Anyone have a Cornish X Horror Story?

marbles_n_the_garden(DownEast Maine, Zone 5)October 22, 2006

My neighbor bought chickens from McM, and they accidentally shipped Cornish X rather than the White Rocks she ordered. She doesn't eat her chickens; she sells eggs.

Anyway, we were amazed to see the white chicks zoom past the othersin growth. The Rocks are large layers, so we figured that was it.

At one point the other layers that were shipped with the X's started pecking them. One died at that point I believe. They were out with the goose at this point because the other chickens wouldn't leave them alone.

We watched the whole ordeal unfold because my kids liked to go over to see the chickies.

Anyway, the birds started walking strangely. At first, it was only one bird, so we thought something was wrong with it. Then, the others started that horrible waddle and bob. Then they began to just sit there. My neighbor looked up in the catalogue and figured out what happened. McM of course gave a refund. However, the whole experience was traumatizing.

They got worse, and I said, "Well, people think it is cruel to have large production farms keep their roasters in small pens, but these guys just sit there anyway. Maybe it is there existence which is more cruel than the small cages."

They were sooo heavy. They panted all the time. It was quite pathertic. Her mother-in-law took a bunch of them and prepared them for the freezer. She said they were the best chickens she ever tasted.

The neighbor held out 6 for someone else who wanted them, but kept delaying the pick-up date.

We wateched in horror as their health declined and they died one by one. Is this breeding obsolescence? I think these birds are not meant to live past a certain age. I started calling them FrankenChickens. I saw something on TV that said that this bird was bread in the (I think)early 80's because McDonald's wanted to carry chicken on the menu, but needed a bird with fast growth and a huge breast. Figures.

My neighbor called the person several tmes for pick-up, and the older they got, the worse things became. Their poop was not normal. There were 3 left, I believe, when one shot all its guts to the outside of its body one summer day as it was trying to poop. That poor pathetic chicken. She died on the way to the mother-in-laws house.

When the last 2 were packed up (finally), the goose had a fit that her friends were going. So you see, upsetting to people and animals.

I don't eat my animals either (we have another neighbor who does, and I have nothing against farming). It was awful to watch these birds go through ther short life.

Anyone else have horror stories?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Well I personally don't have a horror story but I have a neighbor who rescues birds. She has a cornish X and its ugly. Its huge but can walk and looks in pretty good shape. It does free range on her property. She is really picky about its feeding. Basically she starves it so its forced to find its own food free ranging. Its so ugly, it looks sick. They really are meant for eating and not living past a certain age in my opinion.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2006 at 11:27AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

These birds are the result of a terminal cross, they are normally butvhered from 3 weeks(as cornish game hens) to around 8 weeks for roasters. From youngsters on they should be restricted to only 12 hours of feed per day, some can be kept alive by restricting feed and letting them have plenty of room for movement. They have the genetic potential to reach weights of 20 pounds; the broad brested turkeys are similar and have the potential of reaching 100 pounds.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2006 at 12:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
patrick_nh(z4/5 NH)

These posts seem to me to be classic cases of what happens now that we've become so far removed from agriculture and where our food really comes from. People don't understand what they don't learn about.

You can make a horror story out of any animal keeping activity if you look hard enough and always try to see the down side of things. There are people who do this sort of thing every day. They're called Peta members.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion of course, but IMO the only ones who have a valid arguement against modern commercial livestock practices are vegetarians or those who raise all of their own meat. Anyone else is a hypocrit IMO, and part of the problem which they denounce.

It's no great revelation that those birds were not bred to live past a certain age. They were developed this way as a result of the need to produce food for people as efficiently as possible. It's called a terminal cross, and is common in many species of livestock, although it is taken to it's extreme form in poultry. These birds were never meant to be kept as layers, pets, "rescued", or anything else other than being processed at 12 weeks.

To believe that Mcdonalds alone is responsible for the development of these birds is an extremely narrow view IMO.

Anyone who is traumatized by the experience of finally becoming aware of the harsh realities of modern animal agriculture would be best suited to involving themselves strictly with puppies and kitties and goldfish.

Anyone care to guess just how much chicken would cost if it weren't for the highly efficient meat producing strains?

