Cornish, originally known as Indian Game, were developed in Cornwall, England in the 1800s by Sir Walter Raleigh Gilbert from the Aseel, Old English Game, and Malay.  The Dark Cornish was admitted to the Standard in 1893, and the White Cornish, developed from a cross between White Malay and Dark Cornish, was admitted to the Standard in 1898.

Qualities of the Dark Cornish

If you are looking for a chicken breed that will produce a good amount of meat and hens that will raise their young, consider the Dark Cornish.

  • Broodiness – Dark Cornish Hens have a tendency to go broody. They make good setters and protective mothers.
  • Meat – Cornish have thick, compact bodies and broad, deep breasts. Males grow to about 10 1/2 pounds, and females, 8 pounds. Both the males and females are similar in body shape.
  • Breeding – The most common meat birds raised in the U.S. are hybrids obtained by crossing White Cornish with White Rocks to produce chickens such as the Cornish X Rock.  Cornish X Rock hybrids are very specialized and not something you would likely be able to produce in a backyard flock by your own breeding, but if you are interested in developing a backyard meat bird hybrid, a cross with Dark Cornish or White Cornish birds would be a good place to start experimenting.

Cornish hens lay brown eggs.  If you are mainly interested in raising chickens for eggs, particularly brown eggs, other breeds that would be better choices than the Cornish are Rhode Island Reds, New Hampshire Reds, Red Stars, and Black Stars.

Cornish forage well and are able to take care of themselves well, but they do require a significant amount of feed in addition to what they can obtain from forage.  They are usually easily handled, but the roosters can be aggressive.

Physical Appearance

  • Plumage The Cornish has hard, close fitting feathers with a lustrous appearance that make it an attractive show bird.  Because of the tight fitting plumage, Cornish are often larger than they appear at first when compared with  other breeds.
  • Comb – Cornish have a pea comb.
  • Body – Cornish have a broad, deep breast, muscular legs, and a wide stance.  This gives them a distinctive appearance.

Videos of Dark Cornish Baby Chicks


Availability on Our Website

Cornish are available in both standard and bantam sizes.  To check their availability our website, visit the link below: