Thursday, October 6, 2011

Cornish v. Heavy Breeds

This year we raised what the hatchery calls a frypan special, which is a mix of heavy breed chicks. The reasoning for this is that is was approximately $27 for 50 birds versus $71 for 50 birds of the Jumbo Cornish Cross.

It's hard to calculate final costs when we raise animals because we grow field crops which are fed to beef cattle, the horses, the sheep, the turkeys, the goats, the ducks and the geese in addition to our meat chickens and our egg layers. We buy several bags of feed but again, this is divided among many different birds.

We also paid to have them butchered. While we've butchered our own in the past, there is a facility nearby that butchers, cleans, and bags the birds for $1.50 a bird. We drop them off by 7 am and we pick them up about 3 pm. If we were to butcher 46 birds, it would take the Farmer and I two days. If we had a chicken plucker, it would speed up the process significantly, however, right now it was just easier to choose to have them butchered by someone else.

One of the things I wanted to see was how long it would take these birds to mature to butchering size. We received these in the middle of April and they went to the butcher on Tuesday. That's 5 1/2 months. The birds are nice sized birds, around 3-4 pounds dressed.

Now this is where I think the cornish turn out to be a better deal. Jumbo Cornish Cross can be butchered at different stages depending upon what size you want. I've let some go up to 20 weeks and they weighed between 12 and 15 pounds. We pieced the birds and one breast was often enough for meals.

I'm more than grateful for the freezer full of meat. However, next year I think we will be switching back to the Jumbo Cornish.

Since I don't have any pictures of the chickens (I could go out and take a picture of my freezer but that's no fun), here's a couple of my two oldest out enjoying this beautiful weather we're having this week in Wisconsin. 

Last week, we were starting a fire in the woodstove at night and this week we're in t-shirts and flip flops! Gotta love fall! 



  1. We paid for someone to butcher this year too. That was worth it to me. Otherwise we only do 3 at a time to make it do-able. Picking up bagged chicken and throwing them into the freezer....ya....doing it again next year. We have stuck with the jumbo cornish cross or cornish cross too. Butchering that much faster is a plus for us. However, I am raising a few different breeds each year on the side to see how I like them. I love the Dark Cornish -- very tender meat. Of course they grow slower

  2. This is a really helpful post. I have not raised chickens in years and am considering doing so again, next year. Thanks for your insight, and thanks to Dr. Momi for hers too.