Dark Cornish

A large, dual-purpose breed
that can be raised for their eggs and their meat

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Dark Cornish chickens are a large, dual-purpose breed that can be raised for their eggs and their meat. While they don’t have an abundance of requirements, there are certain things that can make or break your success with the Dark Cornish chicken.

How to raise and care for Dark Cornish chicken will require plenty of coop space, room for them to forage, and quality feed and water that is changed daily. You will also need to keep an eye on overfeeding, since this breed is prone to obesity.

While you can use any type of coop for Dark Cornish chickens, it will need to have proper ventilation, roost space that isn’t too high off the ground, and nesting boxes. Giving the birds dust baths will also keep them entertained while preventing parasites, such as lice and fleas.

Along with the traditional chicken feed, you should also allow your birds to forage. Foraging helps to keep the Dark Cornish chickens occupied and free of stress, while also supplementing their diet.

Dark Cornish hens are also known to be broody, which can make collecting the eggs a little more difficult. While there is no way to actually break hens from going broody, there are some things you can do to discourage broodiness. The first is to keep picking the hen up from their nesting and gently placing her in the yard or run with the other hens. You can also reward the hen for getting off the nest with treats. You should also consider closing down the nest that the broody hen has decided to claim as her own.

Additional information


How Big Does Dark Cornish Chicken Grow?

Dark Cornish chickens have a big appetite, which is apparent when you look at the average size of this breed.

Dark Cornish chickens are a large bird that has an average weight of 8 to 10 1/2 pounds, depending on the sex. The females of the breed have large breasts, which make for a nice-sized table bird with tender and delicious meat.

What Is The Average Weight Of A Dark Cornish Chicken?

The Dark Cornish is a heavy chicken breed that makes an impressive table bird.

Dark Cornish roosters weigh an average of 10 1/2 pounds, while the hens can weigh between 7 1/2 and 8 pounds. Their feathers are various shades of brown and they have two lighter streaks that go down their backs. Their feet and legs are yellow in color, which stands out against their dark feathers.

Because Dark Cornish chickens are a heavier breed, they can experience issues associated with their weight, such as leg and foot problems and the potential to develop obesity. 

When Will A Dark Cornish Chicken Start Laying Eggs?

When you can expect your chickens to start laying eggs, it is important information that you should know. Even if you’re not wanting the birds for their eggs, this info can help determine if there is something wrong with your hens. 

Dark Cornish hens typically start laying eggs between 18 to 24 weeks of age, although this can vary a few weeks earlier or later. The Dark Cornish chicken isn’t a great layer and is bred for their meat instead of their eggs.

If your Dark Cornish hens are not producing any eggs and they are well past 24 weeks old, the bird may be stressed, not getting the right nutrition, or experiencing health problems. 

Will A Dark Cornish Chicken Lay White Or Brown Eggs?

Most people associate chicken eggs with the color white, thanks to the crisp color of eggs typically found in grocery stores. However, white shells are just one of the many colors of eggs that chickens can produce. 

Dark Cornish chickens lay medium to large brown eggs that can range from a creamy to light brown shade. They lay between 160 to 180 eggs a year, with most eggs being produced during the spring and summer seasons.

Do You Need A Same Breed Rooster To Get A Dark Cornish Chicken To Lay Eggs?

If you have never raised chickens before, you may assume that you are required to have a rooster in order to get your hens to start laying eggs. But are roosters really necessary to get eggs?

Dark Cornish hens will lay eggs throughout the year without a rooster being present. These eggs won’t be fertilized, however, which won’t be an issue if you are not planning on hatching the eggs. If you want to hatch the eggs, you will need a rooster for fertilization.

You can use any breed of rooster to mate with your hens, although the resulting chicks won’t be full-blooded. Instead, the chicks will be a mixture of the hen’s and the rooster’s breed. This is a fairly common occurrence in backyard flocks and there haven’t been any reported issues with cross-breeding chickens. 

