Cornish Chicken Breed: Eggs, Size, Lifespan, Recognized Varieties

Do you want to know all about Cornish chicken? It is a popular breed also known as Cornish Game or Indian Game. If you are looking for a reliable, productive chicken, you can raise this breed.

In a few countries, people call this breed Indian Game chicken. Cornish chicken may be the perfect bird for you! This breed has a long and exciting history dating back to the 1500s. 

They are known for their excellent meat production and average egg laying. This article will discuss all aspects of the Cornish chicken, like history, color, size, eggs, temperament, varieties, and more. 

We will also provide a care guide to help you get started with raising this fantastic bird.

History and Origin of Cornish Chicken

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A Cornish hen foraging

Cornish chickens are a heritage breed that originated in Cornwall, England. They were first bred in the 1500s by Sir Francis Drake – the famous explorer and privateer.

The Cornish chicken was introduced in America in early 1843 and quickly became one of the most popular breeds. 

The American Poultry Association recognized the Cornish chicken as a standard breed in 1893. 

The Cornish chicken is originally a meat production fowl, but they have also become popular as laying hens. These birds are known for their hardiness, productivity, and beauty.

Cornish Chicken Color Varieties

There are several color varieties of Cornish chickens, including Dark, White, White Laced, Red, Buff. 

These colors are quite beautiful and make for an attractive addition to any flock. 

Additionally, the males and females of each color look pretty different. The males are typically larger than the females and have more pronounced features.

The Lifespan of Cornish Chickens

A healthy Cornish Chicken has a lifespan of about 5-8 years. This is a reasonable life expectancy for a laying and meat purpose hen. However, the lifespan is attributed to their hardy constitution and robust health.

Cornish Chicken Egg Size, Count, and Egg Color

The eggs of a Cornish chicken lay small size eggs and more eggs than other meat chickens. Usually, they lay around 160 brown colored eggs per year.

Also read: List of chickens that lay colored eggs

Cornish Chicken Temperament and Behavior

cornish chicken molting, cornish rooster, fighting, crnish chicken standing
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A Cornish chicken

Cornish chicken or The Indian Game is primarily calm and docile temperament. But the hens have the top pecking order, and the roosters have a friendly nature.

They do not require a lot of space. Usually, they need 2-3 feet per bird. Caring is easy, but they are not suitable pets. 

If we talk about broodiness, Cornish moms love to sit on their eggs and hatch them. Mostly they make good moms. You may see very little no broody mothers in some genes only.

Cornish chicken cannot perform well in too much cold. They are one of the best chicken breeds for warm climates.

Most of the Cornish chickens have good resistance against various poultry diseases. But most of the chicken raisers say they are prone to parasite infestation. Use a good chicken dewormer.

Cornish Chicken Appearance

The Cornish chicken is a medium-sized bird with a stocky build and broad chest. They have short legs and small heads.

Their feathers are mostly white, but they also come in Dark, White Laced, Red, Buff varieties. 

The males are typically bigger than the females and have more pronounced features. Additionally, the males and females of each color look quite different.


Cornish chickens are a very adaptable breed and can thrive in various climates. They do well in cold and warm climates, making them a good choice for people living in diverse regions. 

These birds require enough space to exercise, but they are not as fussy about their living conditions as other breeds.

The hens become broody quickly and are good mothers. However, their feathers are not sufficient, or rather enough to cover many eggs. 

Runs need to be well sheltered with low perches and large enough pop-holes to accommodate their short legs, unique body shape, and lack of natural insulation. 

Taking all these into consideration, cornish chicken is ideal for experienced keepers.


The average size of a Cornish chicken is about 4 lbs. However, the roosters can weigh up to 8 lbs, and the hens can weigh 6 lbs. This makes them a good choice for people who want a giant bird that can provide plenty of meat.

Characteristics of Cornish Chicken

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Below you can read about a few characteristics of Cornish Game chicken:

  • They have an attractive and well-muscled body that is it for game fowl.
  • Their legs are thick and widely spaced.
  • They go broody, but their short feathers make it difficult to cover their eggs.
  • Cornish hens are protective of their chicks and will fight off any intruders.
  • They are a calm breed but hard to make pets.
  • The hens lay small eggs that come in brown colors.
  • Their lifespan is about 5-8 years.

Benefits of Raising Cornish Chickens

There are many benefits to raising Cornish chickens, including:

1. They are a hardy breed resistant to diseases: Cornish chickens are very hardy and resistant to disease. This makes them a good choice for people who live in areas that have challenging climates or who are inexperienced chicken keepers. But they are a little bit prone to lice, mites, and fleas infestation.

2. These chickens also require minimal care, making them an easy breed to raise: They are not as aggressive as other breeds, so they become great pets after training. The hens are excellent mothers and are very protective of their chicks.

3. The chickens are a great source of meat: Cornish chickens are an excellent source of meat. They have a lot of muscle and are very well-balanced birds. This makes them the perfect choice for people who want to raise their meat birds.

4. Good for foragers: Cornish chickens are good foragers. They will eat various things, including insects, worms, and seeds. This makes them a good choice for people who want to raise chickens to help control pests in their yard or garden.

5. They are calm and friendly: The Cornish chicken is a good choice if you want a friendly chicken breed. They are calm and docile, making them easy to handle. 

But they are not like commands like pet chickens and afraid of holding someone else.

Problems in Raising Cornish Chickens

Like all breeds of chickens, Cornish chickens have their share of problems. Some potential issues include:

They are not well adapted to cold weather and cannot perform well in too much cold. Cornish chickens are excellent chickens for warm climates.