    Bookmark   October 22, 2006 at 12:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I was sold a meat chick in may was told it was a leghorn. It seems to be in good health but I expect it to have a heartattack any day. I am trying to find someone to take it for eating now. As I don't eat anything I have looked in the eye. No such luch as yet. It free ranges. but it eats feed with the other hens. I think it might be eating the other hens eggs, I'm not sure. The funny thing is that the two hens I bought with her a new hampshire red and a black sexlink, seem protective of her. When I want to get a closer look at her they run to flank her sides. When she was younger they wouldn't let her set for long periods of time they kept nudgeing her to keep her moving. I have heard that other hens pick on these types of chickens. She wouldn't be so ugley if she would grow feathers over her crop. I am really surprised she has lived this long. and really would like someone to take her before she tries to lay and prolapses.

Thats my meat chicken story


    Bookmark   October 26, 2006 at 8:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
balsam(z4/5 NB)

You know, I don't have a problem with raising and eating my own meat, but I also don't have a problem with those who choose not to. There is nothing wrong with being an animal lover or a vegetarian. There is nothing wrong with raising animals for meat. Those who don't raise thier own are supporting farmers and that is important, too.

Yes, patrick we are all entitled to our opinions, but that doesn't entitle us to ridicule the opinions of others or make fun of them, which is what your rant seems to be doing. Perhaps it wasn't intended that way?

Not everyone is interested in the intricacies of animal agriculture. Not everyone knows enough about it to be a "specialist", just like many of us don't know enough about cancer to be an oncologist. There is no shame in that. There is also a long history in education that shows that criticism and ridicule are not the best ways to "teach" something. Sharing ideas,co-operation, and mutual respect are much more effective.

I'm glad to see that the folks here are taking an interest in farming - whether it's for self-provisioning or just for the fun of raising animals.

That's just my opinion :)

    Bookmark   October 27, 2006 at 12:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

In Patricks defens I will say that I have read his posts on dedicated poultry sites as well as here. he is well versed in poultry and expresses his opinions. Unless their are quatation marks it is assumed a writer has merely stated his opinion. His style is similar to mine, sometimes direct and not politicaly correct. It is sometimes difficult to talk down without giving that appearance! It is assume that when one asks for opinions and advice, that is what one really wants. SugR COAting IS GENERALLY A WASTE OF WORDS> ( i have seen times when Patrick intends sarcasm, it is not what we have seen on this message board!.
I would have to say that most of those more experienced with livestock and country ways intend to give aid to those who are less educated in the subjects at hand. Would it make any sense to come to the internet and toot your horn when no one even knows who you are??
I too am happy to see more folks interested in doing for them selves. It is a healthy and happy lifestyle providng education, relaxation, sometimes a few xtra bucks and just a whole range of bennies.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2006 at 1:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Roberta_z5(Z4/5 IL)

I don't understand why anyone has a problem with Patrick's post. I generally agree with him. When I was a kid, we had chicken once a month on Sundays. It was a real treat -- also it was very expensive. We hardly ever had "real" meat. We had Spam and Hot Dogs about once a week. When my mom could get some good ham bones, we would have beans and cornbread. That was fairly close to a "meat" dish.

People today really don't know how fortunate they are to have affordable meat. If it wasn't for those who played with hybridizing a chicken that was ready for slaughter in 8 weeks, we would still be experiencing very expensive chicken. This year for the first time, we raised Cornish X's free range with Certified Organic feed to supplement their foraging. We ended up with chickens we couldn't sell at a profit over $2.00 per chicken - if at all. (Labor not included, of course) Will probably end up donating a bunch this Christmas.

The bottom line here is that people (around here anyway) don't even want a Cornish X that was allowed to really live like a chicken even though it was for a short time if they have to pay extra for it. They want the ones "free ranging" on a factory floor with 20,000 of their closest relatives or ones spending their 8 weeks in a cage, debeaked so they don't canibalize each other out of boredom. We had no problems with bad legs, but these guys got plenty of exercise and we only allowed them to feed 12 hrs. a day. We had no horror stories because we didn't expect them to live more than 8 weeks. Their short lives were happy.

Actually there is one horror story ------ we can't sell the things and lost our entire investment.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2006 at 3:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
balsam(z4/5 NB)

Alright already! I'm not saying patick doesn't know anything. The opposite in fact. I actually hold very similar opinions about the whole subject. I'm just not about to tell people to play with kitties and bunnies if they can't deal with the "realities" of farm life.

