Other common names: Indian Game; Cornish Hen; Rock Cornish Game Hen; Cornish Game Hen; Cornish Game; Jubilee Cornish Game; White Cornish; Cornish White
The Cornish Chicken is a breed of chicken which originated in the 1800's in Cornwall, England. Originally created as the "Dark Cornish", the breed was a composite of several different blood lines - Asell (or Asil), Black-Red, Old English and Malay. The White Cornish was produced in 1890 from a White Malay / Dark Cornish cross. White-Laced Red Cornish were produced in America in 1893, from a Shamo Japanese / Dark Cornish cross.
A popular restaurant dish, the "Cornish game hen" is a young, immature Cornish chicken (usually 5 to 6 weeks of age), and weighing less than 2 pounds.
Types: Bantam, Largefowl
Varieties (Pea Comb): Black, Blue Laced Red, Buff, Dark, Mottled, Spangled, White, White Laced Red
Uses: Meat, Exhibition,
Bantam: 36 - 44 oz
Largefowl: 8 - 10.5 lbs
Personality: Calm and easily handled. Roosters are often aggressive amongst each other.
Broody: Yes, but hens often break their eggs
Preferred climate: Cool
Handles confinement: Yes
Egg production: Poor (1/week)
Egg color: Brown
Egg size: Medium
What else you should know:
Cornish chickens can have difficulties mating naturally due to their body size. Weight difficulties and health issues are not uncommon, it is possible that you will need to limit your birds grain intake. Chicks can be cannibalistic, so it is best to use a red light in their brooder.
cold hardy, beautiful bird, flavorful bird, yolk color quality, good dual purpose
bad experiences, scars
Heritage Breed Dark, game bird breeds, Dark Cornish birds
A Special Kind of Color: How Not to Raise a Cornish Chicken
People think chickens are easy critters to manage and raise. At first, you think that all you must do is throw a hen and a rooster out in the backyard and watch as a chicken metropolis comes to life… this is not the case. A few years ago, my brothers and I had the opportunity to raise chickens for the local fair. We excitedly brought our 50 new chicks home with us and within minutes had them all placed in a nice enclose and began teaching them how to drink. We bathed them in warm artificial light and placed hay around the cage for comfort. These little chicks were stark white, but this did not last long. Come fair day, our little chickens who were about an average size were dark brown and lively as ever. We picked out the three biggest ones and took them to town, thinking we had the competition in the bag! $3000 dollars here we come! We almost died of embarrassment, however, when we saw the other chickens we were competing against. Each one looked to be about 60 pounds, beautiful bleach white, and so fat they couldn't even move. We shyly placed our brown, puny hens into the designated pens. The whole afternoon was hysterical. People passed by asking what kind of disease our chickens had, and one lady even asked if they were Mexican chickens. ‘No ma'am those feathers are just permanently stained with their poop…’ (true story) Needless to say, we didn't even come close to a shot at the 3 grand, but we learned some valuable lessons in chicken ownership. Cornish cross bred chickens, also commonly known as white broilers, are not overly aggressive unless placed in a small space. If you want Broilers to stay their natural white, DO NOT lay down hay. Wood chips are the best material because they absorb most of the liquid dropped or expelled in the cage. Unless you want poop stained chickens, wood chips are your go to! The second most valuable lesson we learned is that if you are raising the chickens for size, an everyday natural feed is not going to do the trick. You cannot have free range chickens and expect them to double in size every week. We found that the best way to attain size is through different growth infused feed. You can find this at your local feed store and simply ask an associate to find the best option. Overall, these chickens are going to take some elbow grease and making sure they are constantly fed and watered, but if done right, they are worth it! .
From veggietalemush Mar 21 2017 12:48PM
Heritage Breed Dark Cornish Chickens
I’ve been raising and breeding Heritage Breed Dark Cornish chickens for 4 years. I was hesitant to get these birds at first because I’d read a poor review of them on a big name heritage breed internet site. I took a chance on them nonetheless because I wanted a good meat bird, and this breed was apparently cold hardy, likely to hatch their own chicks and a top forager in addition to their meatiness. I’m SO glad I took the chance.
What like most about my Dark Cornish birds is that they are great foragers, they are fantastic mothers, they are the MOST cold hardy of all my chicken breeds, they are the BEST meat birds I’ve raised (both the males AND females), the hens lay just as frequently as 90% of my other laying hen breeds.
The processed Dark Cornish birds are the exact shape and feel to the ones I used to buy at the store, so I was thrilled about that. They put on their weight fast, even the laying hens, but no too fast as to be like the overgrown Cornish crosses so commonly used for meat production which are riddled with deformities and other health problems as a result.
Their egg production is really pretty high, which always impresses me, though I find their eggs tend to be on the elongated side with pointed tops which, for me, makes them, for me not suitable eggs for market. It is the Cornish eggs that we reserve for our own use, and I can say honestly that their flavor, texture and yolk color quality is equal to that of any other breed I have.
Heritage breed Dark Cornish chickens, in my experience, should never be kept in confinement, they love to forage and do so aggressively, this cuts food costs down by a lot in the spring and summer so let ‘em run free.
It should be noted that the roosters are protective guards of their hens and will take on any threats to them in a way I've not encountered in any of my other rooster breeds. They are true guardians. I think this may have something to do with their breeding, they do carry some wild game bird DNA. The roosters are surprisingly gentle with even the smallest chicks, always keeping an eye on them and keeping them safe.
I really, really like this breed and will continue to raise them into the foreseeable future..
From MT_Goat_Farmer Feb 20 2014 6:48PM
The Cornish in my opinion has one use, and that is as part of the four-way cross breeding needed to make the Cornish cross. I have had bad experiences with them although friends of mine have had great success. It may have something to do with the fact that I still have scars from a spiteful group of Cornish hens we had growing up on the farm. It’s nothing against the breed specifically, I just personally dislike them. From my observations, and interactions with them they are mean enough to attack you, and big enough to hurt you at 10+ pounds. At least with the game bird breeds they’re smaller and are just as likely to run from you as to attack. The Cornish are pretty birds, and a good deal of people use them as their staple breed. In the United Kingdom they've been making something of a comeback gradually replacing their, in my opinion superior, offspring the Cornish cross..
From Travis A. Wooten Jun 5 2014 2:29PM