Cornish Crosses not fat enough!

Well who would have thought that I’d have to put off my butchering dates because my Cornish Crosses are too skinny? Not me or any of you either I bet! Instead of butchering at 9 weeks as I’d planned, I’m holding off for another two weeks to see if they gain the weight needed to get to 4 lbs as I’m hoping. While the later date is a bit of a shock, the reality is they look really happy and healthy and no sign of the dreaded list of possibles: heart attacks, water bellies, laying down to eat, coming off the legs and so on.

My skinny, free ranging Cornish Crosses!

My skinny, free ranging Cornish Crosses!

My little guys and gals are running around like all my other heritage breeds and free ranging for a lot of their food. In fact, they are the messiest birds I’ve kept in terms of wasting food from the hopper. There is more food on the ground around the hopper than I’ve ever seen. I’m not sure what they are doing with it that the other birds don’t, but perhaps the behavior warrants a ‘quit playing with your food’ lecture.

Cornish Crosses hanging out in their yard.

Cornish Crosses hanging out in their yard.

As it stands, I’m now going to wait another two weeks to see if they get bigger. They are 8 weeks old today in the above photo. When I  first got them I was worried and alarmed at their rapid growth. However, after I moved them out onto the free range pasture their alarming rate of growth seemed to slow to a more natural rate of development. So far, they run and jump and flap and race around like any chickens I’ve kept. I’ve got renewed confidence that I’ll be able to keep a couple of females for breeding and they won’t die of heart attacks before reaching maturity. Well, that’s my thought a present!

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12 Comments

Filed under Animal issues, Chickens

12 responses to “Cornish Crosses not fat enough!

  1. Mitch

    Wow they have grown fast havent they?
    I didnt even know you could butcher the chickens at such an early age i would of thought there would be little meat
    Have you considered a later date when there Adults?

    However you know much more than me Of course im only a beginner at this sort of thing

    Great Chickens though our neighbour purchased 2 adult hens the other day there Massive and aparentley lay good sized eggs to

    Mitch

    • Hey Mitch,

      I wouldn’t say I know that much more than you! I’m just going by what the breeder said about the dates you can butcher them at; and by what others who have raised them have advised. This is my first time with this kind of bird. Most stuff I’ve read about them has been so negative that I was much more worried than maybe I needed to be. So far so good as they say.

      cheers,

      HDR

  2. Well, I have to say I’m sorry for not being around more! Until we get the utilities in (soon), my internet time is limited to my neighbor’s wireless, which comes in according to the phase of the moon, what I had for breakfast, and which way the wind is blowing. So I haven’t been making the blog rounds as much as I should. But – electric is coming soon, with internet to follow! Meanwhile – Poor little scrawny cornish crosses! They’re awfully gorgeous all the same. Good plans for ’em though. The two week grace period seems reasonable.

    • Yeah, I figured by what you’ve been doing that you were busy, busy, busy! I too am finding it hard to keep up with everyone, let alone my own blog, farm, chickens, life…Anyway, nice to hear from you! Kinda wish I was able to get to your campfire chili night!

      cheers,

      HDR

  3. Ah, I think I have chicken envy! I follow your blog from time to time, and really enjoy your posts. The chix look good to my untrained eye. I didn’t even know they were susceptible to the ailments you listed … I didn’t even know some of those ailments existed. Guess I don’t need to point out that I live in suburbia! Good luck with your chickens!

    • Well, you should indulge yourself and get a couple of chickens! They are a riot and provide hours of entertainment around the place. A lot of cities/suburbs are allowing backyard chickens (but often not roosters). They are the easiest critters to keep and if you have a lawn they will keep it mowed down for you and provide you with the freshest, tastiest eggs you’ll ever eat. I would never like to be without my chickens after having them.

  4. Man your crosses look great! Sorry if I contributed to your concerns in raising them. I just wanted to share with you how I messed up in raising them. That is basically the purpose of my blog. To tell people how to avoid the mistakes I make.
    And I wouldn’t sweat the dates you got from the breeder. Those dates are usually for conventionally raised birds.
    Keep up the good work.

    • No worries Rick. It was more research/reading I did on the web after ordering them that had me most concerned! Once I started reading about them they didn’t sound like such a good idea after all. However, live and learn and so far so good!

  5. EJ

    Curious to hear how your feed economics work out with wasted food & keeping them longer than expected. We just started 45 Buff Orpingtons – I’m keeping track of costs, lets compare notes this fall.

  6. so tell me please – from which hatchery did you purchase your chicks? i’d love to try some healthies like these.

    did you purchase the cornish rock, the cornish rock x the cornish who knows what?

    would you mind sharing?
    thank you.

  7. Elizabeth M

    Just got back from Washington state, looking for some property out there. Thought of you when the old man that runs the country store said “it’s a great place to live, just need to be careful about the mountain lions. You got any small dogs or cats?” Well of course I do!! 5 little dogs, three cats and by then chickens, ducks, geese and goats. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry….

  8. Interesting that they didn’t grow as fast as expected. Do you suppose that free ranging them has made the difference? I have noticed that when I need to lock my poultry up, they eat more. I’m sure part of it is when they are outside, they find more of their own food. But I think when they are penned, they are bored, and the food is right there, so they bulk up more… (I have the same problem myself!) Not to mention the extra exercise they get, being outside. I’ll be curious to hear if they catch up after the extra two weeks! They must be eating a lot?
    Michelle

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