Cornish chickens

Cornish chickens

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The breed owes its appearance to fighting chickens brought from Asia. It arose just at a time when interest in cockfighting began to fall under public pressure. They were considered too cruel. But at the same time, the demand for chicken meat began to grow, and fighting Asian chickens were distinguished by a decent live weight. As a result of crossing the fighters already brought to England, the Cornish appeared - a breed of chickens for the meat direction.

Initially, these chickens were called differently in the world. In the United States, the original name was "Indian fighting". Due to confusion with real fighting breeds, it has been proposed to rename English meat chickens to Cornwell fighting breeds. In the end, only the word Cornish was left in the name. In Australia, it is still called the Indian fighting. In Russia, there are two names: the correct translation is "Cornish" and the accustomed tracing paper from English "Cornish".

At first, the Cornish chicken breed was not popular due to serious shortcomings: low egg production, thin egg shells, delicacy, slow growth and a relatively small slaughter yield of meat in carcasses. The large weight of the males created problems during fertilization. As a result of purposeful work on the breed, it acquired positive features and was able to interest the producers of chicken meat. Corniches began to gain weight quickly with proper feeding and grooming.

Today the Corniches are conserved as genetic material for breeding broiler crosses. At industrial poultry farms, only white Cornish is bred as pure as a meat breed of chickens.


Cornish chickens are bred in Cornwall. Breeding began in 1820. It is not known when this breed was recognized in its homeland, but it was officially registered in the United States in 1893. In the USSR, Cornish chickens were imported from 1959 to 1973. The supplying countries were different: Japan, USA, Holland, Canada. At the time of the collapse of the Union, there were 54 thousand Cornish chickens in the country. The overwhelming majority of the livestock was concentrated in Belarus. A very small part, only 4,200 chickens, remained in the Russian Federation.


According to the description, Cornish chickens are powerful birds with strong legs. They retained the signs of fighting breeds, but the legs of the Cornish are much shorter, because according to the idea of ​​Sir Walter Gilbert, this breed was no longer supposed to fight. This means that they do not need long limbs.

The head of the Cornish is large, with a wide skull. The beak is powerful, short, brownish-yellow in color. With a dark color, there is more dark color on the beak. The eyes are yellow or orange in color, set under well-developed brow ridges, which give the Cornish head a predatory appearance. Even in a chicken, the "face" looks ferocious. The comb is red, pink-shaped. Poorly developed. The earrings are small, red. The face and lobes are red.

The neck is strong, of medium length. Set on high on broad, powerful shoulders. The back is short, straight and wide. Even in chickens, the body is slightly raised in front. In the photo of a young cock of the Cornish chicken breed, "fighting heredity" is clearly visible. Its body is more vertical than that of chickens. The hardened roosters become overweight and "sink" down.

The shoulders are broad and powerful. The wings are of medium size, strong, tightly attached to the body. The chest is well muscled and protruding. The belly of the roosters is lean, the chickens are well developed, full. The tail is long, with a low set. Grows almost horizontally. There are few feathers in the tail, the braids of roosters are poorly developed.

The legs are powerful, with a wide set. The thighs and shins are well developed. Metacarpus with thick bone. The pasterns are non-feathered, with yellow skin. Occasionally, the white-pink color of the pasterns may come across.


Cornish color can be:

  • white;
  • black;
  • red and white;
  • black and red;
  • wheat.

Physique lines differ. The former are more massive and have dark plumage. The second with lightweight and with a light feather. Festive Corniches are wheat-colored.

The white and black color of Cornish chickens does not need a description. Colored colors are more complex. The dark black-red color is well pronounced in layers, on the body of which each feather is brown, ending in a black stripe.

Roosters are "simpler". Their main color is black. On the wings, first-order flight feathers are brown.

Chickens of red and white color repeat the pattern of dark Cornish, but with the replacement of black pigment for its complete absence.

The wheat color of the holiday Cornish is very similar to the red and white. In this variety of color, the signs of color in a rooster are clearly distinguishable. In the photo is a cock of the Cornish chicken breed.

