I took some photos of the troublemaker chickens this morning; some folks on the Backyard Chickens forum are going to have a peek and try to determine if these might be Cornish Crosses (broilers) rather than White Plymouth Rocks. And what would that mean, exactly, you ask?
Well, I’ll try to answer as best as I can. White Plymouth Rocks are considered “dual-purpose” birds – that is to say, they can be used both for egg-laying as well as being built heavily enough to be a worthwhile meat bird. The hens are expected to be good producers of eggs for at least a couple of years.
Chicken purchased in the grocery store, at the butcher, etc., are a breed known as Cornish Rock Crosses, or Cornish X, sometimes also just known as meat birds, or “meaties.” This breed has been created by crossing Cornish and Plymouth Rock chickens, in order to produce a fast-growing, muscly bird that can be harvested at around 8 weeks, and is the standard in the commercial poultry industry. The males grow faster and are broilers, and the females are sold as Cornish Game Hens. This breed is not designed for longevity, and in fact, will start to suffer from health problems due to their over-sized bodies, including their legs collapsing underneath them, and heart failure.
Our troublemakers have been growing much more quickly than the rest of the birds. It is possible that this is simply a trait of Rocks (which explains why they are used to create the Cornish X), but I am curious. So I’ll share what I find out from the folks over on BYC. At any rate, here they are:
Whatever they are breed-wise, they act like starving vampires, temperament-wise. I was fortunate this morning – no blood drawn while interacting with them. But they are still behaving in a belligerent manner, totally unlike the rest of our flock. Someone over on BYC made the comment that eating them is probably going to be fairly cathartic, and I’m leaning toward agreeing with that. Given the opportunity, I’m fairly certain this bunch would make a meal out of me!