Are my birds suitable for eating?



Dec 24, 2020
I just started caring for chickens this year when my nephew wanted to start a project. We have a total of 10 birds. I’ve listed them below as to what I was told or think they are.

Are any of these ok to use for meat birds? I’m not going to eat these 10 but hatch more out. They are in two flocks now due to discovering I have an extra rooster.

Dominique? -rooster born 4/2020
Orpington/Wyandotte? - hen born 4/20 & laying
2 Sumatra- given to me for free and not laying yet
**Not planning to eat these or the chicks!

Silver laced polish - rooster born 8/20
*discovered he was a rooster after the other one attacked him*
2 Speckled Sussex- born 8/2020 not laying yet
A red/brown pullet- born 8/2020 not laying yet
Olive Egger - not laying yet
Ayam Cemani/Olive Egger- not laying yet

Any advice is appreciated!
FYI my husband has butchered several chickens before so that’s not a worry.


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As @JacinLarkwell says, you can eat any bird at any time - the question is really what purpose they serve in your flock. If they were purchased as layers, get the first year out of them, at least, then turn them to stock when their production drops off - likely year two or three.

If they were purchased as true duals, and you want/need the meat, cull one and feed yourself. Start culling others as their growth rate slows and feed efficiency drops.

If you expect to get some genetics out of your DP first, then cull slowest growing, non layers and breed the faster growing, already laying birds.

If they were purchased as meaties, I'm not sure why you chose the breeds that you did.

I tend to see small flocks of one or two birds ea of numerous breeds as primarily pet/appearance flocks with some egg laying for the table, so its hard for me to infer exactly what your meat plans are/were when buying those birds initially. I'm just guessing here.
Welcome to BYC. The barred bird is a cross of some sort. Bred to your larger hens he should sire cockerels that might be utilized as fryers or raised until 7 or 8 months old as roasters. Texture will be different from meat breeds, but flavor will be better. Pullets should develop into average production hens.
Any advice is appreciated!
FYI my husband has butchered several chickens before so that’s not a worry.
Hi there and welcome to BYC! :frow

As stated by other posters ALL birds are suitable for eating that you have listed including the Sumatra AND their offspring. Whether you choose to eat them or not is a personal choice.. Even Silkies dress excellent for the table.. None of the breeds you mention would be breed I would keep IF I TRULY cared about putting meat on my table. But if they were basically a pet flock and you're just gonna eat what you hatch in order to be a more responsible and reasonable choice than expecting every male that hatches to become a flock leader of his own, then sure why not!

It's entirely possible to keep two roosters in a single flock without excessive mating or excessive fighting and I do it often! I also have a stag pen.. where ALL boys go and get a chance to grow out with each other for my dinner table OR to be selected for breeding qualities.. since heritage breed birds are almost always actively attempting to mate BEFORE harvest age. I put my selected breeding rooster with the flock when desired for hatching. Stag pens or bachelor pad.. NOT without it's challenges BUT highly recommended as a viable means of cockerel/rooster/flock management.. If you have the resources. I agree with those Sumatra looking like they have pointy saddle feathers and likely being cockerel.

Notes that were given and I'm affirming.. age of bird determines preparation method.. Older birds need slower and lower cooking with moisture added (or pressure cooking).. make for good stews, casseroles, ground meat fried up for spaghetti and tacos, or shredded meat for sandwiches or burritos, YUmm! :drool

Older birds also NEED to be rested for about 3 days.. more is acceptable and they stay fresh in MY fridge for 2 weeks after harvest with no slime, smell etc. (small batch harvesting from a single flock makes a huge difference of standard market cross contamination practices regarding bacterial growth) Allowing rigor to pass is one key but also a little cellular breakdown for lack of a better term really helps tenderize the meat.. (dry aging beef for example). If you are much faster than I and can get the bird in the pot before rigor sets in.. acceptable results have been reported.. Cooked at the wrong time.. there is NO saving the toughness of the bird with any method.

Younger (more tender) birds and birds that will never reach a "roaster" size or the lighter breeds like leghorn are sometimes harvested as "fryers". For ME.. it often comes down to convenience either of time or freezer space as to when or WHO I harvest, sometimes flock antics determine who MUST go.. so age and such might get labeled on the package,, since most my birds are heritage breeds.. it's also key to me NOT to harvest during any mini molt period as pin feathers are a time consuming pain to pluck. I have skinned birds before when needed but prefer plucked. Different breeds or individuals can sport these at different timing. A decent read..

With what ya got going on.. you won't have a lot of consistency in offspring or carcass size.. breast verses thigh qualities.. and levels of fat etc.. you just get what you get.. and that's okay if YOU are okay with it! You are the ONLY limiting factor in THIS scenario. Wrapping your head around what you will and won't allow to be harvested. Some ladies get harvested if their time has come.. Euthanasia is kindness. NO reason to let anyone die slowly or waste their contribution. :hugs

For eating, are your bird breeds ideal.. maybe not.. but suitable.. 100% yes! :thumbsup

So your two flock might not go back together since you separated them.. or you might work to reintegrate them.. OR come up with a plan be for the extra boys you may have now that haven't yet had scuffles with more dominant flock mates.. Some roosters have waited until 18+ months to start crowing while others have started trying at 3 weeks! All the breed you have should be showing pointy male saddle feathers starting by about 12 weeks..

Happy chicken adventures! :wee

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