Bred animal myself
Posted Feb 20, 2014
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.