They are prone to parasites, so good hygiene is essential. You need regular cleaning of the chicken coop to keep them healthy.

Their feathers are not sufficient, or rather enough to cover many eggs. Runs need to be well sheltered with low perches and large enough pop-holes to accommodate their short legs, unique body shape, and lack of natural insulation. 

Cornish Chicken Feed

When it comes to food, Cornish chickens are not fussy. They will eat various things, including insects, worms, and seeds.

However, they do best when they have access to a good quality poultry feed high in protein. Additionally, they should have access to clean water at all times.

Here is the list of 100+ best chicken treats

Cornish Chicken Housing

When it comes to housing, Cornish chickens need a place that is well protected from the weather and has plenty of room to move around. 

Also, the perches should be low to the ground, as their short legs make it difficult for them to walk on high perches. The pop-holes should also be large enough for them to fit through comfortably.

Population, Distribution, and Habitat

Cornish chickens are very popular worldwide. They are found in many different countries and are well-adapted to various climates. 

They prefer to live in open areas where they have plenty of room to run and exercise. However, they can also do well in confined spaces as long as enough ventilation

These chickens can be crossbred with many other breeds, so there is a lot of variability in their populations.

Health Issues

Cornish chickens are a hardy breed that is resistant to disease and parasites. However, they can still get sick. Some common health problems include:

Leg problems such as bumblefoot: This condition affects the feet of chickens and can cause them to limp or become disabled.

Impacted crops are another problem that can affect Cornish chickens: This is a condition in which the chicken’s crop becomes blocked and cannot eat or drink.

Pneumonia is a severe illness that can affect both young chicks and adult chickens: It is caused by various bacteria and can be fatal if not treated.

You can also notice a pouch-like structure on the underside of a hen’s neck: This enlarged salivary gland is usually nothing to worry about. However, you should call a vet to drain it if it becomes swollen or painful.

Cornish Chicken Care Guide

If you are thinking of raising Cornish chickens, there are a few things you need to know to provide them with the best care possible. Some tips include:

  • Make sure they have plenty of room to run and exercise. They need at least ten square feet per bird.
  • Provide them with a shelter that is weather-proof and has adequate ventilation.
  • Make sure they have a source of fresh water at all times.
  • Feed them a high-quality diet that is rich in protein.
  • Keep their environment clean and free of parasites.
  • Quarantine all the new birds for a month: If you observe any signs of illness or disease in your flock, isolate the sick bird and contact a veterinarian.
  • A rooster is necessary for breeding purposes. If you do not have one, you can purchase fertile eggs from a hatchery and incubate them yourself.
  • Nutrition is vital for growing Cornish chickens. They should have a high in protein and low in carbohydrates diet.
  • Grit should be available at all times so the chickens can digest their food correctly.
  • Cornish chicken requires plenty of water. Make sure they always have access to a clean source of water.
  • The hens can be difficult to breed. If you are having trouble getting them to lay eggs, try adding calcium supplements to their diet.
  • Chickens will eat almost anything, so make sure they have a variety of foods available to them at all times.
  • If you live in a cold climate, make sure the chickens have plenty of insulation to keep them warm. Cornish chicken does not tolerate excessive cold.
  • Ensure you are not raising your chicken on sloped surfaces covered with wet litter. This is dangerous because it increases the chances of the chickens slipping and injuring themselves. For this use good quality chicken bedding.
  • If you are raising your chickens in a warm climate, ensure they have plenty of ventilation to keep them cool.
  • Cornish chickens are very susceptible to parasites, so maintain good hygiene practices.
  • It is crucial to regulate the temperatures when hatching your chicks. A temperature range of 95-98 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal.
  • Chicks should be kept in a warm, draft-free area until they are fully feathered.
  • Common diseases that can affect Cornish chickens include Marek’s Disease, Newcastle Disease, Avian Influenza, and Gumboro Disease. 
  • Complete immunization of flocks is most essential to avoid fatal diseases. If you notice any signs of illness in your flock, contact a veterinarian immediately.

Cornish Hen vs Rooster

There is a lot of confusion about the difference between Cornish hens and roosters. Here are some key points to help you distinguish between the two:

  • Hens lay eggs while roosters do not.
  • The male Cornish chickens are larger than hens and have a more muscular build.
  • Cornish Roosters have larger combs and wattles than hens.
  • The Cornish hens have a perfect U-shaped curve body, but the roosters have no perfect Curve shape.
  • Hens are typically docile, while roosters can be aggressive to unknown persons.
  • Cornish Roosters crow to announce the dawn of each new day while hens do not crow.
  • Hens can live for up to 8 years, while roosters typically only live for 5-6 years.

So, now that you know the difference between a Cornish hen and a rooster, which one should you choose for your flock? If you are primarily interested in eggs, then a hen is the best choice. 

But this breed is used explicitly for meat purposes, and the eggs are incubated further breeding

However, if you want a more aggressive bird and can protect your flock from predators, then a rooster would be a better option. Remember, a rooster is necessary for breeding purposes, so if you are interested in raising chicks, you need to have one in your flock.


Cornish chickens are an excellent choice for backyard farmers. They are easy to care for and raised in medium to large space coops. 

This chicken breed suits your backyard farm if you live in warm climate areas. This is a fast-growing meat chicken, so this is one of the best if you want to add a few table chickens.

Cornish chickens make a good mother and go for brooding, but their body structure does not provide adequate heat to eggs and chicks. It will be better if you use a good-quality incubator to hatch their eggs.

I hope this guide helped you to understand the Cornish chicken breed.

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