This time with a lot more knowledge. Good luck with your chickens! Gosh, the ones I’ve raised acted much more like normal chickens. Thanks for all the details…love it! A phone call came in one afternoon asking if we wanted a big white chicken that the neighbors of my roommate’s dad had abandoned. Stay tuned, haha! These are dual-purpose chickens that lay a decent number of eggs and the extra roosters will grow out to dressing size in about 6 months. After about 3 months i wound up just giving them layer, only because i knew they’d make up the additional protein in ants, lol! I’ve been raising my own meat chickens for years and I want to help you get started too! 1 Point for Every $1 Spent - that's 1% back. They need to have their food and water in easy reach. Hey rabidlittlehippy, It was an experience for sure. What is inhuman is what these companies like prude in others like it are I raise feeder’s and breaders keep up what your doing free range is the best. My hope is to get quite a large bird with good egg laying capability. Al… But it’s hard to find organic meat producer feed. They are out of their coop at the crack of dawn and in the summer don’t go to bed until very late. I really wish I had room to grow the grain and bring the cost down. Thanks for sharing People utilize these chickens for their eggs as well as a meat source. Our birds were fairly active, until their last couple weeks, then they would rather rest. I have raised them for several years to put in the freezer and wanted to try and come up with the crosses involved to have my own chicks. THANKS SO VERY MUCH FOR ALL OF YOUR COMMENTS AND HELP. If not, you may find that you are not saving a great deal on your chickens. Moreover, humans are omnivores, meaning we need animal proteins and fats for optimum health. The Cornish chicken rooster was bred to a White Plymouth Rock hen to come up with the original meat hybrid, a Cornish X Rock (Cornish crossed with ‘Rock’). They’ve been tinkered with until we now have an extremely fast-growing bird with huge breasts. So these chicks grow up foraging for food all day and roaming great distances. Why, thank you very much, Marion! Also, I don’t know where you are located, but I’ve had good luck with Cornish X from Sunray hatchery in Iowa and they are cheaper than Ideal. I kept the chicks for 4 months feeding starter and then grower and by then they were still only “broiler” size (about 3-l/2 ). Although I have never tried this, and I don’t think it is humane, some farmers caponize their young roosters. Another name for this kind of chicken is Rock Cornish Hen or Cornish Game Hen. No one is quite sure what happened to these original birds as they seem to have disappeared for around 20 years or so.The trail gets hot again in around 1869 when a Mr Upham of Worcester, Massachusetts was breeding with barred males and Java hens. 🙁. If you are raising laying hens, make sure that they have a sourcer of calcium too…such as crushed oyster shell. I have raised chickens for way over 30 years. Lol! What is spectacular about them is their fat. Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Sally. How to Make Money and Save Money on Your Homestead! This site uses cookies to track your purchases through Amazon. One of my concerns is roosters and their crowing. We finally held Bob up by his feet and dangled and folded him into the cat carrier.. barely. Otherwise half of them won’t even bother to stand up. I have not noticed an appreciable difference in weight gain in dual-purpose or heritage birds when fed meat producer feed in place of chick starter and all-flock rations. Thanks, Zach! At least home-grown chickens get to live a happy, healthy existence prior to being dispatched, unlike their commercial counterparts. Remember to ask a lot of questions to make sure that you are happy with the way they want to handle the arrangements. We haven’t planted any grain but have some growing in our fields. I butcher them myself and that saves quite a bit, but I’m sure it is cheaper to buy them from the store. The mothers start taking their chicks outdoors within a week, sometimes after just a few days after hatching. To get your hybrid meat chickens up to butcher weight quickly, you’ll want to feed them a good quality meat producer feed. They’re good layers and also good for meat production. In fact, it is the number one protein consumed in the U.S. Black Sex Link – The Black Sex Link comes from crossing a Rhode Island Red rooster and a Barred Rock hen. I really appreciate your imput. Cornish X are our primary meat chickens. I am not sure how you feed your birds, but I feed 100% non medicated from birth to process age. That has been our experience also. The skin helps keep the meat moist while roasting, and helps to protect the meat from freezer burn if it’s in the freezer for a while. They were developed for the commercial meat chicken market and have been dominating it for the past fifty years. It does help tremendously. Not so smart are they? Rather grody birds, in truth. I have a friend who has bred up her own meat breed and we will buy some of them and probably some cornish cross for next year. Three ounces of roasted, boneless, skinless white meat chicken has about 147 calories, 4 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat and 26 grams of protein. Congrats on your first butcher session! This website uses cookies so that we can provide you with the best user experience possible. I am leave to be more self sufficient for my grow family but I need to know how exactly to start or my options. The meaties are the only ones that make really nice roasting birds, IMO. I’m very happy to share, Myla! I’m