Butchering a Cornish Cross Hen
I wouldn’t normally recommend keeping a Cornish X meat bird past the normal butcher age of 6 to 8 weeks. If you can believe it, the hen on the left was a runt and wasn’t large enough to butcher at that age. I kept her for about one and a half years and she laid quite a few eggs for me. I hoped to hatch some of them out, but didn’t have any success with that experiment. Since she ate a lot more feed than normal laying hens and stopped laying eggs this fall, I decided to butcher her along with some other culled hens.
Problems with Keeping a Cornish X
Keeping these meat birds for longer than 8 weeks include problems with their legs and feet, heart problems, and excess fatty tissue. This hen didn’t seem to have heart issues, but she always walked like it was an effort and you can see the sore pads on her feet.
I’m happy that this hen was able to live to the ripe old age of one and a half, and I’m happy to have a nice pot of chicken soup on the woodstove. But I think it was a good decision to cull her this fall.
Have you ever kept a Cornish Rock or Cornish X (both the same) for longer than the normal butcher age? Did it have health problems?