How to Raise Cornish Cross Chickens

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Cornish cross chickens often dress out weighing nearly 9 lbs.
Cornish cross chickens often dress out weighing nearly 9 lbs. (Image: Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

In the world of chickens, the Cornish cross is known for being a champion meat-producing bird. It is the choice bird of the commercial industry, and even when raised free range on small scale farms and in backyards, these birds are ready to harvest at the age of two months. Raising Cornish cross chickens can be challenging, but well worth the reward at harvest.

Things You'll Need

  • Cornish cross chickens
  • Watering container
  • Feeder
  • Warming lamp
  • Feed
  • Bedding
  • Housing

Raising Cornish Cross Chickens.

Prepare the housing for the chickens. Prepare a small enclosure, with a flooring of wood chips or straw. Try to avoid hard, slick surfaces, as these can cause an irreparable hip dislocation. Set up a heating lamp in one section of the enclosure, and set up feeding containers and watering containers for the birds opposite the heat lamp. Do not attempt to move the heat lamp, as this can cause distress in the chicks. Cornish cross chickens are well known for their lack of common sense, and their inherent laziness.

Feed and water the chickens. Cornish cross chickens are bred to grow quickly, and will glut themselves on feed. They must only have access to food for a maximum of 12 hours per day, otherwise they will only eat and not involve themselves in other chicken activities. Provide clean, fresh water to the birds at all times.

Keep the enclosure tidy. For both the chick enclosure and the chicken coop, provide fresh, clean bedding daily. Cornish cross chickens produce a large amount of waste, which could contaminate them or cause an illness if not cleared away promptly.

Move the chicks to the chicken coop. At about 4 to 6 weeks of age, the chicks can move outdoors to their new coop, as long as the weather is warm. Continue to only allow food for 12 hours, clean the coop daily, and provide plenty of fresh water. Watch the birds closely, as the quick growth of the bird can sometimes cause them distress.

Remove any bullied chickens. If you notice chickens in your enclosure that are missing feathers, remove them and pen them away separately. Picking is a leading cause of death in chickens, and because Cornish crosses tend to be sedentary, they are more prone to become targets.

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