going to try some rainbows from hoovers, Sounds interesting! I’m not sure if I’ll be ordering any chickens any time in the near future (probably only if I have another possum raid on the hen house) but I’ll consider getting straight run BAs if I do! I know they’re decent layers. You could try looking on Craigslist for your area to see if anyone around is selling meat birds that are close to butchering age. If you’re a vegetarian just because you think it’s “less” cruel, Think again. You can keep them longer, but they will be tougher. These lives I take will sustain me. Today's Cornish Cross chicken is much different than is was in the beginning of the meat bird industry from the 1920s. Love all your informative posts! Thanks for this information. And what a great idea to hatch the chicks in school and take them to your Dad’s farm! So we can’t compare. Their eating only goes crazy in the winter months, summer there’s loads of good stuff in the yard and forest plus longer days to forage. According to the National Chicken Council, Americans consume more chicken than anyone else in the world. Best wishes with your quest for self sufficiency! It's day 29 and the White Rock chicken is one seriously screwed up bird, it grows a body with next to no feathers, compared to the Dual Purpose egg meat bird it's a freak. We do not want to butcher those hens, but incubate the eggs and raise chicks to butcher. If you want to learn homesteading skills, like raising chickens and preserving the harvest for winter, you’ve come to the right place. The Cornish Rocks are a specific breed and I believe went into the original mix of arriving at the Cornish X’s. Compared to dark meat chicken, white meat is lower in fat and slightly higher in niacin, a B vitamin that helps convert food to energy. We live on just under 2 acres and have neighbors around us and I don’t want to give them anything to complain about. Hi Sarah, They don’t seem meaty like the Cornish are but they do have very strong looking wide set legs (maybe this is the first stage of the breeding cross?). We’ve also done both and are also going back the to Cornish X this year. The process causes capons to put their energy into weight gain rather than fighting with their flock mates. They had a great three months, much bigger then our regular chickens but very similar in action. I know I spend more raising mine because I have to buy all the feed. Austra Whites are also calmer than a pure Leghorn chicken breed. I like to make the comparison that the cornish cross chickens are like eating white bread and the slow-growing heritage chickens like eating wholegrain bread. Please enter the confirmation code we emailed you to continue. The X are the only ones I really like for roasting. We ordered 40 more reds april 20 2015. You have to treat these birds very differently. Slowly we tuning it into a farm. So the debate rages on in my head. I hope this helps. We plan to have my daughter’s class hatch them out and then move them to my dad’s farm. I’m glad to hear that you have found a system that works for you and doesn’t support the hatcheries that kill 🙂 I enjoy the young roosters that I butcher. Cinnamon Queen – Cinnamon Queens grow quickly and also produce eggs at a younger age than most standard breeds. So, in short, if you go with the Cornish X meat birds, you will have no problems with noisy roosters. They sure are a good bird to raise for money and for food. They are not “Cornish” tender but again they are not as tough as other non-Cornish roosters I have butchered. The meat texture and flavor are different from store CX, but again, we can’t compare to homegrown CX. I learned that trick apprenticing on an organic farm that raised 1200 Cornish X broilers during the season, and they were all more content than the people! What are the regulations? Don’t give them roosting bars. Meat birds are a great thing to raise I’m 15 and I see the benefits of learning how to raise and butcher them. They’re good layers and also good for meat production. Best wishes and please let me know how everything goes if you raise meat chickens this year! White Rock – White Rock are good for egg and meat production. Massive heat wave two years ago. It is wonderful to receive information from so many knowledgeable sources!! The rapid growth, white, easy-to- dress feathers, and golden yellow skin of the cockerels of our strain make them equally desirable. We also raise the feeder off the ground as they grow. I have Anatolian Shepherds that guard my chickens! We moved 2 years ago to 40acres who had only seen a “Brush Hog”. or were they raised on the same stuff as the pullets? The ones with truly outstanding flavors are the six month to year old roosters. Sign up for Honest-to-Goodness Homesteading Information and get my new eBook 'Secrets to a Weed & Pest Free Homestead' for FREE! and the organic feed is like $40/bag here versus $15/bag! I really appreciate the info on your blog! 😉. Let me know how you like your meat birds! Hi Maria, Raccoons and possum will dig under a fence, so it is best if the fence is buried or their enclosure has a wired bottom to keep them out. It’s possible that you’ve been raising the Cornish X all along! It helps to age them in the refrigerator for three days to a week. We butcher at 8-8.5 weeks. I’ve read a LOT of information and I’m kind of confused as to what the best breed would be for this. But…I’ve read it’s still tricky business. I chalk it up to the fact that they have pasture to roam. (Not an affiliate link.). I’ve also given sunflower seeds, the fats and protein may help replace both the corn and soy. If it turns out that you can’t find a place to raise your own… Check to see if there are local butcher shops and see what they carry. 