Meat birds that won't die at 10 weeks....


In the Brooder
11 Years
Sep 3, 2008
Weaverville, CA
Okay, I just raised a batch of Cornish cross meat birds. Although they are easy to raise, They are the most loathsome, pitiful things we've ever raised. Half of them went lame by the 6th week. Our goal is to find a breed that we can raise and eat some of them and keep a few for breeding more meat birds. Any recommendations? Thanks!
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You may want to consider one of the rocks (barred rocks being the most abundant). Large birds, but longer grow outs, I've eaten them, and they're ok, just not what matches store birds. I have some hens as my egg layers in town.
Actually, any of the "dual purpose" breeds -- RIR, orps, Delawares.... There is also a Cobb chicken that is more designed to be a meat bird, like colored rangers. Harder to find, though.
Which hatchery did you order the CX through? Did you feed them 12 hours on/12 hours off? Were they out on grass and getting moved regularly or in a barn stall? My batches of CX have been relatively lively with only 1 out of about 75 going lame (could have been clipped by my moving the tractor).
A very small percentage of the commercial meat chickens (incorrectly called Cornish X, or whatever on this board) have leg problems in the commercial facilities that they are bred to thrive in.

If you are having all this trouble I suggest that you review your husbandry practices carefully. There is something else wrong- not the breeding.

There are no birds available to the backyard poultry producer that will produce offspring with the carcass quality, FCR or rate of gain levels of a commercial meat chicken.

There are many "breeds" out there that you can raise purebred or fantasize about producing a cross of your own that will work. However making a DIY cross that attains the performance of modern meat chickens is beyond what can be done in the backyard.

There is no pure "breed" that can come even close to the performance of a meat chicken.

There is also a Cobb chicken that is more designed to be a meat bird, like colored rangers. Harder to find, though.

The white (with lots of colored flecks in the plumage) bird is a product of the wholly owned Cobb-Vantress subsidiary of Tyson.
In addition to that, and what the quote above may be referring to is this-

Cobb-Vantress of Siloam Springs, a subsidiary of Tyson Foods Inc., has partnered with French poultry breeder Sasso to develop, produce, sell and market Cobb Sasso colored bird and specialty breeding stock in specific global markets. The alliance plans to sell parent breeding stock in the semi-industrial, certified free-range and organic sectors in Europe and throughout the world. February 2008 news release.​
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We bought 15 Jumbo Cornish Rocks from Murray McMurray and in their catalog they recommend that you feed for only a few hours in the morning then pull the food so they don't grow too fast and develop leg problems. We did this and everyone was fine, although they do lay around alot. We butchered the roos at 8 weeks and let the hens go 2 more weeks. The roos averaged 3.5# and the hens 4.5#. We want to do more next year. I was very pleased with the service from the hatchery. Being newbies we lost two of the birds due to not making sure they started to drink - but we now know and hopefully next time around won't loose any.
I purchased 25 vaccinated Cornish X's from McMurray last year along with the powdered vitamin mix. NONE of mine went lame, all were processed at 10 weeks and had great size and were DELICIOUS.

I kept them indoors (air conditioned garage) in large pens bedded with shavings and straw, about 8 to a pen when they got older/bigger...fed them 12 on, 12 off. No problems whatsoever except the outrageous cost of FEED and the $3 a piece to process.

Not cheap to raise your own but definitely healthier!

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