Well the first time I bought about a dozen of them, along with a couple other breeds, I really thought mistakenly that I got Plymouth Rocks. So when they all started to die off in about 8 weeks, I went back in the store and said what’s up? It was a bit humorous in that two of the people that worked there had also got them and the same thing had happen. This is when we found out what they were selling was Cornish x Rocks that is the commercial broiler breed that 60 years ago had been crossed to produce a breed that has been since manipulated as such that they grow like un-naturally FAST and if you don’t slaughter in 4 weeks give or take, BHAAMM! …they begin falling over dead and which also means chances are slim to none that you going to be able to let a few of your broiler breed hens go to brood a few eggs to hatch out the next freezer full.
So that was three years ago when I bought the first clutch of peeps by mistake and when the next year rolled around and I was in the old tractor/farm store looking at da peeps… I thought… Dang! I am going to get some more and try to see if I can get them to live, wander, eat bugs and worms, crow, do all them things chickens were created to do. So another dozen and at the same time a few dozen Reds to add to the flock.
First it was amazing to watch the difference in growth rates between the two breeds. I mean in four week those cornishxrock frankenchickens were full grown and the the Rhode Island Reds were like still peeps just getting feathers and losing pin feathers. Then as time went on, as before, one by one again just seem to fall over and die. Like as if they were growing just too big too fast to support life. It was like mid to late summer and they all had fell over except for ONE! That ONE IS BaBo. Some how she is now around two years and something of a survivalist to boot.
As an example, about two months ago, we had to go into town for the day. It was late afternoon before we made it back. We could tell as we were coming up the lane something was wrong in that our chickens were shattered in trees and brush and chacking up a storm! As we were getting out of the car, we see what! There down by the burn circle, a fox on top of BaBo, chewing away! We all shouted out loudly as we advanced on the fox and so off runs the fox with still a mouth full of feathers. It was a bit traumatic as we gathered up BaBo and carried her in the house. Somehow she was still alive! So we set up a little chicken rehab hospital in the dining room and figured we’d go day by day. It was about a month of days and ole’ Babo was wanting to be back out in the hen house and so after all of that, back out she was.
For the last two days, BaBo has laid two eggs! I’m not sure I should even call them chicken eggs. They are about the size of a goose egg, maybe just a bit larger.
All I can tell ya is that back when I bought that book “Raising Poultry the Modern Way”, oh back in the mid to late nineteen seventies, I would of never thought I would be today explaining how a chicken grows too fast to not live long enough to produce eggs to continue it’s species, let alone if by some odd chance it did, the egg would be off the SCALE!