - I am slaughtering on Saturday, so it probably wont matter for this time, but I would love to know for next time...


Pens and tractors don't allow for the amount of exercise it would take to produce a lean bird. You might try paddock style confinement next time and get them out on pasture at a much earlier age.

My CX have been free ranging since 2 wks and seem to be very lean and compact. The last batch I did were lean but still very meaty and they were free ranged since their 1st week.

I think you are on the right track with feeding set feed times and on a lower percentage of proteins but you might also incorporate the added exercise and foraged nutrition.

My birds are 8 wks and can still run, fly enough to get off the ground and up on roosts and forage all day. I've also noticed they have very orange legs compared to most of the pics I see here...don't know exactly why that is but it could be the amount of greens they forage...sort of like more yellow/orange in the egg yolks.
I'm no expert... But the c-rocks I've raised have never been too fatty, just really meaty. My old laying hens, now they are fat... I think they get too many treats!
Just my 2c, but i have gone to raising hatchery dark cornish for meat. They are smaller, but still have a decent breast and are very lean and DE-licious! Best BBQ I've ever had. The meat seems less mushy or something- firm.

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