Pros and Cons of Cornish

Compost King

Free Ranging
Apr 19, 2018
3,245
11,202
667
Salisbury, North Carolina
When I had Red Ranger hens I thought about getting a Dark Cornish (or WLR because color does not matter to me) to breed with them. I did breed a Dorking with them and the offspring turned out to have nice breast meat. The breasts did not stick out as much as Cornish but the breasts were very deep. I couldn't find a Cornish Rooster on craigslist to compare the 2 different crossings with a Red Ranger.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
Feb 2, 2009
25,942
16,295
797
Southeast Louisiana
Yeah, them and I think MurrayMcMurray or Cackle has the WLRs in standard. Figured I'd get some from different hatcheries so if I kept so they wouldn't be as related
Don't worry about them being related. That's not an issue where I think you are right now. Each hatchery has its own people deciding which birds get to breed so there can be some strain differences between hatcheries, but that is next years issue if it becomes an issue at all. The birds from the same hatchery shouldn't be that closely related anyway, at least not close enough to immediately cause a problem.

I think you are trying to decide which which breeds or crosses to get to compare so you can decide which might be best for you. I'm not going to tout one breed over another, I haven't raised enough different breeds to really compare, plus my goals are different from yours. I just think you are overcomplicating it.

I think your first year should be trying to decide which ones best suit you. The more different hatcheries and shipping times you use the more complicated it becomes. You will probably be using different hatcheries to get what you want to compare anyway but keep it as simple as you can. The following year, after you decide your direction, is plenty early enough for you to start fine-tuning it by comparing the differences in strains and get your breeding stock.

I've never raised standard Cornish myself. If you are just looking at a meat bird i think they are well worth a look. They add certain things from a body conformation that you might like. My understanding is that they don't lay that many eggs and may go broody. Also they are considered a "game" bird and may be more prone to fight other roosters, maybe to the death. I think all those, egg laying, broodiness, and attitude, are going to be strain dependent, if you are getting them from a hatchery they may not follow the "standard" in those aspects. I wouldn't expect them to from a hatchery.
 

JacinLarkwell

Crowing
Mar 19, 2020
4,504
5,799
341
South-Eastern Montana
Don't worry about them being related. That's not an issue where I think you are right now. Each hatchery has its own people deciding which birds get to breed so there can be some strain differences between hatcheries, but that is next years issue if it becomes an issue at all. The birds from the same hatchery shouldn't be that closely related anyway, at least not close enough to immediately cause a problem.

I think you are trying to decide which which breeds or crosses to get to compare so you can decide which might be best for you. I'm not going to tout one breed over another, I haven't raised enough different breeds to really compare, plus my goals are different from yours. I just think you are overcomplicating it.

I think your first year should be trying to decide which ones best suit you. The more different hatcheries and shipping times you use the more complicated it becomes. You will probably be using different hatcheries to get what you want to compare anyway but keep it as simple as you can. The following year, after you decide your direction, is plenty early enough for you to start fine-tuning it by comparing the differences in strains and get your breeding stock.

I've never raised standard Cornish myself. If you are just looking at a meat bird i think they are well worth a look. They add certain things from a body conformation that you might like. My understanding is that they don't lay that many eggs and may go broody. Also they are considered a "game" bird and may be more prone to fight other roosters, maybe to the death. I think all those, egg laying, broodiness, and attitude, are going to be strain dependent, if you are getting them from a hatchery they may not follow the "standard" in those aspects. I wouldn't expect them to from a hatchery.
I probably am overcomplicating a lot. I do it all the time, especially when birds are involved 😅

I do know my bantam roosters started fighting earlier than I usually have roosters start. At first a batchlor pad worked, but as soon as one was gone for about an hour, they couldn't be introduced again at all.

I figured, I already have several hatcheries I'm ordering from for laying birds, so I could add Cornish from a few of them with out anymore complications being added
 

Redhead Rae

Chickens, chickens everywhere!
Jan 4, 2017
8,188
43,326
942
Braxton County, WV
6 Month old Dark Cornish Rooster(not my bird)

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My pic!!!!

They are also pretty tasty and have a LOT more dark meat than a CX. Even the breast meat is darker and juicer than your average chicken breast. I'll have to post side by side comparisons of CX and Heritage Cornish meat differences.

I got my original dark trio from a show breeder and I have one white hen from shipped eggs from another show breeder. They are WORLDS better than any hatchery Cornish you will get.

