Thanks for the suggestions. I particularly like the idea of popping them in a casserole with veg and mushroom soup, so will try that first. I had considered cutting them into thin strips and marinading them. Does bashing them really work?. Might try that with the next lot.
Unfortunately, I have 5 more young cockerels that are about 5 months that have started chasing the hens since I disposed of the 3 older ones, so sadly my hens are not getting the benefit of some peace as I had hoped. They will have to go the journey soon too
I've also promised my neighbour I will dispatch 4 of his 3 yr old hens for him this week. He was just going to bin them which I think is a shocking waste, so I'm going to have those to process too. Must confess I'm dreading it (the killing) already but it surely must get easier with practice and at least this time I have no attachment to the hens in question. They have been useless things from the start... Terrified of people, even though he has other hens that are friendly, He got them at 15 weeks old and since they started laying at about 40 weeks they have barely laid more than.2 eggs a week each and go broody through the summer all the time but are too clumsy to incubate eggs and raise chicks. He's as soft as me but there is nothing endearing about these birds, They have earned no loyalty and his wife is giving him grief because they are feeding 6 hens and having to buy eggs. His last black star, Molly, died a couple of months ago and he loved her to bits.... she was 8 years old and was still laying up until a couple of months before she died and looked in fabulous condition even at that ripe age. He is keen to get some more black stars as soon as I have removed these useless Croad Langshans from his hen house.
Those of you who process older birds, do you skin them? The first cockerel I did was 6 months old and I went to the trouble of plucking him because I love chicken skin, but it was soo rubbery tough, I couldn't eat it. These recent ones I ended up half plucking and then skinning and jointing them rather than going to the trouble of eviscerating, I would have liked the livers to make pate with but it's a lot messier job than just stripping breast and limbs off, just to get the livers and I don't have a work station area with running water other than the kitchen and I don't want to eviscerate them in there. Anyone got any suggestions re skin on older birds? Is cockerel skin always thicker and tougher than hens? I haven't processed any hens yet.