Cornish Chicken – Is This The Perfect Meat Chicken For Homesteaders?

The Cornish chicken is one of the most popular chicken breeds in the world. In fact, if you have eaten chicken before, then chances are that this chicken meat would have come from a Cornish. Let’s take a look at this breed in a bit of depth, shall we?

Cornish Chicken Facts at a Glance

TemperamentFairly Docile
Eggs80 eggs per year
Egg Shell ColorTinted / Light Brown
Comb TypePea comb
UseMeat
WeightMale: 10.5 lb (4.8 kg)
Female: 8 lb (3.6 kg)
Country of originUnited Kingdom
StatusNot at risk
ForagingBad
Admitted to APA1893
Cornish Chicken Facts

What Are The Origins of the Cornish Chicken

The Cornish Chicken, as the name suggests, comes from Cornwall in England. However, oddly, it is not known as the Cornish chicken in England.

Instead, it is known as the Indian Game. This is despite it having no connection to India.

cornish chicken

The reason why we call it the Cornish chicken in the United States was because a lot of people thought that the Indian Game came from India.

So, in a bid to quell some of that confusion, breeders decided that the name Cornish was the best route to go down.

When the Cornish chicken was developed by crossing Aseel chicken with other game chickens, the sport of cockfighting was at an all time high in England.

This meant that breeders were working hard to create breeds that they could use in cockfights.

The Cornish chicken was one of those.

However, it was absolutely awful at cockfighting. It wasn’t an aggressive chicken breed like the Old English Game chicken for example, so it didn’t last that long in the business.

It eventually because the main meat chicken in many countries around the world.

The Look of the Cornish Chicken

The Cornish is a large chicken, with males reaching up to 10.5 lb (4.8 kg) in size, Cornish hens up to 8 lb (3.6 kg).

These birds are well known for the shorter legs that they have. These shorter legs are coupled with deep breasts. This is why they are used so much as meat birds. They give off a lot of breast meat.

There are several different colors of the Cornish chicken that are officially recognized:

  • The Dark, which is mostly a dark blue-black with dashes of red.
  • White
  • White Laced Red
  • Blue Laced Red
  • Buff
  • Mottled
  • Black
  • Spangled

There is also a bantam version of this breed available which is about half of the weight of the standard variety.

Is It Worth Raising It as a Show Bird?

Because the Cornish chicken is a popular chicken, it isn’t used at many shows. Well, it is, but not so much for the same reasons that other birds are used for shows.

chicken chicken facts

There is no denying that this is a beautiful bird, particularly once you get into the various color variants.

However, breeders tend to love their birds to look fantastic and be unique when they are showing them off. The Cornish chicken looks fantastic, but it certainly isn’t unique.

Nowadays, you are likely to find this chicken at shows for agriculture.

This is because the breed can then be used to show off to potential chicken farmers that may be looking to increase their livestock and want chickens that are going to be somewhat productive for them.

There are far more better chickens for show.

The Cornish Chicken as a Meat Breed

As you have likely guessed by this point, the main purpose of the Cornish chicken nowadays is as a meat chicken breed.

However, a lot of framers are not raising the Cornish chicken as a meat bird directly. Instead, they are breeding the Cornish Chicken into existing broiler chicken stock.

This means that you get the benefits of this breed, but you get the fast-growing broilers.

Now, if you are a homesteader, you don’t have to worry about the crossbreeding quite so much.

This is because the Cornish chicken is a decent meat bird as it is. It doesn’t grow drastically fast, but it isn’t going to be so slow that you will have useless birds for years while you are waiting for them to produce meat.

The chicken should be ready to slaughter within a year or so.

Due to the unique traits of the chicken, it actually does make a good breed to raise on the homestead.

This is because it is resistant to pretty much every single disease that can impact other chicken breeds. It is incredibly hardy. The only issue you will have is parasites, but these should be easy to deal with.

As an Egg Laying Chicken

This chicken breed is a decent layer of eggs. A Cochin hen can lay up to 80 eggs per year. It isn’t the best layer, or close to the best chickens for eggs but it should be enough for a homesteader.

The only major issue that you will have is that the Cornish chicken is prone to getting cold.

If this happens, then it will stop producing eggs. This means that you will probably not want to be raising this chicken breed if you are living in a particularly cold region.

It is worth noting that they have trouble mating naturally. This is because the roosters have wide-apart legs with heavy muscles.

Raising the Cornish Chicken

As we have said before, raising this breed of chicken shouldn’t require that much in the way of effort. This is because it is a hardy breed.

You just have to leave it to its own devices, and it should be fine. Just make sure that you give it a decent diet.

Chickens that grow up nice and big are always going to need to have that decent diet.

We want to point out that if you have decided to raise Cornish chickens then keep in mind that they don’t do well as free-range chickens. They are not good foragers so supplemental chicken feed is a must.

As we also said, the Cornish chicken can get cold. This is because they have thinner feathers than other breeds of chicken.

This means that you may want to keep their coop nice and warm, or look for other ways to keep your chickens, if the cold weather starts to set it.

It is important to note that the Cornish Chicken is a chicken designed for cockfighting. It was never used much for cockfighting, but it was still bred to be one.

This means that the breed does have somewhat of an aggressive streak to it. It is not as intense as other breeds.

However, you may not want to keep multiple roosters in the same area. If you do, there is a strong chance that they will end up with a potentially aggrieve roosters fighting each other over territory.

That being said, the Cornish chicken does make a brilliant guard chicken for the same purposes. If anything does try to get into that coop, the Cornish is going to do its best to try and fight it off.

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