Call me old-fashioned, but sometimes politically incorrect is just.....well.......not polite. Sorry patrick! I've also read some of patrick's other posts here - very helpful information always, but sometimes a little acidic. I'm not trying to step on toes here. I just thought the reply was a little harsh. In future, I'll try to keep patrick's "style" in mind.

Roberta - sorry to hear your investments isn't panning out. Too bad you weren't closer - it's hard to find free-range, small-scale chicken here. Guess that's why we started raising our own.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2006 at 9:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
patrick_nh(z4/5 NH)

When animals are concerned, emotions are always a major factor in any discussion, especially when there is talk of their use by humans. I certainly never intended this post to become about me, but since others have made it so, here's my last word on the issue:

Livestock agriculture has always been, and I hope and plan for it to always be a major part of my life. There are many threats to that way of life, the biggest one is potential government regulation, borne somewhat of media sensationalism and public sentiment based on ignorance and emotions, not facts and understanding. For some, the gentle persuasion of education is the way to create understanding. That hasn't worked for me. I've been involved in extensive online and in person discussions with people who refuse to deal with facts or try to understand the big picture rather than their narrow view. There is more than one way to view most issues, but few people reply to a post entitled "Anyone care to share any stories about how the highly efficient meat producing chickens have fed the world?"Sometimes my sarcasm is the only way for me to really shake then up and make them start to think. Harsh and impolite are reasonable words to describe my style, but they also describe life in general! I'll take the bait though. There is another thread here, which has some advice which IMO is incorrect and is not supported by medical evidence. I intended to reply with my usual bite. I will however try the kindler gentler approach. We'll see if that method causes anyone to think more deeply about what they're doing, or if they insist on furthering wives' tales and superstitions.

I think that I've explained well why IMO the people are unrealistic who become so upset at what happens to those birds. And speaking of IMO, how many times do I have to type those letters before people will take them for what they're worth? I never expect anyone to become a specialist, or delve into the intricasies of anything. To the contrary, I expect most people to continue to fester in ignorance and misinformation.

My pessimistic nature makes me surprised to find several others here who at least understand the purpose of the birds that we were discussing. Whether they condone my methods or not, they have my respect. Oh, and I also don't mind the opinions of those who disagree with the methods used in producing the birds, as long as they concern themselves with the facts and not emotions, because there are truly some things about it which in many circumstances are disturbing.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2006 at 7:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yes I do. Tyson Chicken Company uses Cornish X's. They used to haul them to slaughter past my house and the chickens would fall off in the road. One was so big that one of it's toes was the size of two thumbs put together. It died.

A few weeks later I saw another one. My parents weren't home so I went and brought it down to the house. It's wing was broken and the bone was visable through a tear in it's skin. It had to be amputated. I called her Henrietta. They are 3 months old when hauled away. When she was 9 months old she started not being able to walk and turning a purple color. He heart couldn't pump enough blood to her body and she had to be put to sleep.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2007 at 10:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
marbles_n_the_garden(DownEast Maine, Zone 5)

I had some strong feelings going when I wrote that. I still think what happened is awful, but let me clarify.

We home school, and I am very interested in where food comes from; I think it should be taught. People have no idea how the food gets to them. To make better food decisions, it is important to know what our food goes through on its way to us. I include vegetables and so forth in this as well. This chicken was new to me--I hadn't studied the breed because I had not purchased them, therefore, it was a revelation.

I am not a farmer, but I am not ignorant of farm life. Thank God for farmers--I say. My neighbor kills and eats all his animals (except his dogs, but other countries eat those). We visit his animals, see the babies, and learn what we can about them KNOWING he is going to kill them and eat them. I do not have an issue with that. I think it is probably healthier to raise your own. If it was the old days, I would be eating our chickens (but I still think I would have DH do the killing). DH's mother used to buy live ones, and break their necks and prepare them for dinner. I do not find any of this strange or wrong.

What is objectionable is suffering. I believe most farmers of meat animals do not want a big mess or a horrible struggle to go on during slaughter. I think most farmers approach it humanely and make it quick (I cannot speak for factory farms).

