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

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Pureupto99per, Jan 4, 2010.

  1. Pureupto99per

    Pureupto99per Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 17, 2009
    Orange, CA
    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. [​IMG]

    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! [​IMG]
  2. Cindiloohoo

    Cindiloohoo Quiet as a Church Mouse

    Dec 19, 2009
    Southwest TN
    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.
  3. feetsoup

    feetsoup Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 17, 2009
    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...
  4. PineappleMama

    PineappleMama Chillin' With My Peeps

    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.
  5. meezermom

    meezermom Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 23, 2009
    Roy WA
    Well, Pureupto99per, if you wait a few years those hens will be so tough all you'll have is soup...[​IMG]
    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. [​IMG]
  6. popcornpuppy

    popcornpuppy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 19, 2009
    Holland, Massachusetts
    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.
  7. aussieheelr

    aussieheelr Chillin' With My Peeps

    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. [​IMG]
  8. Ariel301

    Ariel301 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 14, 2009
    Kingman Arizona
    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.
  9. Pureupto99per

    Pureupto99per Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 17, 2009
    Orange, CA
    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...

  10. saddina

    saddina Internally Deranged

    May 2, 2009
    Desert, CA
    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.
    cntrygrlincity likes this.

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