Question on meat crosses

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by 54smokepole, Jan 25, 2008.

  1. 54smokepole

    54smokepole In the Brooder

    Jan 25, 2008
    North Dakota
    Hello, new to the forum, I have been lurking for a while though. I'm pretty new to the chicken world, less than a year. I got into this for a hobby and eggs. Last spring when I ordered chicks, I was going to keep the pullets and butcher all of the roosters (heavy egg laying breeds). I was less than satisified and found out that it isn't profitable trying to feed these chickens to a butchering size. After reading about incubating, I bought an incubator and my kids and I are incubating eggs (speckled sussex rooster over buff orpington, australorp, and speckled sussex hens). This is just for fun, not meat birds although I will eat any roosters I manage to hatch.

    I read with interest in creating meat hybrids, and thought this would be interesting to experiment with. I realize it is next to impossible to get white cornish and people are using dark cornish. I have seen where buff cornish and white laced red cornish. Would buff cornish be a better option to get a lighter chicken? Has anyone crossed a cornish with a jersey giant?

    Thanks, and sorry for the long winded ramble.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2008
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    A few people are working on their own meat bird crosses so really, I think you'll just have to pick and choose the best parents for the job, and see if their offspring are what you want. The commercial varieties of chicken you see, the cornish x's, have 40-50 years of selective breeding on each parent strain, and huge financial investment, so thats what you are working in comparison to. You'll have to develop meaty girls and guys on each parent strain, then cross them to see if it works to what you desire. Good luck!
  3. EmsoffLambs

    EmsoffLambs In the Brooder

    Jul 13, 2007
    Chilcoot, CA
    I hatched my own cornish cross chicks for the first time last week. I was using a broody hen and only 4 out of 10 that hatched survived, but these are doing very well now. Two of these chicks look to be dark cornish/Deleware crosses. I'll let you know how they do in a couple months.

    I also raised some heavy cockrels (light brahma and dark cornish) for meat and was disappointed. The brahmas were skrawny. The dark cornish were plump, but grew very slowly. I later ordered some slow cornish from Privette and was very happy with them. I had zero death loss, they grew fast, and were nice and plump.

    Anyway, about crossbreeding....As I said, this is my first attempt, but I have taken a few college genetics classes. Theoretically, because of heterosis or hybrid vigor, the average crossbred will out-perform the average of the parent stock in growth rate, feed conversion, and muscling. So any cross should do better than the purebreds used to get that cross. Though, as mentioned, you still won't get close to the commercial crosses.
  4. greyfields

    greyfields Crowing

    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    Heterosis is the win in breeding! That is why we say that any crossbreed will outperform a purebred as far as being good meat chickens. The term dual purpose really means "more meat than a Leghorn", so don't think you will get satisfying results from dual purpose breeds either.

    I now have a Sportsman 1502 so I was really pscyhed to work hard on meat chickens this winter. Naturally, I've become busy and am slacking. Also, I currently have my Dark Cornish rooster in a hutch with a Black Sex Link and a held back Freedom Ranger. I have been eating the eggs for the first week. But, here we are on day 10 and I haven't had an egg in 3 days from them. I think I may have screwed up. I put a light out there yesterday, I just hope they haven't stopped laying!!

    Finally, regarding Cornish, you are correct we use Dark Cornish because it's all we can get. The WRL Cornish have been selected for plumage color, so their genetics are going to be even narrower than other varieties, so I wouldn't think an 'ornamental' would get you very far. As far as Jersey Giants (and I have some beautiful ones), they are too slow growing for me to bother with.

    What I really need to do, and I will do this, is get my Dark Cornish hens and rooster in a pen together and start breeding them. Then, I can hold back the largest 4 roosters and keep upgrading the size of the terminal sire.
  5. professor_yellow

    professor_yellow In the Brooder

    Jan 28, 2008
    I just ordered some "Black Broilers" from Ideal Poultry that will be arriving in March. I ordered these to still have a meaty plump chicken but a not the super fast growing cornish cross.

    Has anyone had experience with these birds? What is the breeding? Very curious now with all the talk about the meat birds here.
  6. EmsoffLambs

    EmsoffLambs In the Brooder

    Jul 13, 2007
    Chilcoot, CA
    Forgot to mention that I did try keeping a slow cornish from Privette to breed my hens. He just got too big and heavy. I don't think he ever actually got anything bred because he couldn't balance on the hens. Once he started tearing the poor girls up trying to keep his balance, he went into the stew pot. On poor hen ended up with a three in gash under her wing. He didn't have any spurs yet, just his regular claws, but it was enough to do some fairly serious damage. I won't bother with that again.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: