Cornish Chicken: Origin, Characteristics, Price, and More!

Cornish chickens were exclusively seen on restaurant menus or in the grocery store not so long ago. These days, it’s normal to come across them in your area. These little chickens are among the most popular kinds to maintain as backyard chicken coops have grown in popularity. Cornish chickens are a good choice for smaller-yarded chicken owners. While selecting a flock, other factors to take into account are cost, feed, and maintenance.

What Makes a Cornish Chicken Different?

While all chicken is chicken, cornish chicks differ slightly from the typical supermarket chicken. Despite their diminutive size, Cornish chickens yield roughly six pounds of meat each adult bird. A Cornish chicken has distinct flesh as well. Cornish chickens are different from other chickens in that they have less black flesh. They have less fat and cholesterol as a result. Cornish chickens have a heavy chest, which prevents them from flying.


The Cornish people would rather be in charge of the chicken coop. Serious violence between Cornish roosters and other roosters is not uncommon. To prevent fighting, many chicken owners would rather have just one rooster each flock.

Cornish chickens will create a “pecking order” within their flocks. They may be amiable with their owners but hostile toward other birds. There will naturally be a dominant bird in command among the flock’s hens. In contrast to other chicken breeds, Cornishes thrive in flocks with a small number of hens.

The Cornish do not have the ability to fly, but they do love short walks. They are able to move freely over short distances and will gladly consume grass-dwelling insects. The breed should not overexert itself because it is prone to limb and cardiac issues. Greater exercise is provided by smaller foraging areas.

Hens cluck in the flock, and roosters crow a lot. While building a nest, hens may also “egg sing,” cluck, chirp, and coo.


Feathers of Cornish chickens can have a wide variety of hues, from white to blue and green iridescence. Their bodies are robust, squat, and their tails are upturned. Their faces have smaller wattles and combs, and their beaks have a tendency to curl downward. Chickens use their wattles and combs, which are the exposed feathered parts above and below the beak, to control their body temperature. This breed features small, tight feathers and short legs. Roosters average ten pounds in weight, while hens weigh an average of eight pounds.

Size Six to eight pounds.
Color White, buff, green, brown, or blue.
Feather Type Short, tight, narrow feathers that have no down.
Comb and Wattle Small, close to the body.
Neck and Head Stocky necks with small, rounded heads. Deep-set eyes, prominent brow, curved beak.
Body Small, close to the body.
Legs and Feet Well-spaced, shorter legs.

How Did the Breed Originate?

The first Cornish chickens were bred in England in the year 1807. Breeders mixed smaller chickens with muscular chickens to develop sports birds. The Cornish chicken’s broad chest can be attributed to its breeders’ desire for a small, swift bird with robust muscles. The breed was consequently sluggish but stocky. The breed was approved by the American Poultry Association in 1893 under the name “Indian Game.” The breed entered the market and became banned after hen fighting was outlawed.

The Cornish caused problems for those who raised chickens for their own consumption or the market. The bird laid little, colorful eggs with shells that changed color with sluggish growth. However, young Cornish chickens were later served in single servings as novelty meat birds. At last, American chickens were used to cross-breed the Cornish. This resulted in a quick-growing, meaty bird that is now standard in the production of chickens. As a result of a cross between the Cornish and Rock chicken breeds, the majority of chickens reared for meat are actually Cornish Crosses.

How Much Does it Cost to Raise Cornish Chickens?

You can get live Cornish chicks for less than two dollars apiece at most farming supply stores. A coop or enclosure is required for Cornish chickens in addition to this cost. The birds’ feathers are not downy, so they are more sensitive to the surroundings. If your birds are not covered, they may suffer from cold or wet weather. For ease of cleaning, the shelter should have a bed of hay or wood shavings.

Like all chickens, cornish hens require two different kinds of food. They will consume what is referred to as beginning feed during the first few weeks of their lives. Starter feed provides for the unique dietary requirements of young hens. Following this, the majority of bird owners move their birds to a “grow” diet, which is designed to aid in the bird’s weight gain and muscle mass. While the cost of these items varies, raising a Cornish to adulthood typically costs eight dollars. This breed’s adults survive five to eight years.

Initial Purchase $2.00
Chicken Coop $300.00
Shavings and Bedding $20.00 per bag
Starter Feed Cost $40.00 per bag
Adult Feed Cost $25.00 per bag

Do Cornish Chickens Produce Eggs?

Although the breed produces eggs, neither breeding nor egg manufacturing uses them. A Cornish hen will lay 50–100 eggs a year on average. Although this would be sufficient for a family, the market does not view it as profitable. Their medium-sized to big eggs have brown, cream-colored, or white shells. It’s interesting to note that darker eggs are typically laid by darker hens, whilst white hens would typically lay white eggs.

Though broody, hens have certain characteristics that impede the growth of chicks. Shavings or other padding must be available for hens to build their nests. In the absence of this, the hen’s weight could harm her eggs. The Cornish hen might not be able to supply adequate heat for incubation because of her tight, light feathers. Ensuring the success of hatching can be achieved by providing insulated and protected nesting places. Alternatively, some Cornish chicken owners opt to use an incubator to hatch their eggs. Hens make good caregivers despite this.

Do Cornish Chickens Have Health Concerns?

Due to this breed’s propensity for obesity, the most frequent health risk is obesity. Cornish hens are heavy-set, languid birds. They also have a reputation for overindulging when food is available. Your bird can then get too hefty for its legs to carry. It’s crucial to keep an eye on your flock’s diet as a result.

Due to their bare legs, all hens are vulnerable to parasites and leg injuries. By giving their pets a premium recipe enhanced with vitamins B and minerals, owners can lower the danger. Vegetable oil sprayed on the chicken’s legs can keep mites away.

Heart failure is another prevalent condition among large game birds, and it is also observed in the Cornish breed. The comb and wattle of your chicken may exhibit symptoms of heart failure. These sections will lose color and get harder and narrower. There’s a chance your chicken will cough up or have an enlarged abdomen. In order to reduce exercise, the treatment consists of isolation and a restricted diet.

Basic Care for Chickens

For their health to be maintained, hens require basic care, regardless of whether you choose to raise Cornish chickens or another breed. Each morning, the hens should be released outside of their coop and brought back in each evening. Make sure you provide your hens clean water and food every day. To reduce the possibility of bacterial growth, change the coop’s bedding once a week. To prevent infection, broody or sick chickens should be kept apart from the rest of the flock. Your hens might not have enough room in their coop if you see that they are fighting with one another. Attempt to give your hens more room by dividing up their pasture time.

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