So This is where one would post a response to your article comparing various ways of raising chickens?
This is nit-picky... but you say that Salatin's broiler pens as described in his book (Presumably _Pastured Poultry Profits) are 10x20 and they are actually 10x12.
I don't think it's fair to say that Cornish cross aren't interested in bugs. They are less intelligent and have more trouble catching them, and they are also very interested in the feed trough, but they definitely catch bugs.
I got a 100% survival rate with a batch of 53 Cornish X one year. I *think* that what happened is this... I got the chicks from a different hatchery than I usually did and they were just listed as "cornish cross" not "jumbo cornish cross" which is what I normally get, so I think the genetics vary significantly from one hatchery to another. They took forever to gain weight though, and I was experimenting with using squash as part of their fermented feed. I used a third hatchery this spring and just slaughtered birds that dressed out in the 6-8lb range. No heart attacks or leg problems, but lots of chicks that just keeled over during the first 10 days or so.
The big birds appeal to me because you get a lot more meat per bird slaughtered, and slaughtering yourself is a lot of work and I'm doing it with an infant on my back now... so... BUT I've noticed that the big birds get really dirty, which is not what Salatin describes, and your article made me think I probably need to move them more often and/or not grow them out as big.
Which leads me to another point... You don't distinguish between vegetation eaten and vegetation killed. I'm not trying to clear ground with my Salatin-style broiler pens, but I do notice that the birds trample or burry what they don't eat, and I'm not sure why they would eat toxic plants if their feeders were kept full?
I hope this doesn't put me in the "bashing" category for feedback. I really appreciated your ability to weigh pros and cons, and thought it was over-all a great article. I'm working on establishing a paddock system for my pullets, and establishing lots of food plants for them