The Cobb 500 Cornish Cross has exceptional feed conversion and growth rate. This chicken will produce the best uniformity for processing with lean, tender breast meat. They can be processed as a Cornish game hen in as few as 4 weeks, a 7.4 lb fryer at 7 weeks, or a roaster at 10 weeks.
The Cornish Cross is valued for its rapid growth, great feed efficiency, tender meat, and broad breasts. The genetic traits of this bird have been in development and refined over many years to become the broiler breed of choice for commercial growers. These chickens will grow uniformly with minimal difference in weight. This is the standard chicken grown indoors on litter, but is also the most common variety for pasture and free range type systems.
Typically this bird is processed at 7 weeks, but many farmers choose to process at an earlier age and sell them as Cornish game hens. Some customers will demand large roasters and this can be accomplished by raising the birds to 10 weeks or older. Due to the tremendous amount of meat that can be economically produced by this bird, many pasture based farm systems use this chicken.
Cornish Cross chicks should be started with a feed of 23% protein for days 1-20 after hatch. At days 21-30, protein should be decreased to 19% and then finally to 17% from day 31 to market. Some growers will restrict feed to slow down weight gain, allowing for the birds to further develop their heart and skeletal structure. Most commonly when restricting feed, if desired, is to keep the birds from eating for 12 hours overnight. The chickens must have access to water 24 hours per day.
Overall, the Cornish Cross is the most common meat chicken on the market. Due to its outstanding growth rate, feed efficiency, and broad breast this broiler will fit your needs whether you plan to grow them inside through the winter or outside in the summer.