cornish cross
cornish cross
U.S. Department Of Agriculture / Flickr (Creative Commons)
  • Purpose: Meat
  • Eggs: Brown
  • Egg Size: Small-Medium
  • Color: White
  • Comb Type: Single

The most common and potentially most controversial of the chickens, the Cornish Cross is the modern broiler bird.

Though it is not a breed in its own right–it’s a hybrid of certain secret strains that include Cornish and White Plymouth–it is certainly distinct from any other chicken you will see. When you pick up a package of chicken breast or legs at the supermarket, it is certain that it is the meat of a Cornish Cross you hold in your hand.

Both praised for their rapid growth and decried as “Frankenchickens,” this is certainly a bird to stir up opinions and conversation!

Raise a heritage breed alongside the Cornish Cross hybrid, and you will soon see why they are esteemed for their ability to convert feed into muscle. These birds have a growth rate that is unsurpassed by any other chicken type.

They are typically butchered at 8 weeks, an age that some heritage chicken breeds may still be sporting a bit of baby fluff! Though they eat a lot, they have been specifically developed to turn their feed into as much body weight as possible.

The large, butchered carcass of the Cornish cross will satisfy every expectation you would have for a dressed chicken. With huge thighs and a wide, ample breast, it is the chicken meat that we’ve grown accustomed to.


With bright white feathers and a single red comb, the Cornish Cross will certainly stand out from other, more colorful birds. Everything about it is wide–from its broadly muscled body, huge breast, and yellow legs set far apart.

These are all clues to the influence of the Asil breed that contributed to its development. Even its face still carries a touch of the fierceness of its fighting ancestors. Those white feathers also result in a more “normal” looking butchered bird–you won’t have to worry about having dark pinpricks from colored feathers!

If It’s A Self-Sustaining Bird You’re After, Look ANYWHERE Else

That rapid weight gain and meat production comes at a price, and with the Cornish Cross, that price is their health, intelligence, and longevity.

These birds have been bred to eat, but with all that consumption, you can expect far more chicken poop on the ground than with other breeds. Of course, the cleanliness of a coop is the responsibility of the keeper, not the chicken, but these birds will keep you busy! That drive to eat constantly makes them large, but you must plan on monitoring their food intake so that they don’t overeat themselves to an early death.

As a result, the physical stress of creating so much muscle so quickly very often leads to leg problems and organ failure. The massive weight of their developing systems makes it usually impossible for them to perch, and they often prefer to sit on the ground.

Chickens can develop sores on their breastbones from having them pressed down for so much of the day. Cornish Cross need to be butchered so young in part because it is sometimes a risk for them to attempt to reach adulthood.

These bright white birds are also very easy for predators to spot if you are able to free-range them. Certainly the brawn and not the brains of the chicken world, you’ll need to do what you can to protect them.

What’s the Yield?

These birds are intended solely for meat production and produce meat they do. At their typical butchering age of 8 weeks, males will have reached 10 pounds and females 8 pounds.

Though many have tried, using this breed as a pet is almost guaranteed to end in premature heartbreak. Though they are calm in nature, a Cornish Cross would be considered ancient if it were able to reach 18 months of age, so a longer-lived breed like the Cochin or Croad Langshan would be a far superior choice.

Finally, the jury is out on attempts to use these hybrids for egg production. They are certainly capable of laying eggs, but since hens were never intended as layers, information on the frequency and quality of their brown egg production is difficult to come by.