To watch these chickens suffer was horrible. We didn't know all the info in this post, and that is why I posted--to say what happened, and learn. Efficient meat production is a must, or we would be forced to be vegetarians due to the expense! The mother-in-law said they were the best tasting chickens ever. Also, I told the friend to put it out of its misery. She couldn't, and neither could I so I suggested taking it to the mom-in-law.

Now as for puppies and kittens, I have worked for vets, and assisted in surgery, so frankly I am biased toward the CARE of animals. Animals play many roles in our lives, and I am fine with whatever that is as long as it is humane. I am not an extremist, nor am I affiliated with PETA. I think PETA is extreme, but I do not look down on those people.

I think things could have been MUCH improved if McM told my friend more about these birds when she called them, and what to expect, and maybe that they are best slaughtered by week X. Then, she would not have kept them for laying (since they really don't), and she would have carted them off to mom-in-law sooner so they could be dispatched before things got so ugly. I approve of the terminal nature of their X. Certainly it is better to terminate under such conditions. It seems they couldn't live long enough to have babies even if it was possible. I do not think cages are bad for these birds--as they cannot walk fairly early anyway.

What was hard was the not knowing about them, and then seeing them suffer. I am sure most farmers seeing the suffering would be moved by it and kill the thing to do it a favor.

Watching a bird's guts come out can be shocking when you don't expect it and have never seen it before.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2007 at 8:40AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have to agree with Robin on this.

I dont mind others humanly killing and eating their animals but what bothers me is that an animal is purposly bred to suffer so that people can hurry and eat it (the cornish rock). Im not against hybrid animals just as long as their hybrid breeding wont cause them to suffer a lot such as the cornish rocks.

To me to hybrid breed something knowing it is going to terribly suffer just so people can hurry and eat it is cruel and selfish. Why cant they use other meat birds that are not bred to suffer so much? Probably for the money, it is cheaper to only have to feed them for 6-8 weeks verses the many weeks it takes other chickens to get big enough to butcher. Makes me sick that people only care for their stomachs and wallets instead of treating people and aniamls with a bit of respect and concern.

Because I got the best meat chickens and the best egg layers mixed up in my mind after having studied up on them I baught 6 cornish rocks back in May 2009. They are 5 1/2 weeks old now and not near as big as others say they should be at this age. I think that is because I make them scratch for their feed and only feed them 2 times a day. Inbetween feedings they must forage for their own food and they do well at it. They dont act sick or in pain and they run around with the other chickens with no problems. I will not be butchering them because like many others I can not take care of an animal and then kill and eat it. It just isnt something I can do, not after they learn to trust me and come to me. Makes me sick to even think of eating them. I can eat chickens but not my own if that makes any since.

So at this point I dont have any horror stories about cornish rocks but I know that may change as time goes on. But I do notice that they tend to make big poopy messes and stink up the place more then the other chickens. Their growth was fast until I put them outside in the chicken pen at 2 weeks of age because they got to big to stay inside in the cage I had them in. Once they were outside and running around foraging their over abundance of fat growth slowed down a lot. After a week of being outside their panting and looking as if they might have a heat stroke and die stopped as well, I only see them pant now when they have been running in the sun during the heat of the day.

I dont know much about PETA but if they want to put a stop to hybrid breeding cornish rocks I would certainly strongly consider supporting their effert because there are other chickens out there that could be good for their meat that dont suffer as much as people say cornish rocks do.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 1:09AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Every year at Thanksgiving they give the President a turkey. Never. Not Once has the turkey lived for a week. They always die. Usually the next day. They are too big. They simply drop dead.

Cobb was a local small farmer in Littleton Massachusetts who got into breeding chickens for meat. Cobb was bought out by Tyson in 1986. Cobb is today the worlds largest breeder of meat chickens.

But today they have developed other chickens. They now have a meat chicken bred for open range chickens that does not have some of the problems we talked about here.

The natural choice

The CobbSasso150Â is the natural choice for consumers interested in slower growing, colored chicken. The broilerÂs robust health and well being are ideally suited to traditional, free range and organic farming as well as less intensive indoor production. The mating of a rustic brown female and white male give the broiler a distinctive look and excellent growth performance. The CobbSasso150 conforms to the genetic growth requirements of many established welfare accredited growing programs.

