Why are we raising Cornish Cross chickens?
I spent a lot of time trying to decide what breed of meat chicken to raise this summer. I did lots of reading about the good, the great, the bad and the ugly aspects of raising the hybrid Cornish Cross chickens. There are so many opinions out there and I didn’t want to make an uninformed decision, especially since a couple of these chickens are to be my girls first 4-H market projects. I finally came to the conclusion that I need to form my own opinion and I can’t do that until I have had hands on experience raising them. So I decided to start with Cornish Cross vs. a heritage breed. They are the most cost effective breed to raise, and if it goes well we will continue to raise Cornish Cross. If not, we will try a different breed next year.
For the next 8 weeks (that’s how long it takes for them to be ready to butcher) I will be sharing our meat chicken raising experience with you. I will be posting pictures and giving updates weekly on our little adventure!
Here is Week 1 of Raising Cornish Cross Chickens:
We ordered our chicks from McMurray Hatchery to arrive on the week of July 8th. This will make our chickens 6 weeks old for our County Fair, and hopefully the correct weight which needs to be between 4 and 7 lbs for my girls to be able to sell their chicken at the livestock sale. I had never ordered from McMurray Hatchery before, but they had the right breed available at the right time. The ordering process was easy; they kept us informed of shipping (with emails and texts) and their website was very informative.
Early on the morning of July 8th we got a call from the post office that our live birds had arrived. Of course I wasn’t exactly prepared (I’m such a procrastinator). I very quickly cleaned up our brooder “play pen”, washed up the chick feeders and waters and headed to town. We first went to the feed store to buy bedding and chick starter, then picked up the peeping box from the post office. When we got in the car I bent the lid back and was pleased to find 15 live peeps!
They were all active and looked healthy. As quickly as we could, we prepared their pen and got them settled in…..sooooo cute! Am I really going to be able to eat these guys in a couple months??
We have had a fun week watching these little birds grow. (Notice the growth of their feathers in these consecutive pics!) Contrary to what I have read these little guys seem to be hearty, active, and very curious. So far I have no regrets picking this breed. We will see what happens in the next few weeks!
Click here to read about Week 2