Pictures Of Cornish Cross Chickens

Instagram post 18064143769137812 “You trying to get in this barn? Do you have snacks? No one enters without snacks.” . .
. . .
. . [#ImageDescription: A large white rooster stands in the doorway of a barn. On the left a black cat is curled up in a basket. A black and white potbelly pig is standing on the right .]
. .
#pigsofinstagram #rescuepig #minipig #misfitmanor #potbellypig #farmrescue #donteatyourfriends #friendsnotfood #barncat #workingcat #coolkidsclub #sanctuarylife #rescuerooster #roostersofinstagram #interspeciesfriendship #cornishcross #muscleman #regularshow  #savedfromslaughter #friendsnotfood
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Instagram post 17969501566124730 I love seeing a freezer full of homegrown meat chickens. It’s so rewarding to grow your own animals for meat. Knowing that your hard work and care went into that food. I can’t wait to see what the future holds with other homegrown meat we could add to the freezer. This is my friends freezer of chickens that I helped them take care of this year, we did 60 chickens and 10 were mine. We’ve done Cornish crosses the last few years for a breed. Is that your favorite or do you have other breeds you like as well? •
#homegrownfood #homegrownmeat #meatchickens #cornishcross #homesteadinglife #knowwhatsinyourfood #homesteadersofamerica #instagramhomesteaders #chickensofinstagram #madefromscratch #simplelife #upstatenyhomestead #theporterhomestead
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Instagram post 17867464000418954 2 semanas depois as diferenças no crescimento são bastante notórias, arrisco a dizer que os pintos brancos, tipo #cornishcross, têm o dobro do peso e do tamanho dos pintos de #orpington, filhos das nossas galinhas. Estamos a alimentar com farinha bio de origem espanhola com 21% de proteína, na primeira semana comeram ração para perus migalha 165, mas para a próxima vou começar logo de inicio com a biológica. São pintos que estão na rua logo desde o nascimento, não passaram por qualquer tipo de criadeira, desde o inicio criados no pasto com uma mãe adoptiva. #quintadobicho #chickens #frangos #frangodepastureio #freerange #freerangechickens
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Instagram post 17885120752380727 Have you heard about those #cornishcross meat birds?  You know...the ones that just sit around and eat?  The ones that get so fat, their legs break?  The ones that aren't healthy? .
Yeah, we've heard about them too. .
Have you heard about those same cornish cross chickens when you pasture raise them?  Outside in fresh air?  With lots of space and a diet of mostly pasture grasses?  They kind of look healthy don't they? .
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Instagram post 17894200864367174 125 Cornish cross meat chickens arrived on the homestead today!  We usually do a great job on IG and FB with weekly updates on these birds.  We are going to try and extend that to YouTube this year as well. 
#homestead #2019PrattMeatBirds #cornishcross  #meatbird #fillyourfreezer
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Instagram post 18065405422063101 Yesterday, Melanie and Brittany drove up the coast to meet with Caleb Barron at Fogline Farm. You may recognize the name from many of our menu items. We’ve chosen to partner with Fogline Farm for our chicken meat for many reasons. To start, they are a small, organic, pasture-raised poultry farm committed to environmental sustainability, ethical animal husbandry, and serving our local community. And to top it off, their chickens are incredibly flavorful! They raise Cornish Cross Broilers—famous for their flavor profile—in low density chicken tractors, pictured here, that are moved through the fields daily.
We look forward to sharing more with you about our local farm partnerships and welcome your questions on this topic. At GRK, our ability to offer you quality food begins with the farmers, and we are so grateful for the abundance they cultivate in our community!
📷/caption: brittanyberyl
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Instagram post 17991407905234609 Ren and Taffy taking a dust bath!! All the mulch is such a hit!! #taffy #turkeytalk #cornishcross  #kaporossurvivor #dustbath #birdsofig #vegan #rescue
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Instagram post 18037592503182785 The chicks will be 9 weeks on Tuesday. The experience with Rudd Rangers has been completely different from that of Cornish Cross. I’m excited to see the difference at the end. Hoping they make a decent weight. They take longer, and I know they’ll be less meat per carcass but if they’re decent it will be worth it to not have the issues of the Cornish.
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Instagram post 17960009743253230 This little meatie is getting so big! In fact, they all are! Spring is a good time for them since they have so many bugs to eat and grass to nibble on. You know, the way meat birds should be eating. It’s a total myth that chickens should be fed vegetarian diets and you should run far from chicken packaged that way. This little guy and all of his friends will be happy to show you how eagerly they will gobble down a bug you give them. Hell, I’ve seen my chickens literally rip a mouse in half fighting over it and my best girl Pecky the Buff Orpington even killed herself a young snake one day to munch on! So these little guys will remain free roaming during the day, soaking up the sun and going wherever they like and eating whatever they like, as nature intended. Ok, rant over. He also has quite the dashing little ‘do for #mohawkmonday by rustymoosefarm
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Instagram post 18033750286126770 2 week old meaties in the chicken tractor this morning... with a photobomb from Bamboo 😀 on the left is one of our larger Cornish Cross and on the right is one of the smaller Murray’s Big Red Broilers, both from mcmurray_hatchery • even though the Jumbo Cornish are outgrowing the Big Red’s, I’m just excited that all 42 are still alive!

#chickensofinstagram #chickens #cornishcross #jumbocornishcross #murraysbigredbroiler #redbroilers #broilerchickens #meatchickens #meatbirds #meaties #emu #bambootheemu #birds #wildbirds #backyardpoultrymag #poultrymagazine
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Instagram post 18024611467173321 The Murray’s Big Red Broilers are 8 weeks old today. Much bigger than our standard chicks we got at the same time, but 2-4 weeks behind the Cornish Cross in size. But what the Cornish Cross don’t have... are these striking good looks.

#murraysbigredbroiler #meatbird #meaties #broilers #cornishcross #redranger #mcmurrayhatchery #chickens #chickensofinstagram #backyardpoultry #backyardpoultrymag
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Instagram post 17959636504059105 Chick. Chick. Goose .
#chick #chicks #chickens #chickensofinstagram #goose #geese #geeseofinstagram #duckduckgoose #chickchickgoose #cornishcross #meatbirds #pilgrimgeese #homegrown #organicmeat #pastureraised #pasturedpoultry #farmraised #knowyourfood #knowyourfarmer #eastvillage #chickenfarm #microfarm #homesteadlife #chickenfarmer #farmerjane
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Instagram post 18039883405155019 Hello, my name is Heather and I have 54 chickens 🤭
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Instagram post 17853218329456153 At 4 weeks the largest weighed in just right. Now, at 5 weeks, it's time to put them on grass. Could I have had them on grass since day 1? Yes, but the Emerald City has an obscene amount of rainfall this time of year, which mean they would have been hiding under cover the entire first 5 weeks. And that means pooping in one spot for 24 hours. Three weeks until harvest and that will be a rap for our chickens for the year. Left to grow out are turkeys, rabbits and ducks. Feeding your family takes work, lots of it. But never in a million years would I trade it.
#growyourown #growfood #pastureraised #cornishcross #raiseyourownfood #sustainableliving #chickensofinstagram #instagramhomesteaders #healthyoptions #cleaneating #knowyourfood
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