Posted Apr 13, 2015
While growing up we took great pleasure in our self sustainability - to what ever small degree.
We chose to raise our own meat birds. The bird of choice was the Cornish chicken. It is a fast grower and produces superior meat. However this was a very hard bird to raise.
Cornish chickens grow very fast. By 5 weeks of age they typically weigh 5 pounds. This leads to problems with broken legs (because they can't support their weight) which leads to open sores and ultimately cannibalism. If they got to heavy or suffered a fright they would die of a heart attack. In frustration we ended up butchering all the birds.
The conclusion was Cornish meat birds are best suited to confinement since they don't forage and are easily frightened to death. Wire support (as in cages) are necessary to keep them out of their own mess when their legs go bad.
We found them to be a difficult bird to raise profitably. Definitely not suitable for the free-range lifestyle.