Dual purpose chickens?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by LovinThisFarmGirlLife, Feb 8, 2018.

  1. LovinThisFarmGirlLife

    LovinThisFarmGirlLife Songster

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    Hi there. I've been researching the chicken breeds we have and I'm wondering about birds who are good for eggs and meat. I have several chickens who are at the end of their laying days. They were hand-me-downs from the people we bought our house from. Most of them are meat/egg birds, so my plan was to just process them for food when they're done laying. I know chicken tends to be tough the older it gets, but are dual purpose birds different? If not, is there a way to process/cook them where they're edible? We raised meat birds one time and I couldn't bring myself to kill until they got HUGE. I baked the whole chicken and it was AWFUL. Super tough, stringy meat. We ate most if it just because I couldn't waste it after I killed it, but now I'm scared of the same thing happening again. I wish I could just keep them as pets but it's not realistic. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. wyoDreamer

    wyoDreamer Crowing

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    After you butcher them, they need to rest for 3 days before cooking. That gives enough time for the rigor mortis to release form the meat. The three days can be before freezing or after. But before you cook, lol.
    And how you cook it makes a huge difference. If you stew it, don't boil it. Low simmer until tender, it makes a wonderful broth and tender chicken. If you want to roast it, cook it Low and Slow - low temperature for a longer time. For absolutely tender, delicious chicken, I prefer to pressure can the old ones.
    If you roast it and it is tough, turn it into soup.
     
  3. LovinThisFarmGirlLife

    LovinThisFarmGirlLife Songster

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    Thank you!! That actually makes a lot of sense that you would have to process chickens the same way you were processed deer or elk. I’m not sure why I didn’t think about that! Does the age of the chicken matter?
     
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  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

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    I've tried the rest after freezing and it did not work for me.

    You might like to try Pioneer aka Dixie Rainbow. They grow out well, are at processing age around 12 weeks. (compared to 8 weeks for Cornish x Rocks and 16 weeks for DP) They free range well, and make admirable layers. I held one Pioneer pullet back from the freezer, she was my first pullet to lay that season, and she laid a huge egg, was very productive. Her feather quality wasn't as nice as the DP birds, and her shells became weak in the second season, but her genes still run strong in my flock.
     
  5. LovinThisFarmGirlLife

    LovinThisFarmGirlLife Songster

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    This is what confuses me. They reach processing age before they even lay. I want to process them AFTER they’re done laying. Is this possible? Like when they’re years old rather than weeks?
     
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  6. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

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    Yes, but at that point, plan on them being a stewing chicken, and if you don't own a pressure cooker, you might want to buy one!
     
  7. LovinThisFarmGirlLife

    LovinThisFarmGirlLife Songster

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    Thankfully I do! Thank you for all of the insight! Now I just have to bring myself to butcher them:hit. That’s never been my strong suit!
     
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  8. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

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    After the head is off, the chicken becomes meat.
     
  9. eatwhatyougrow

    eatwhatyougrow Songster

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    In the old days before the cx became the rage. Many people used a milk grain feed basically a grain soaked in milk as the source of feed for the last month or so and limit movement it adds lots of fat and softened down the toughness of the bird. There were some old videos on YouTube and I have some old 1920 ish chicken books that talk about the method near as I can tell it was very similar to how they finish off the Bresse.
     
  10. Mimi’s 13

    Mimi’s 13 Songster

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    That is very interesting and I’m quite sure it works and makes he bird delicious. All this new stuff just isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. I’ve always said I was born 100 years too late. I would have loved living in the late 19th century...I think. :idunno
     

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