The CobbSasso150Â offers:

 Maximum average growth rate of 45gm/day
 Ideal for certified, free range and organic systems
 Excellent livability
 Superior feed conversion
 Carcass uniformity
 Succulent taste

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 5:21AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I went to the CobbSasso150 site but don't see any information on how they sell this. I would be interested in raising some next year. Has anyone found a distributor that sells in small quantities?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 9:26AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Some of the hatcheries sell birds with the same discription. I guess they buy them from Cobb and resell them. I want to find some myself. Have to ask the places selling on the same description.

You can buy direct from Cobb they give the phone number. Probably want 100. They are hatching about 50,000,000 eggs every day 7 day a week all year around. at the one hatchery for US consumption only. And that is only part of the US sales of Cobb chicks. They also have world wide hatcheries. They are huge. They are owned now by Tyson Foods.

Not sure how the Cobb 48 differs from the 150. Full descriptions are online including details in the sales brochures and more on feeding them etc. I want to talk to a salesman and ask him the difference. I guess you can email them also.

Cobb-Vantress, Incorporated
PO Box 1030,
Siloam Springs, Arkansas, 72761 USA
Tel: +1 (479) 524-3166
Fax: +1 (479) 524-3043
E-mail: Sales: Tech:

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 8:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My husband and I raise birds, we have a wide variety of chickens and a couple of white Pekin Ducks. We raise our birds for the eggs the produce and to keep the bug population to a minimum in our yard. Our birds are given free range access during the day to our 5 acres and put up at night because in the beginning we lost several to predators. We have even caught a fox in our hen house with one of our hens in its mouth. We have used live traps to capture them and working with animal control released those animals back into the wild on the game reserve. So as you can tell we are all about making sure all animals be they ours or wildlife have the highest quality of life possible.

We purchased 6 of these birds from our local feed store. Not knowing what they were thinking they were white egg layers. Imagine my surprise when I got home and did a little research to discover that our most recent addition to our flock were Cornish Rock and their health and history. It broke our hearts and of those 6 birds only 2 survived to "adulthood". We named our roo and hen Romeo and Juliet. They became pets and as soon as released with the rest of our chicks for the season began following us around, coming when called (yes you can train chickens to come when called). And I do photography and they would literally climb up in my lap while sitting outside to take photographs of our yard. I love macro photography and would not only take pictures of the native plants but also of the birds doing what birds do best finding bugs and eating things.

I became very attached to our little surviving duo. I was overly protective of them partially because I knew they had a very short life span and partially because they found a way to break through my normally gruff exterior and worm their way into my heart.

I found Juliet at 15 weeks of age. Lying in our yard. It appeared she had just laid down and died. It wasn't uncommon for them to nap constantly in the yard. They would peck for a while and then lay down. The other birds would often ignore them or not include them in their chicken games of chase and where is the worm. They were a flock unto themselves.

As I mentioned earlier we also have Pekin Ducks and poor Romeo began to hang out with them once Juliet was gone. It broke my heart to watch him wandering around the yard searching for his mate but never finding her. Now when visitors come over he will follow them around and beg for attention. He even went so far as to try and get in one visitors car. He is a loving bird who only wants the companionship that was offered by his own kind, but lacking that has learned to get that attention from humans and ducks.

I think what they do to these birds is beyond cruel. I have had neighbors who also have purchased these birds not knowing what they were and either found them lying dead in their yard or the poor birds legs literally broke under their own weight when they were kept with growing chicks that are fed constantly.

I was outraged when I read about how these birds are treated by Tyson and tasty or not they are a living breathing life force that deserves our respect and care. After learning what I have learned about these types of birds and that the major producer of this breed is Tyson chicken I cannot walk past a freezer unit in our local grocery without wanting to cry.

I know I am an old sentimental fool, but when you mess with nature you mess with your own food source. When our other chicks died they were disposed of the same way anything that dies is on our farm. And although my other chicks were often dug up by night predators poor Juliet still lays in peace, because even the wildlife won't eat her. A lesson we might all take notice of. If wildlife won't eat it should we?

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 1:48PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Water Well Question
I have an old water well on my property. It was originally...
raising baby ducks to release in private pond
We have a 2 acre pond next to a small cabin on 130...
Raw Milk
Where Can I find Raw milk in western washington?
Duck hiding/disappeared
I have 2 drakes and 2 females (pekin and mallard) ...
Diatomaceous Earth Anyone?
Okay, so while studying advertising way back in college,...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™