Feeding older layin hens before slaughter


Aug 19, 2010
Vancouver, WA
I have a few older hens that are no longer producing very well and are going to be given to my friend for slaughter. I'll be getting new chicks in the spring so I'm not too concerned with getting eggs from them up to their last day. So, I was wondering, other them keeping them comfortable and giving them ample foodstuffs. What additional feed stuffs/types should they be given/or not given on the run up to their final day in order to make their meat more taste full? I know that beef cattle are often fed corn for six to eight weeks before slaughter to make their meat sweeter. They are also restricted from eating grass, is that the same for chickens? Right now, my birds are free ranging most of the day.


9 Years
Apr 2, 2010
Non-Chicago, Illinois
I think they give cows corn to make them marbled and tender. Same with chickens. Give a chicken a solid diet of corn and she'll get fat. Oats will also fatten them nicely. You might consider a higher protein feed to add meat. You could feed them apples but apple drops are out of season. You could feed them turnips if you had planned for that 4 months ago. Really, I would just keep doing what you have always done. They'll taste like your chickens that way.

These aren't 8 week broilers, these are at least 2 year old layers. They'll have a nice amount of yellow fat in their bellies and will taste spectacular. Why are you waiting? Today is the day for chicken soup. In the spring you'll be busy eating salad.


Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Nov 23, 2010
St. Louis, MO
This probably won't have the same effect as with heritage meat roos but here is what I do. They free range till 3 weeks before slaughter. Then they are confined to a smallish coop, 6-8 hours of light a day and a whole milk and grain diet for the last few weeks. I use a blend of ground grains(corn, wheat, oats, field peas - whatever I have available)
The idea is the confinement softens the muscles, the milk adds vitamins, protein and flavor.
Let me know how it works with hens if you do it.

Oregon Blues

8 Years
Apr 14, 2011
Central Oregon
You are giving them away. Don't go all crazy with expensive food. No matter what you feed them, they will still be stewing hens.

If they are eating laying mash (or pellets) that is perfectly fine for growing out chickens to butcher.

There is no reason to give them additional protein, because at this age, they will not get any bigger.

If they are skinny, you can give them a small amount of cracked corn to put some fat on them, but a lot of people just pull the fat off and throw it away, so you would be wasting money.

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