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Dual Purpose Chickens. I want eggs and meat, when should I butcher?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

Hi... I have some dual purpose chickens and I want both eggs and meat from them, but I hear that if you kill chickens after they're too old you get bad meat?? How old is too old or better yet, when should I kill them for meat? They haven't started laying yet so they're still pretty young but look like adults.... and what does "bad meat" mean? tough? stringy? taste bad?

I had this idea to let them lay eggs for a few years and then butcher some of them for meat... or something to that extent. hu

my older chickens are: three Easter Eggers, two Barred Rocks, and a Buff Orpington (I also have a cochin but I dont think Cochins are meant to be eaten right?)... any meat info on these birds would be great! big_smile

6 little feathered dinosaurs roam my yard... 2 Delaware, 2 Barred Rock, and 2 Red Laced Blue Wyandottes.
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6 little feathered dinosaurs roam my yard... 2 Delaware, 2 Barred Rock, and 2 Red Laced Blue Wyandottes.
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post #2 of 24

Dual purpose is butchered around 18 weeks. Bad meat means tough, stringy, or rotted. If you let them lay first they can still be butchered for meat, just don't expect typical grocery store meat from an older bird. Roosters get tougher than hens.

Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called Sons of God. Matthew 5:9
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Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called Sons of God. Matthew 5:9
http://www.swagbucks.com/refer/cindiloohoo HERE Earn free stuff with me
I'm a blood bought bible taught born again child of God!
If we threw all of our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd quickly grab ours back
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post #3 of 24

I think that's what most people do (who are keeping chickens for production as opposed to pets) - let them lay for 2 or maybe 3 years, after which their productivity starts dropping off, and then butcher them to get "stewing hens" and get new layers to replenish the flock. That's what I'll eventually be doing. I hear they aren't bad, they just need to be cooked longer. Older birds are better for stews, chicken and dumplings, chicken salad... that sort of thing. I hear they still taste great. Now I'm hungry...

Sustainable food blogger at Change.org
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Sustainable food blogger at Change.org
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post #4 of 24

Rocks and Orps are listed as Duel Purpose. 
Ameraucanas are NOT, layer only, due to size I think. *shrug*

Bad meat wise, mostly I think it's a texture thing, not taste so much.
IE 'old' hens... 2+ are sometimes sold as Soup Chickens... not roasters/fryers.

As to when to cull, I'm still researching those bits.
Cornish X (the Uber Meat Bird) is super early, freaky little things.
The Rangers are the next ones, I think appx 12 weeks for those to be decent size.
So, figure at LEAST that long for any other standard size bird... but that's just a guess.

4 GSL 3 Yappy Dogs 2 Messy Kids & a Hubby I Love To Pieces.
Pineapple is the fruit of hospitality.  Beans, while musical, are not. 
Please join me in my One A Month NY Resolution http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=434518
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4 GSL 3 Yappy Dogs 2 Messy Kids & a Hubby I Love To Pieces.
Pineapple is the fruit of hospitality.  Beans, while musical, are not. 
Please join me in my One A Month NY Resolution http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=434518
I am looking for Saphira Hatching Eggs, if you have any please PM me.
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post #5 of 24

Well, Pureupto99per, if you wait a few years those hens will be so tough all you'll have is soup...hmm
Meat birds are usually butchered before they are a year old - so that is a good way to handle culls or extra birds  - and then the best are bred and/or produce eggs.
I love my Orpingtons & Wyandottes for dual-purpose, but havent butchered any (yet!).  They are nice, quiet birds; hardy; and lay well.  love

One crazy lady, the best husband in the world, 4 Orpington/WyandotteX's, 11 Orpingtons, 4 cats, 1 cow, 2 horses, 2 dogs, 3 sons, and 6 grandkids!
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One crazy lady, the best husband in the world, 4 Orpington/WyandotteX's, 11 Orpingtons, 4 cats, 1 cow, 2 horses, 2 dogs, 3 sons, and 6 grandkids!
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post #6 of 24

In my opinion, bad meat means tough. The older a bird gets, the tougher the meat gets. I did a one year old rooster this summer becuase he became a mean old sucker and he was only fit for dog food. No real meat on him and the color of the meat was dark, suggesting no fat on him. Fat provides juices to cook in and helps keep the meat moist and tender. I had 18 week old Barred Rock rooster for Thanksgiving and it was super tender. So to sumerise, older age = tougher meat.

