Other common names: Cornish Rock Hybrid; Cornish Cross; Cornish X; Cornish-Rock; Rock-Cornish; Cornish x Rock hybrid; Broilers; Broiler Chicken; Cornish Game Hen
The Cornish Rock Chicken is a cross breed from a Cornish Chicken male and a female white Plymouth Rock Chicken. Modern variants of the original Cornish Rock Hybrid Chicken are the most-used breed in the broiler and frier chicken meat industry. The "Cornish game hen" is a young immature Cornish Rock Chicken (less than 5 weeks of age), weighing not more than 2 pounds.
According to Wikipedia, "Broilers are often called "Rock-Cornish," referring to the adoption of a hybrid variety of chicken produced from a cross of male of a naturally double breasted Cornish strain and a female of a tall, large boned strain of white Plymouth Rocks. This first attempt at a hybrid meat breed was introduced in the 1930s and became dominant in the 1960s. The original cross was plagued by problems of low fertility, slow growth, and disease susceptibility, and modern broilers have gradually become very different from the Cornish x Rock hybrid.
Modern broilers are typically a third generation offspring (an F2 hybrid). The broiler's four grandparents come from four different strains, two of which produce the male parent line and two of which provide the female parent line, which are in turn mated to provide the broilers. The double cross protects the developer's unique genetics as strains cannot be reproduced from the broiler offspring. Additionally, the male lines and female lines are not bred for the same traits; for example the female line needs to be able to lay as many eggs as possible, since the number of eggs laid per hen influences the cost of broiler eggs and hence broiler chicks. Egg-laying ability is less important in the male line, while rooster fertility is very important.
The broiler is raised in a highly controlled environment along with thousands of other broiler chicks. It is given unrestricted access to a special diet of high protein feed delivered via an automated feeding system. This is combined with artificial lighting conditions to stimulate growth and thus the desired body weight is achieved in 4 - 8 weeks, depending on the approximate body weight required by the processing plant. After processing, the poultry is delivered as fresh or frozen chicken to the stores and supermarkets.
Varieties (Single Comb): White
Weight: 4 - 5 lb market weight (4 - 8 weeks of age)
Personality: Calm and lazy
Preferred climate: Moderate
Handles confinement: Yes
Egg production: Fair (2/week)
Egg color: Brown
Egg size: Extra Large
What else you should know:
In a traditional flock Cornish Rocks can usually live a year or two. Afterwards, they succumb to various health concerns. Chicks will gorge themselves, so you may find rationing grain intake to be necessary.
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Good for a small free range commercial operation
I've raised nearly a thousand of these guys (and gals), and I'll tell you...despite the challenges of raising them (high death rate, not very hardy, prone to heart attacks), the quality of their meat is just incomparable! I had birds that reached 9 lbs DRESSED, and the meat was not too tough or chewy to eat! If you take care to make their environment safe, with clean food, water, and fresh forage, they will provide you with meat for your freezer, and also be a very profitable commercial operation, with prices topping $5-6 per lb, and expenses about half of that. Even raising 50 for yourself is not too tough a challenge!.
From Adam Schneider Sep 3 2017 12:19AM
The Ultimate Meat Chicken
I raise a flock of 100 Cornish Rocks every year, in 50 chick increments, for meat. These are the chickens you will eat if you purchase your meat at the supermarket. Also known as factory chickens, and Cornish Cross's these chickens grow astoundingly fast. At just eight weeks they are ready to butcher at a solid 5 to 6 pounds. Compare this to a heritage breed that would be only 2.5 to 3 pounds at the same age. The meat to bone ratio is also exceptional. This breed grows it's muscle mass before it grows it's bones. The downside of this for the chicken is that it cannot support its own weight by eight weeks, and they are plagued with heart problems. The mortality rate after eight weeks is very high. These chickens are best raised in large pens, or on the floor. They are pretty birds in my opinion but they look monstrous next to similar aged peers of heritage breeds. If you're wanting your chickens for meat the Cornish Rock is the only way to go. The only thing that comes close are a few breeds that have only been developed in the last few years in the Freedom Ranger, and Rainbow Ranger..
From Travis A. Wooten May 20 2014 10:56AM
Not A Small Operation Breed
Out of all the animals I have ever raised, this breed gave me the most problems health-wise that I couldn’t fix with supplements, diet, or care, because it was all down to genetics. Cornish Rocks have been bred for industrial production, which means they balloon with weight in a short time span so large companies can keep a steady supply of chickens ready for butchering to meet demand. Though I understand the reasoning behind it, this breeding move is absolutely devastating for these chickens because even the hens I sought to keep as layers ended up with stressed legs and failing hearts.
Cornish Rocks reach the ideal butchering weight around 8 wks old. I had such a large flock that, once they boomed to that weight, I couldn’t begin culling them out as quick as needed. We were a small operation raising meat for a family of four, and so many chickens went past the ideal weight and grew even larger while we could only butcher and store so many at a time. We figured that would be fine, we’d just wait and butcher as we made room in the freezers. Then they started dropping dead from heart attacks. I was used to raising Buff Orpingtons, which don’t have the excessive weight gain, so I was highly unprepared when my entire flock of Cornish Rocks went from chick to weighty adult and then into Godzilla chickens that died in droves.
They were also pretty voracious foragers. They cleaned out the bug population on our place and we fed them chicken scratch and a variety of kitchen scraps, vegetable matter, and leftovers, but they were perpetually hungry. In conjunction with our ducks and goose, they decimated the grass system in our yards that has yet to fully recover. The Orpington’s we had did fine on the food we provided, but the Cornish Rocks needed a larger volume, and when we failed to realize this they started turning on each other and pecking some of the weakest of the flock to death.
If you have a bigger operation with the necessary equipment and manpower to continuously butcher this breed at the right time for business purposes then this breed might be right for you. Otherwise look to other chicken breeds that are allowed to mature at a more natural pace. You’ll have healthier and happier chickens for sure..
From ShilohOhmes Mar 21 2015 12:38PM