This was "Mr Meat" the Dark Cornish Rooster we first crossed over Buckeye Hens
We wanted a new type of meat chicken, although the concept isn't new and many before us have performed the same cross.
The typical "Cornish X" meat chickens found in most places where you can buy chicks, grow at an astronomical rate, and if not processed in the 6-8 weeks, they will often die. Their fast growth rates lend to leg injuries and heart attacks which will not let them grow to adulthood or reproduce. For some farms this is great and also what is seen in the grocery stores.
Our goal was to create a meat chicken that grew at an accelerated rate, albeit not as fast as the commercial model, have a good feed to meat ratio, and could live to adulthood and reproduce if required. We felt that the American Buckeye attributes (in it their conception in the late 19th century actually had some Cornish in them) and then taking the big meaty attributes from the modern version of the Dark Cornish putting them together in one chicken, would give us the result we were striving for.
Our first year, we crossed a Dark Cornish Rooster over several buckeye hens. This produced the rooster we were looking for. At the same time we had a buckeye rooster over Dark Cornish hens. This produced offspring where we kept the females but felt like the males were not the confirmation we were striving for.
The second year of pairing the offspring we were very pleased of the results as well as had a genetic hiccup happen; we hatched a pure white chick that grew into a rooster that had characteristics of both parent stock. hatched that year as well was a molted type hen.
A new vision of what we wanted for our goals had now been established. We wanted to create a meat breed that could live until adult hood and reproduce, be a decent egg layer, the offspring being a relatively fast grower with the feed to meat ratio, and now, have attractive looking breeding stock as well.
Although they do not breed true to the mottled color, meaning not 100% of the chicks hatched are mottled, a good percentage are. This falls back to dominant and recessive color genes that can be expressed in a Punnett Square Chart, but that is for another conversation.
We are looking forward to this spring's hatches to see what all the outcomes will be. This is an ongoing project that we willing be doing for some time to come.
We do sell a limited number of these chicks annually, people have expressed an interest in them for their own meat bird production or for filling the needs of their own freezers.
These are just some Buckeye hens for reference, not the ones used in the original mating
Using the first mottled hen, we saw a pure white chick hatch, and grew into this fine hybrid rooster (he's in molt, over look the feather loss), and using this rooster we were able to produce additional mottled hens as well as our first mottled rooster. He was used in the 2016 breeding season and will be used again in the 2017 season.
Mondungus was the result we were looking for as our first Buckeye/Cornish Hybrid that we kept as a breeder from the first Dark Cornish rooster and Buckeye Hen matings.
These pullets were part of the 2016 hatch cycle and are excited to see how their offspring not only look in 2017, but also how fast they develop as a meat producer.
A friend of mine gifted me with White Cornish. Using a hen from this quad, we were able to infuse new blood but hopefully also establish a white-dominant gene that will be blended in what is known as a co-dominant gene, to express a mottled colored more than average when breeding offspring together in a more uniform pattern of mottled chicks vs non-mottled chicks..
These juveniles were the result of Mondungus mated back to his 1/2 sisters, resulting our first mottled colored pullet.
This is our first mottled rooster; almost spangled. Up until this point we speculated the mottling was going to be sex-linked, displaying on the hens only. We were excited to see this guy grow into a fine rooster who will be used in our 2017 breeding program.