It started with one dog. A Golden Retriever.  Now we have six Golden's and Popcorn is our pride and joy. Next, we got chickens, then bunnies. Now we have a crazy number of chickens that is growing by the day and includes Heritage RIR'S, Delawares and BBS Orps.
http://whatcamefirstfarm.farming.officelive.com/default.aspx http://delawarepoultryclub.org/index.html
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It started with one dog. A Golden Retriever.  Now we have six Golden's and Popcorn is our pride and joy. Next, we got chickens, then bunnies. Now we have a crazy number of chickens that is growing by the day and includes Heritage RIR'S, Delawares and BBS Orps.
http://whatcamefirstfarm.farming.officelive.com/default.aspx http://delawarepoultryclub.org/index.html
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post #7 of 24

what they said.
Ideal time to butcher is around 18 weeks old for optimal tenderness and weight. However you can butcher when they're older, they'd just be better for crockpots/soup or something to that sort. The meat will be much too tuff for roasting or anything like that. 
Don't let that discourage you though, it's still good meat just not as many cooking options unless you want to chew a looooong time. smile

Wonderful DH, 1 blue heeler, 5 horses, mixed flock of egg layers, BCM, Bourbon red turkeys, mixed flock of cayuga and runner ducks
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Wonderful DH, 1 blue heeler, 5 horses, mixed flock of egg layers, BCM, Bourbon red turkeys, mixed flock of cayuga and runner ducks
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post #8 of 24

Old hens and roosters of any age make great soup. That's about all they are good for as far as eating. And you won't get as much meat as you would from a meat type bird or what you buy in the grocery store. And there's nothing wrong with eating that Cochin, you can eat any chicken, even if it's not bred specifically for eating. If you want birds for baking/frying etc, younger birds are best.

Currently chicken-less, hoping to get a fresh start soon.
My wish-list: Old English Game Bantams, American Game, D'uccles, Japanese Bantams, Bantam Cornish, Large Fowl Cornish, Lakenvelders, Welsummers, Kraienkoppen, Andalusians, Speckled Sussex, Cubalaya, Sumatra, Easter Egger (large and bantam), Orpingtons, Iowa Blue, Marans...I think I'm going to need a lot of pens!
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Currently chicken-less, hoping to get a fresh start soon.
My wish-list: Old English Game Bantams, American Game, D'uccles, Japanese Bantams, Bantam Cornish, Large Fowl Cornish, Lakenvelders, Welsummers, Kraienkoppen, Andalusians, Speckled Sussex, Cubalaya, Sumatra, Easter Egger (large and bantam), Orpingtons, Iowa Blue, Marans...I think I'm going to need a lot of pens!
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post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 

I bought them mainly for egg laying.... and I do really love making soup... hahahaha!! I think I'll wait until they stop laying from old age, or if one isnt getting along with the others, or until I get a roo... (i'm not allowed to have a rooster in my neighborhood)...

ORRRR... I can get some Cornish birds and raise them just for meats.... hmmmm, then I wont get so attached and "egg romantic" over them...

Thank you everyone for all your help about the "bad meat" thing and butchering them at 18 weeks!! Funny though, one of my EE's is HUGE (much bigger than the other chickens!), I'm surprised people dont eat them... she would be my first choice. haaaaa...

big_smile

6 little feathered dinosaurs roam my yard... 2 Delaware, 2 Barred Rock, and 2 Red Laced Blue Wyandottes.
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6 little feathered dinosaurs roam my yard... 2 Delaware, 2 Barred Rock, and 2 Red Laced Blue Wyandottes.
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post #10 of 24

Soup isn't the only thing to do with "retired" chickens.  Tamales, enchladas, any dish that asks for boiled and shreaded chicken meat they do really well in (a more chickeny flavor that means a better dish).  Personally I think mean roos make the best tamales.

Should not be taken seriously in large doses, use as directed.
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Should not be taken seriously in large doses, use as directed.
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