What Is The Lifespan Of A Dark Cornish Chicken?

Chickens do not have an overly long lifespan, which can be a good or bad thing depending on why you are raising the birds. Let’s take a look at the average lifespan of the Dark Cornish breed.

Dark Cornish chickens have an average lifespan of about 5 to 8 years. To help ensure your chickens live for as long as possible, raise your flock in clean and healthy conditions. This includes regular coop cleaning and implementing preventive care.

Are Dark Cornish Chickens Friendly?

Each breed of chicken has its own temperament that you should consider when trying to determine which breeds to add to your flock. 

Dark Cornish chickens are not overly friendly birds, and they do not particularly like human contact. In fact, this breed usually tries to avoid humans. So if you’re looking for a chicken to keep as a pet, the Dark Cornish isn’t the right breed for you.

That doesn’t mean that the Dark Cornish chicken is aggressive or will attack you. They are just not a cuddly breed and are rather high-strung. 

How Many Eggs Can A Dark Cornish Chicken Lay A Day?

Dark Cornish chickens are a dual-purpose breed that can be raised for both their meat and their eggs. 

Dark Cornish hens lay about 3 eggs a week, although it isn’t uncommon for them to lay less than that amount. Expect no more than 180 eggs a year from this breed. These eggs are medium to large in size with a light brown color.

As you can see, the Dark Cornish chicken isn’t a heavy layer and are typically raised more for their meat then they are for the amount of eggs they produce. If you want to raise chickens for their eggs, there are other breeds that produce way more eggs. For example, Australorp chickens can lay 200 to 250 eggs a year, which is about 4 to 5 eggs every week.

When Will A Dark Cornish Chicken Stop Laying Eggs?

No matter what breed of chicken you are raising, they are bound to stop laying eggs at some point in their lives. Even if they don’t completely stop laying, the amount of eggs they produce will drastically decline as the years pass. 

Dark Cornish hens can stop laying eggs after they reach 3 or more years of age. Additionally, it is not uncommon for them to stop laying in the winter months when the days are shorter and the nights are longer.

While it is a natural process for hens to stop laying as many eggs as they get older, there are some things you can do to help ensure your hens keep laying eggs for as long as possible. The two most important things are to ensure your hens are healthy and stress-free. This means providing them with the vitamins and minerals they need to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and giving them enrichment activities to keep them happy. 

At What Age Is A Dark Cornish Chicken The Most Delicious?

Even though Dark Cornish chickens are considered a dual-purpose breed, they are typically raised for their meat rather than their eggs. While you can harvest the Dark Cornish at any age, there is a certain time when the meat is the most delicious. 

Butcher Dark Cornish chickens when they reach at least 18 weeks old. For the tenderest meat, harvest the birds before they reach 24 weeks old. Dark Cornish meat is considered “gourmet quality,” renowned for its amazing flavor and tenderness.

If you wait until the bird is over 24 weeks old, the meat can start to get a bit tough. This doesn’t mean it is inedible, but would work better for stews, soups, and other slow-cooking methods.

Best Housing Setup For A Dark Cornish Chicken

Before bringing Dark Cornish chickens home, make sure to have their house situated and ready for them. But what is the best housing setup for the Dark Cornish breed? 

Each Dark Cornish chicken needs at least 6 square feet of floor space in the coop, but the more room the better. Dark Cornish chickens should also have a low roost positioned about 3 feet high, as they can hurt their breast and feet when they jump off the roost.

Pentagon Pet is the owner of this article that was first published on April 30, 2023.

This breed loves to free-range, but you can use a run if you don’t feel comfortable allowing your birds to roam around your property. If you do use a run, make sure there is at least 10 square feet of run space per bird.

One nesting box for every four hens should be provided and these boxes should be 12×12 inches. Smaller breeds can get away with a smaller 8×8 nesting box, but the Dark Cornish hens need a bit bigger box. 


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