Thursday, April 01, 2010

Those Awkward Teenage Weeks

Two weeks old and they are not chicks anymore. They aren't exactly adult chickens yet either. They are caught in that in between time. It isn't pretty.

But I did learn something new about these Cornish X chickens today. I knew that they were a cross between a White Plymouth Rock hen and a Cornish Rooster, but for the life of me could not figure out how that cross made such large meaty birds. Plymouth Rocks are decent sized birds, but not these huge fast growing things. And when I think Cornish chickens I think of the Cornish game hens that you buy whole at the grocery store. Small, but delicious birds right?

Well, yes, but they are only small because they are butchered at four weeks old. Yes, you read that right, four weeks, one month, 28 eight days, say it how you like, but those are very young birds. The fact that they are that size at the age gives a little perspective to the size of the chicks we have.

Still curious, I dug a little deeper. The Cornish birds are a very short yet stocky bird that is double breasted. They are crosses with the Plymouth Rock because the Rocks are a taller bird. The result is a whole lot of meat. The cross is also what most commercial farmers use, and thus is the chicken we are used to in the grocery store.

Sorry to bore you with my chicken talk, but I found it interesting. :)


  1. I helped with "chicken-harvesting" day at a friend's farm last spring, and was surprised to hear the "chickens" still peeping! These are chicks, not chickens when they're sent to the freezer! The rate at which the grow is crazy.

  2. I loved this post - we got chicks for the first time this year, and I've been calling these the "awkward teenage weeks" too.

    Looking at your pictures, though, confused me. I have a chick named Gertie who looks exactly like the ones you have, except she has feathered feet and is supposed to be a light Brahma. She doesn't look anything like the other two light Brahmas, though. Any ideas what she might be? Or is she maybe a he? :)

  3. Joanna,
    I know crazy.

    hmm... we have only raised a few breeds from chicks, but usually the males and females look very similar until they are close to maturity. These birds are huge so unless your odd one is significantly larger I doubt it is a Cornish X, but it may be another breed than the other two.

  4. Hmm... I guess I'll keep an eye on her and see what she turns into. It's so fun watching the transformation. :)

  5. interesting!! i wish i could be there yo join u. wink

    ~i'm just an ordinary blog-walker. Have a visit to mine if you care on nutrition and health at ~

  6. We raisedd th cross meat birds about 2 yrs ago. Mean little things! I could never let the children feed them since they peck at everything and it hurts! Although, their temperment made it much easier to process them.
    Looking forward to Wednesday! i got my new wireless mics Saturday and need to do a trial run with them so I can see where & if the weak spots would be. :)

  7. I thought it was interesting too. I have learned so many different things reading blogs. They get down to the real knitty gritty with out alot of extra talk that isn't needed.I don't have time to research every little detail, I would rather read something hands on.

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  9. They do look like gangly teenagers! lol

    Are you planning to keep any of the chicks around to harvest eggs for future "freezer" chickens or do you guys just buy a batch of new eggs every year?

    I'm thinking about putting in a small chicken coop in the back yard but since I live in town, I'm nost sure if there's an ordinance against it. I still have some research to do on the legality of it all but I would love to give chicken raising a try!

  10. Oh, I hate to think of these cute little chicks being butchered! Awkward or not, they're pretty adorable :)

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