excessive visceral fat


5 Years
Oct 9, 2014
We slaughtered our first round of meat birds last night. We had 7 roosters and 1 hen that we slaughtered. The roosters were all large, healthy birds with healthy innards.

The female, on the other hand, had large amounts of visceral fat...probably 3x as much as the roosters. All of her internal organs were heavily encased in fat. Her liver was a brownish color instead of the reddish brown.

Any thoughts as to what might have been wrong with her?


8 Years
Oct 3, 2011
Central Virginia
Render the fat and cook your home fried potatoes and onions in it... soo good!

Some hens are prone to overeat, so much so that it depresses their laying capabilities.


6 Years
May 11, 2013
Eastern WA
I'm fairly new to butchering chickens, but I've noticed a pattern so far. Over the last 2 weeks, I've put 19 chickens in the freezer. All were about the same age, about 20 weeks, but different breeds. The roosters have all had very little visceral fat compared to the hens. I suspect it's a hen thing...they need to store energy to be able to produce all those eggs!

Edit: I should note that these were all dual purpose birds I butchered, not cornish cross.
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Crossing the Road
13 Years
Feb 2, 2009
Southeast Louisiana
How old was that hen? I’ve never done meat birds, just normal dual purpose, so I’m curious.

Before she starts to lay a hen builds up excess fat. A lot of that is in a fat pad in the pelvic area but it coats a lot of other internals too. Liver, gizzard, and heart or probably the worst. That excess fat is what a broody hen mostly lives off of since she does not leave the nest much to eat during incubation. That’s why a weight loss during incubation is not that bad for a broody. It’s just excess fat there for that purpose.

That’s why I’m curious about her age. Most meat birds are processed quite a while before they are ready to lay. I’ve never processed a pullet that young and don’t know when that fat starts to build up.

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