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Breeds of Livestock, Department of Animal Science

Poultry Breeds - Cornish Chickens

Poultry Breeds - Cornish Chickens


Origin: The Cornish were developed in the shire (county) of Cornwall, England where the breed was known as "Indian Game". They show the obvious influence of Malay and other oriental blood. They were prized for their large proportion of white meat and its fine texture. The breed was recognized by the APA in 1893.

Characteristics: The Cornish has a broad, well muscled body. Its legs are of large diameter and widely spaced. The large deep set eyes, projecting brows and strong, slightly curved beak give the Cornish a rather cruel expression. Cornish males are often pugnacious and the chicks tend to be more cannibalistic than some breeds. Good Cornish are unique and impressive birds to view. The feathers are short and held closely to the body. Cornish need adequate protection during very cold weather as their feathers offer less insulation than can be found on most other chickens. Because of their short feathers and wide compact bodies, Cornish are deceptively heavy. Due to their shape, good Cornish often experience poor fertility and artificial mating is suggested. Cornish are movers and need space to exercise and develop their muscles. The old males get stiff in their legs if they do not receive sufficient exercise. The females normally go broody but because of their very minimal feathers can cover relatively fewer eggs. They are very protective mothers but are almost too active to be good brood hens. Their skin and shank color is yellow.

Standard Weights: Cock: 10 ½ lbs; Hen: 8 lbs; Cockerel: 8 ½ lbs; Pullet: 6 ½ lbs


  • Dark

  • White

  • White Laced Red

  • Buff

Egg Shell Color: Pale brown and medium brown

Use: Developed as the ultimate meat bird, the Cornish has contributed its genes to build the vast broiler industry of the world, Its muscle development and arrangement give excellent carcass shape.




Chicken Breeds and Varieties (A2880), John L. Skinner, University of Wisconsin-Madison

"Cornish Chicken." The Livestock Conservancy. The Livestock Conservancy, n.d. Web. 23 June 2015.

Lewis, Celia. "Breed Profiles: Indian Game/ Cornish Game Hen." The Illustrated Guide to Chickens: How to Choose Them, How to Keep Them. New York: Skyhorse Pub., 2011. 94-95. Print.


    Mary Chapman, Michigan.




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