How Much Does a Cornish Game Hen Cost?

Written by: Staff

A Cornish game hen, sometimes known as a Cornish hen, Rock Cornish hen, Rock Cornish or simply Poussin, is a type of young domestic crossbreed chicken which is sold as a whole.  It comes from a cross between white rock chicken breeds and the Cornish game.

cornish game hen by Charkrem, on Flickr
cornish game hen” (CC BY 2.0) by Charkrem

How much does a fresh Cornish game hen cost?

On average, you can typically purchase a Cornish Game hen for between $2.50 and $5 per pound.  This cost will depend on where you purchase it, the size of the hen and if a promotion is being held.

At Walmart, a twin pack of Tyson Cornish game hens retails for about $7.50.  These Cornish hens, in particular, are all natural, no hormones or artificial ingredients are added.  Each individual Cornish hen will be bagged separately in order to protect from frosting or freezer burn.

Tips to know:

Most Cornish game hens sold in grocery stores are 100 percent natural, have no hormones administered, zero trans fat, and no artificial ingredients.

The Cornish Game hen is dark blue-green in color, with brown patterning on the hens.  Its body-shape rather differs from that of the other chickens. Both the males and females possess broad muscular breasts and short legs.

A Cornish game hen is a poultry breed which has not grown to its full maturity.  It comes from the cross between Cornish game and the white rock chicken breeds.  The Cornish hen originated from Cornwall in England, but the breed gained fame only after it got established in the United States.

Despite the name, a Cornish Game hen is not a ‘game bird’ or hunted, but it has been a domestic breed for several hundred years.  They do not have a gamey taste, but most people consider the breed to have a lighter flavor compared to more mature chickens.  They are not necessarily hens since both male and female poultry are served.

The bird is typically sold whole and cooked by roasting.

Due to its small size, a Cornish game hen does take less time to prepare, normally less than an hour.  The cooks should still observe certain precautions pertaining to appropriate temperatures for chicken and ensure that the meat attains a solid 160F.

While they are known as a hen, they could be either male or female.

As per the USDA, a Cornish game hen is defined as a chicken between one to two pounds in weight, slaughtered at fewer than five weeks of age and is of either sex.

The different types of Cornish Hens

Cornish Hens

Cornish chickens are a large English breed with white, black or red feathers. They are a heritage breed, meaning they’ve been bred for many years in a particular location with traits conducive to thriving in that environment. They are now raised by backyard enthusiasts and small farms. Cornish chickens are poor egg-layers and are bred for meat. A Cornish hen is female and can be any size.

Commercial Cornish Hens

Because Cornish chickens take a long time to mature, commercial chicken farmers raise rock Cornish hens, which are a cross between Plymouth Rock chickens and Cornish chickens. They are sold in grocery stores as “Cornish hens.” They have white feathers, grow very fast and require less feed to reach maturity than most breeds. They are prone to health problems such as heart attacks and skeletal deformities due to their rapid growth. Grocery-store Cornish hens can be male or female and weigh 2 to 5 pounds.

Cornish Game Hens

True Cornish game hens are young female Cornish chickens weighing about two pounds. Grocery-store Cornish game hens are rock Cornish cross hens of the same size. They are butchered at four to five weeks of age.

Other Types of Chicken

A poussin, or “spring chicken,” is a three- or four-week-old chicken weighing 16 to 24 ounces. They are very tender and popular in Europe. A capon is a large castrated rooster that weighs 6 to 10 pounds, butchered at about 6 months of age. They have large breasts and more fat than most chickens, making them meaty and flavorful.

How can I save money?

Like most meats, be on the lookout for special sales or even coupons from your local grocery store.

Buying in bulk at Sam’s Club or even Costco can bring the costs down.  A six-pack, for example, at Sam’s Club, retails for about $16, which is about 20 percent when compared to buying a twin pack.

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