🙂. I wonder if it depends on what hatchery you order them from? I believe when I die, (hopefully) my body will replenish the earth. Mainly because they grow fast and produce a nice-sized, tender roasting bird in 6 to 8 weeks on less feed. YEP, I HAVE HAD CHICKENS FOR EGGS FOR 27 YEARS AND NOW HAVE A HOUSE TO RAISE MEAT BIRDS. Right now I’m growing out 10 turkeys for butcher this summer. But I haven’t had any experience with the roosters. Every omnivore eats another animal and I think you should remember our heritage. I am hoping that one or more of my hens will decide to go broody in the spring so they can raise their own little ones. They were developed as dual purpose chickens. Thanks for the report from the field, Linda! And we only have 1 rooster who would be possibly a decent roasting size. They ship all the way to Indiana now…so maybe they come to your area. I do like how fast the Cornish X grow and how meaty they are. What is your favorite breed? hey Lisa, Just an update. They are beautiful–Moe Moe, Joe Joe, Lucy and Salley. Glad to share 🙂 I know that there are many people who prefer to raise heritage birds for meat, and that’s great. I have also read that chicken’s help take care of tick problems and here in Delaware and Pa, where my father is ,are prime Lyme Disease areas. f you are a proponent of ‘slow food’ or heritage breeds, by all means, order some good old fashioned dual-purpose breed chickens. GOD BLESS AMERICA. 🙂 I have only had Black Australorp hens, and they were decent as dual purpose layers. Best wishes with all your projects! they had them this year for $l.99 each and of course there is no shipping to contend with. They were originally a cross between Cornish Dark and Plymouth Rock chickens, but have been further hybridized. And my breeding rooster is from an Indian game cockerel over buff Orpington hens, you get a large breasted bird with a wide stance and generally heavy. I have had comments on other posts from people who have had good luck raising chicks from their cornish x hens. But, considering that the Cornish x are butchered at about 7-8 weeks old, it seems unlikely that you’ll find them started. Many people prefer not to have little black feather shafts in the skin or their dressed chickens. If you have predators in your area, then it is likely that they will find your chickens. Hi Mama Fasha! Cornish Cross – Cornish Cross are by far the most popular bird for meat production, both on hobby farms and commercial farms. I get the birds from a local hatchery/family farm in Fort Plain, NY and they seem to take very good care so I like ordering from them. Roosting on bars can cause a thick spot or blister to form on the breast of these birds. They are a very different product than the cornish cross chickens. I think that what people used to do is let the chickens just clean up after the other animals and free range. Well in the next 2 years we will be moving out of California and hope to homestead. Is there a big difference in the quality or tenderness of the meat in roosters vs hens? Best wishes with your chickens and I hope you’ll stop by and let us know how everything goes this summer! Also raise muscovy ducks for our jerky, summer sausage and more. Their Cornish cross is done and being butchered in less than 6 weeks. Barred Rock – The Barred Rock are great backyard birds for both egg and meat production. We tried the Freedom Rangers and were disappointed with how tough these ‘rangers’ were. 🙂. Very good points for people who are hoping to save money by raising their own chickens. I’ve read that they are constantly tweaking the genetics…but I don’t have first hand knowledge about it. © 2003 - 2020 Blain Supply, Inc. Prices were current at the time of posting. Cornish are very lazy, eat like a pig, are messy, but I find them to scratch on the ground when its given to them, I also find fermented feed to work well for them. I’ve taken another approach to raising chicken for eggs and for meat. We are using cookies to give you the best experience on our website. My feeling is that it is much easier to think in a linear fashion, rather than to think in a manner that takes into account the myriad of information available to us, because it is so difficult to keep track of all that info. 🙂 I meant to sprout, but sometimes they ferment instead, lol! I will second Lisa’s, comment. Hi Carol, Awesome blog that I enjoy following! 🙂, Thanks so much for stopping by! You just have to go into it knowing that they will take longer and they won’t be like the chicken you buy at the store. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Also check to see if you can order from Azure Standard…a buying club supplier out of Oregon. I have room to grow plots – any ideas?? The Beginner’s Guide to Backyard Homesteading, Secure coop that is draft-free but well ventilated, Grit, if they eat food other than crumbles or pellets, Probiotics and electrolytes may be helpful. Hi Linda, They have a single comb of moderate size. I would be very interested in hearing about your experiences and I wish you the best of luck with the meat bird experiment! I Rachel, I no longer have any of the Cornish X chickens to breed. We now have 8 laying hens and 1 rooster. Meat chicks, like any other chicks, need to be kept in a warm, dry enclosure until they are fully feathered out. Owing to the relative ease and low cost of raising them in comparison to animals such as cattle or hogs, chickens have become prevalent throughout the cuisine of cultures around the world, and their meat has been variously adapted to regional