There are several issues of contention here;
- Frankenchickens as they are often called, are hybrids. This means that I can't take two Cornish crosses and mate them to produce a new CX. Decades of breeding have made this chicken and I can't just take two other breeds to make this chicken either. So, if I want to raise meat chickens I have to buy new chicks every time.
- They can be disturbingly non-chickeny. They've been bred to grow fast (8 weeks to butcher) so all they do is sit in front of their food bowls and eat.
- Fast growth has a downside. Chickens can die of heart failure before you get a chance to butcher them yourself. They also suffer from leg issues which result in limping, leg dragging birds.
- Expense. They are in and out in 8 weeks. The feed to meat ratio is higher than for heritage birds which can take 6+ months to reach a decent size. At the butcher date the heritage bird is still going to be smaller than an 8 week old CX.
- Customer demand. People have a bit of a thing for big boobs. Your grocery store chicken is a CX and they have giant breasts. Heritage birds make up for their A cups with larger thighs. CX are also going to be more tender because they are so young.
Here are some pics in black and white because I suck at taking photos with the heat lamp on.
Eventually we're hoping to breed a decent sized dual purpose bird (Orpingtons). For now we'll give Frankenchicken a try.