The Cornish Cross or Cornish Rock Cross is Hoover’s Hatchery’s top selling broiler breed , and only white broiler chicken in their catalog. The cornish cross has dominated the commercial chicken industry for decades. This common meat chicken is used so often because of it’s astounding growth rate and feed to meat ratio. Males can reach up to 9 pounds live weight in 56 days, and the cornish hens can reach 7.5 pounds in 56 days.
Female cornish cross chickens are most common referred to as cornish game hens, and they are often harvested at a much smaller weight for optimum tenderness. Try harvesting the females between 6-8 weeks to for your desired size.
Cornish Cross Chickens are also commonly referred to as white broilers. Their white feathers and yellow skin create an attractive dressed bird with minimal pin feathers. Unfortunately, there are a few drawbacks to this chicken breed. The traditional white broiler used for large scale commercial use grows incredibly quickly. They are not able to breed or mate naturally due to their large size, and they can also over eat. It’s important to restrict their feed intake by separating the birds from the feed at night. When this breed grows too large it can develop a leg disease and lose it’s ability to walk properly. We do not recommend raising the cornish cross for any purpose other than meat. However, if you are looking to produce cornish game hens or a plump broiler, the Jumbo Cornish is an excellent option.
If you need a meat breed that grows more gradually and can be bred, check out the Red Broiler chickens.