tastes.. Chicken can be prepared in a vast range of ways, including baking, grilling, … We will try some meat birds this year, it’s a lot of work to butcher and clean (which I am proudly doing my self – Girl Power! They got that big about a month/2 months ago, so around 5/6 months of age. Nice post, Lisa! I saw that you tried the Black Broilers – is that actually a breed?? So much good information for people who are trying their best to live sustainably. That seems to be a bit of a problem, since I don’t have room for that many chickens. If you disable this cookie, we will not be able to save your preferences. These heritage birds are well made for small chicken coops, tractor chicken pens, larger chicken houses, and free range chicken farming. If they do not get to a good size by Fall, I can always order a few Cornish late in the year for roasters since they only take 8 weeks. 🙂, We are trying to come up with a breed that we can breed to our very large roosters to produce a meat bird. Ours spend a couple weeks in the brooder, and then go outside in chicken tractors. THANKS!! He dry plucked very easily, and when it came time to remove the innards, well.. they were normal, size and the amount of internal fat was comparable to any other meat bird. If the cost is too great, we eat less meat. Keep going and don’t let anyone discurage you!!! As for sourcing alternative feed, I found a place that sells fishmeal in my province. The White Plymouth Rock was admitted to the American Standard of Perfection in 1888. Their egg laying abilities and hardiness make them a popular choice for backyard birds. Hi Angela, 🙂, Oh, thank you so much for the information!! Let them have their own pasture with a canopy to sleep under and a couple other shaded corners. No problem, Brooke! Hi Jenny, Hi Agnes, It’s nice to see an article like this that is not so vehemently against the cornish cross. But I was told by the editor of Countryside magazine that these crosses were developed from the l940’s from several breeds and it would be impossible to attempt. Chances are, the meat you buy in the … I’m hoping someday to have room to raise more feed…but for now, chickens ain’t cheap! Cooking them at a low temperature, 200-250, is good. Cornish Rocks, which are a cross between a Cornish and a White Rock, are the typical meat bird breed and used in factory farms all over the United States and on many small family farm operations as well (both pastured and conventional). Hatcheries will give instructions for taking their feed away in the evening to prevent overeating and heart attacks. I’m glad to hear that it helps. Please come up and get it and put it in with the rest of your chickens?” I was expecting a rooster that looked something like a cartoon charicature of a chicken. This is my website! Thanks for sharing…I always enjoy reading about what has worked well for other homesteaders. On the opposite end of the spectrum are heritage breeds. They are docile, while showing some broodiness. Congrats on the new chicks, Jason! If you have some farms in the area, see if you can get to know the folks. I am going to get Silver Backed Dorking chicks this Spring as they are a little heavier than the White Dorkings – and so my experiment continues. This is the kind of chicken you buy in the grocery store. We are now seriously considering doing a batch of meat birds. Fresh grass (and bugs), sun, shade, fresh water, food= happy life= tasty clean chicken for the family. I have enough trouble keeping my layers alive in the heat, much less the meat birds. It should be warm, but if it feels like an oven I wonder if your thermometer is correct? I’m glad your info. We've added a virtual rewards card to your account. That was done quickly and humanely, and with thanks and a whole lot of curiosity about what I would find insided! They’re specifically bred as a meat bird, and shouldn’t be kept for egg production or as a pet. Sorry it posted twice! Thank you, Holly! I plan to put the extra Black Cornish roosters in the freezer. It’s claimed he was trying to breed selectively for barred plumage and clean legs.It’s now thought that these birds … White rock hens are a nice bird and bred with a rooster produce really nice meat birds. White Chicken Breeds is basically a White feather based poultry. I also get a kick out watching them take off on a full run…cheap entertainment, I tell ya! They are extremely efficient converters of feed to muscle. Hi James, I want to raise meat birds again. I’ve raised them and I eat all the extra roosters I hatch out. (Ps; I currently have some puppies for sale! With bright blue feet, these birds run on the more expensive side. So it sounds like your meat birds grew big pretty quick without meat producer feed or any special treatment, which is good to know. Well, technically, it’s our first year for any chickens. Choosing to eschew meat, though, has its own rewards. I think they would be living more closely to their natural ways if you don’t glean too. Right now I can’t, for several reasons…I don’t have the room to keep the breeding stock, I have diseases in my flock that make it necessary to give vaccinations (not cost effective to do on my own), and I can’t raise the grain to feed them. By Julie Gauthier, Rob Ludlow . As long as they don’t develope any health problems I’ll be keeping them as layers for awhile, but they definitely aren’t what I expected after all I read about them. Economically they are already costing the same price of what we pay here in Australia for an organic and probably technically free-range (not pastured) bird so the economics aren’t there. 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