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when to butcher, but still get eggs

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

I am new to this.  I want the eggs, but is it to late to butcher after the hens stop laying.  It seems if most butcher in 4-6 weeks they haven't started laying at that time .  I guess I just thought I would butcher the hens after they stopped laying in a year or so.  What's the best way to do this?

post #2 of 4

Do you have chickens already? If so what kind are they? 

 

There are 3 categories of chickens. Meat types, egg types and dual purpose. Meat types include Cornish X (the kind you find in the grocery store), and slower growing red and black broilers. They produce lots of meat very quickly, and are poor egg layers. Cornish X are usually butchered around 8 weeks of age, the slower growing ones around 12 weeks. Egg types include Leghorns and the hybrid egg layers (red/black sex links, California Greys, etc). They produce a high volume of eggs, and have very little meat. Dual purpose includes everything in between. Rocks, Orpingtons, Austrolorps, etc. They produce a good amount of eggs and still have a reasonable amount of meat. Many butcher the spent hens around 2-3 years of age. It is certainly possible to eat older hens.

 

What kind of chicken you get will depend on when the best butchering age will be. If you get meat birds then you would probably want to butcher long before you would get any eggs. Get heavy duty egg layers if you want lots of eggs and aren't interested in a meaty carcass. A dual purpose type will be a middle of the road decision.

 

An important note is that anything other than a meat bird will be much different in taste, texture and size than the grocery store birds. They will require long, slow cooking methods.So if you want the beefy, tender type stick to Cornish X or one of the alternatives, and have a separate layer flock.

post #3 of 4
What kind of chickens do you have? Meat birds don't usually live long enough to lay eggs, and they are usually butchered at six to eight weeks. Typically layer hens are butchered at two or three years old when their production slows down and used for stew or soup.

It's pretty simple...having chickens is work, but lots of fun.

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It's pretty simple...having chickens is work, but lots of fun.

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post #4 of 4

For the table in a "dual purpose" breed you are probably going to want to butcher at like 20-22weeks when they have barely begun laying and if you let them go a couple years to get eggs they are probably going to be soup/crockpot material.

 

Basically regular table meat and eggs are not reasonable to expect from the same bird, sure you can eat old layers BUT like I said it will be soup or crockpot material not a roaster or fryer.

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