Can I make jerky from *OLD* layers/roosters?

fanny.eastwind

In the Brooder
Jul 12, 2018
4
20
29
East Wind Community, Tecumseh, MO
We slaughtered 43 old birds yesterday (my first slaughter, actually). They're all really old. There were Brown Leghorns (1 of them a rooster, all around 4 years-old), Austra Whites (1 of them a rooster, all probably a little more than 3 years-old), and Rhode Island Reds (probably more than 2 years-old). Since we stopped growing Cornish Crosses for meat (I was not here at that time) we haven't regularly kept up with slaughtering the laying flock and introducing new stock until we got our recent round of ~100 Golden Comets, so we have these birds that are super old and tough. The plan is for them to be processed into stock, but I was wondering if it would be possible to make Jerky from some of them.

They're tiny birds, especially the Brown Leghorns, but the roosters and some of the Rhode Island Reds were quite a bit bigger and could work. I've heard so many stories of people trying to jerky chicken and it being too tough even for dog treats. I've searched the internet a bit and didn't find much that was helpful. Does anyone have any t\ideas or tips?
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,482
20,712
907
Southeast Louisiana
I've never tried to make jerky with old chickens. But I have used a lot of them to make broth and to cook for the table. How do you make your broth, in a crock pot over more than 15 hours on low or some other method? How you make your broth could have an impact. Whether or not you age them before you cook them can have a big effect also.

After I make the broth I strain the chunks out of the liquid and pick the meat out of those chunks. To me that's plenty tender to use in soups, tacos, or casseroles. But some people may not think so, we all have our individual tastes. Not sure how that would work in jerky anyway. You could try a little and see.

Once you cook it you could maybe grind it. That should get it as tender as any sausage from an old buck or any other old animal.

That's a lot of meat to waste but it does have to be cooked right to be edible.
 

fanny.eastwind

In the Brooder
Jul 12, 2018
4
20
29
East Wind Community, Tecumseh, MO
To my knowledge, we make stock here by just putting the birds into a giant stock pot on the stove on low heat for hours, usually a little over a day. I've been involved in more of the ranch side of things here and haven't ventured much into the food processing, which is something I want to explore more this winter. We buy frozen chickens to eat from the Mennonites nearby (I'd really like to breed our own birds and just cull the roosters for meat every year, but living with 70 other people means compromise), so no one is really that worried about wasting the meat from our layers, but I'd like to do something with it if we can.
 

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