The main color of the rooster is white with red shoulders and a small amount of red feathers on the front of the chest, head and saddle. In the chicken, the main color is white with a thin red stripe. On the body are red feathers, each with two white stripes.


For a beef breed, Corniches are not very heavy. But they quickly gain weight and by two months already weigh more than 1 kg.

Cock3.86 kg
Hen2.57 kg
Young cockerel> 1 kg
Pulp> 1 kg
Cock2.0 kg

The video shows 2-month-old Cornish chickens of the large version.

Egg characteristics of Cornish chickens are low. They carry 160-180 medium-sized (55 g) brown eggs per year. In some foreign sources, you can find information about the level of egg production 1 egg per week. This is compensated by the well-developed maternal instinct of hens.

Advantages and disadvantages

The advantages of the breed are in good weight gain and calm temperament of adult birds. Then there are some disadvantages.

Fertilization of eggs is low. Chick hatching is about 80%. Chicks are very aggressive towards each other, although they are easy to care for. Adults require more walking space than other chicken breeds. The Cornish hen is a very active bird. This can be difficult on a small garden plot.

Due to their heavy weight and lack of movement, males have leg problems. Chickens, due to increased physical activity, are not very good hens, although they are excellent hens that actively protect their chickens.

Chickens are not resistant to cold and demanding feed. Worst of all, they are prone to disease.


In the description of the breed of Cornish chickens, it is not for nothing that their sensitivity to frost is emphasized. Chickens can withstand the average winter temperature of 10-15 degrees Celsius, but they are not able to live in a cold chicken coop if it is below 0 outside. Corniches need an insulated chicken coop, sometimes with a heater. The floor should be warm with a thick pad. With a large weight, the Cornish are bad flyers and prefer to spend the night below. These birds can be equipped with perches with a height of 30-40 cm. If it is not possible to arrange a roost, just a deep bedding will be enough.

Since the breed was originally planned as an industrial breed, it gives low weight gain on conventional home feed. As shown in the table of live weight above.

When feeding Cornish according to the rules of industrial cultivation, their weight in 2 months is 1.5-2 kg.

Important! The herd intended for breeding must not be overfeeded.

With obesity, Cornish chickens have problems with egg-laying, and males with fertilization of females.


Cornish hen itself is able to hatch chickens, but in case of alarm, flying from the nest, it can accidentally crack the shell. Therefore, Cornish eggs are often laid under other chickens.

Due to the instability to cold in the first days of chicks' life, the room temperature should be 27-30 ° C. To maintain the desired temperature, the chicken coop or brooder must be equipped with infrared lamps. At lower air temperatures, chicks gather together and trample weaker brethren in crowded conditions.

Small chickens are also demanding to feed. It should be rich in protein, vitamins and minerals. Cornish is a long-feathering breed, and lack of nutrients during feather growth leads to poor feathering. Lack of feathers leads to hypothermia and death of chickens.


Svetlana Lagutina, pos. Apalkovo

Cornish chickens were bred for the sake of crossing them with other breeds, since their egg production does not suit me. And in other breeds, I do not like the lethal output of the carcass. I breed Cornish hens with an egg-laying rooster. As a result, almost all eggs from the Cornish are fertilized and good chickens for meat for home use are obtained.

Vitaly Shafeev, pos. Kalinov

They advertised these Corniches to me as a docile and ill-tempered breed. The chickens were clearly not familiar with the advisers. Until 4 months, they sorted out the relationship in such a way that I was afraid of losing everyone. And then they really calmed down. They stopped fighting. But no running. I now keep them for the soul. Very impressive birds.


Cornish is hardly suitable for the role of a bird for a small business. He has a lot of disadvantages that make the production of chicken meat more expensive. If in the West the meat of slowly growing birds is gaining popularity, then in Russia this issue is not yet considered. Corniches are well suited for the role of decorative chickens.

Watch the video: 3 TRICKS TO RAISING CORNISH CHICKENS FOR MEAT (February 2023).

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