2 part question regarding egg laying and eating the hens.

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by bsee4u, Jan 13, 2011.

  1. bsee4u

    bsee4u In the Brooder

    Jan 11, 2011
    I am in my first rodeo with my hens, I currently have 5 dual purpose (eating and egg laying) hens that just started laying this past October/November of 2010. Right now they are egg laying fools, but there will come a time when their egg laying will diminish to a point where they need to be replaced, I am guessing about 3 years old, how close is my guess to your personal experience? Part 2, is when this time arrives, how edible is a 3 year old chicken, I have heard that battery chickens go to Campbell's for soup only because they will be too tough to eat. Any thoughts regarding part 2?

  2. AKsmama

    AKsmama Songster

    Jun 20, 2010
    South Carolina
    My flock is young, so I haven't needed to replace any of mine yet, but as far as cooking them, I believe the best way is "low and slow." Meaning at a low temp for a really long time, with some liquid, like in a crockpot.
  3. KatyTheChickenLady

    KatyTheChickenLady Bird of A Different Feather

    Dec 20, 2008
    Boise, Idaho
    a lot depends on your breed. My 7 year old hen laid an egg a day through year 5 and is still laying 3-4 a week.

    most say alder birds have a stronger chicken flavor, some prefer it some don't. Most turn old hens into stew/soup but a lot don't it really depends on your preference & tastes.
  4. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Crowing Premium Member

    Most small farmers, a century ago kept chickens. Now, farms are huge and other than the factories, most chicken keepers are smaller, such as yourself. Still, there's something to be learned from old ways.

    In early summer, hens tended to go broody, if they were going to go broody at all. Thus, the old farmer sometimes got his flock "renewed" in a natural way. Every two or three years or so, he'd bring a new rooster home from another farmer from across the county, to keep his blood line fresh.

    But chicks have been hatched by small hatchery enterprises for at least 200 years, and perhaps the farmer would bring home 50 day old chicks as well. Between new roosters and bringing home chicks, the flock was always getting renewed. Rest assured, 5 months old cocks and lesser productive hens were being butchered, come October, for meat as well. Farmers only "carried through winter" select hens and a roo. There was always turn over. There was little expectation of a hen being allowed to molt more than once. She seldom got the opportunity. By the time she approached her second molt at age 2.5 years, she was quite likely headed for supper with dumplings.

    With some modern adaptations, these practices remain, pretty much our pattern.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2011
  5. ben&momschicks

    ben&momschicks In the Brooder

    Apr 11, 2008
    This past fall was the first time I had butchered hens ( besides cornish x hens) and I was amazed at the richness of the broth from the older ones. I canned the meat and canned broth from them. They won't be friers, but they're great in soup, dumplings or canned for casseroles. My plan is to replace my layers as they age, because I would rather feed a hen that lays nearly every day than one that lays once or twice a week. Karen

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