One tried and true rule of chickens is they can only be good at meat production or good at egg production. When it comes to hatcheries, what is their source of income? Chicks. Where do chicks come from? Eggs. So, what happens when hatcheries try to increase the egg production on their meat birds so they can sell more chicks? They lose much of their meat production capacity. I estimate that I get about 100 eggs from each hen a year, MAX. This is considered VERY poor. But most hatcheries label their birds as "fair" egg layers, which usually means 150-200 eggs a year. This is NOT normal for a breed that focuses on meat. There may be some smaller hatcheries out there that intentionally breed Cornish to standard, but most hatcheries pen mate. Most show breeders only use 1-2 cocks for each color variety. This means that maybe the top 10% of birds are used instead of the top 2-5% and this makes a big difference in the long run. This isn't to say that you can't use a hatchery strain to breed perfectly acceptable meat birds (there are actually several show breeders out there that did just that), BUT it will take at least 5-6 generations to get them back to standard. Your best bet is buying second grade pairs/trios or cull birds from serious show breeders. Why? They breed to standard which makes an excellent meat bird. Even their culls have the genetics to throw champion offspring the first generation off of them. To be honest, I paid $150 for my dark trio. In my opinion, they are worth every penny.

Here are some of this year's keepers. The white birds are from a Dark rooster over my White hen and that pattern is Jubilee. Jubilee doesn't breed true. Jubilee X Jubilee = 25% white, 50% Jubilee, 25% Dark. Jubilee X White = 50% White, 50% Jubilee. Jubilee X Dark = 50% Jubilee, 50% Dark. This isn't completely true, as the whites bred from Jubilee have a tendency to hold red/brown coloration in their feathers for many generations.

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JacinLarkwell

Crowing
Mar 19, 2020
4,504
5,799
341
South-Eastern Montana
My pic!!!!

They are also pretty tasty and have a LOT more dark meat than a CX. Even the breast meat is darker and juicer than your average chicken breast. I'll have to post side by side comparisons of CX and Heritage Cornish meat differences.

I got my original dark trio from a show breeder and I have one white hen from shipped eggs from another show breeder. They are WORLDS better than any hatchery Cornish you will get.

One tried and true rule of chickens is they can only be good at meat production or good at egg production. When it comes to hatcheries, what is their source of income? Chicks. Where do chicks come from? Eggs. So, what happens when hatcheries try to increase the egg production on their meat birds so they can sell more chicks? They lose much of their meat production capacity. I estimate that I get about 100 eggs from each hen a year, MAX. This is considered VERY poor. But most hatcheries label their birds as "fair" egg layers, which usually means 150-200 eggs a year. This is NOT normal for a breed that focuses on meat. There may be some smaller hatcheries out there that intentionally breed Cornish to standard, but most hatcheries pen mate. Most show breeders only use 1-2 cocks for each color variety. This means that maybe the top 10% of birds are used instead of the top 2-5% and this makes a big difference in the long run. This isn't to say that you can't use a hatchery strain to breed perfectly acceptable meat birds (there are actually several show breeders out there that did just that), BUT it will take at least 5-6 generations to get them back to standard. Your best bet is buying second grade pairs/trios or cull birds from serious show breeders. Why? They breed to standard which makes an excellent meat bird. Even their culls have the genetics to throw champion offspring the first generation off of them. To be honest, I paid $150 for my dark trio. In my opinion, they are worth every penny.

Here are some of this year's keepers. The white birds are from a Dark rooster over my White hen and that pattern is Jubilee. Jubilee doesn't breed true. Jubilee X Jubilee = 25% white, 50% Jubilee, 25% Dark. Jubilee X White = 50% White, 50% Jubilee. Jubilee X Dark = 50% Jubilee, 50% Dark. This isn't completely true, as the whites bred from Jubilee have a tendency to hold red/brown coloration in their feathers for many generations.

View attachment 2342290 View attachment 2342291 View attachment 2342292 View attachment 2342293
Huh, okay. I'll look and see if I can find any reasonably priced eggs. I probably can't do older birds since I live too remote to drive and I'm not sure I could have an adult bird shipped
 

Redhead Rae

Chickens, chickens everywhere!
Jan 4, 2017
8,188
43,326
942
Braxton County, WV
Huh, okay. I'll look and see if I can find any reasonably priced eggs. I probably can't do older birds since I live too remote to drive and I'm not sure I could have an adult bird shipped
Some breeders do ship adult/sub-adult birds. A couple that I know of even do chicks. Cornish eggs don’t ship well. I only got 2 out of 17 shipped eggs and out of 18 eggs I shipped to @Molpet, 15 arrived intact and none hatched. So shipped eggs are a gamble.

I would join some of the Cornish groups on FB. That is how I found my trio. They were 5.5hrs away, but I was taking a business trip in that direction-ish. It took me 1.5-2 hours longer to get home from that trip because I went out of my way to get them. Unfortunately, the guy I got them from isn’t actively showing any longer. I’m looking into getting some white chicks next year from one of the breeders I know of in the FB group. If you want links to the FB groups I’m in, let me know and I can give you the links tomorrow.
 

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