How much meat does an egg-laying hen give, when it's "her time"?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by JollyJennifer, Feb 3, 2015.

  1. JollyJennifer

    JollyJennifer Hatching

    Feb 3, 2015
    I'm nowhere close to starting my own flock, but I like to do as much research as possible. One thing I can't find is how much meat on average would you usually get off of an egg-laying hen? I would want a winter-hardy breed and would anticipate 3-5 years for good egg laying, then rotating out the flock. Estimates?
  2. pickledpenny

    pickledpenny Chirping

    Oct 6, 2014
    South California
    It all depends on the breeds you select. If you do heritage breeds like orpingtons, Delaware, etc. you'll get a decent meal out of them as they're dual purpose for eggs and meat. Buying from a quality breeder will typically yeild a bigger/better bird as well since hatchery stock isn't bred to standards that maintain size and hardiness.
  3. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    I am thinking that 5 years is a bit much to expect from an egg laying hen. The egg layer breeds tend to lay like crazy, and then they are done and often times die around 3 years of age. I have a production red that has been a reliable layer all winter... but this is her third year. While she is quite active and laying and healthy, I would not be surprised to find her one morning.

    As for the meat on an egg laying bird. A 3 -5 year old bird you will need to cook slow by simmering for hours or by pressure cooking. They will make very flavorful stock and soup, but they are NOT like KFC chicken. Egg laying birds just don't really have a lot of meat on them, and often people will just take the breast meat, and possibly the thighs.

    You might be happier with a dual purpose bird, which are a little heavier, and lay a little less. Even so, they generally lay more than enough for a household.

    In order to maximize your egg production consistency, you might not want to fill your coop/run the first year, as then you can add chickens the next year, then the third year, you would add chicks and begin to cull your older birds. Pullets tend to lay through the dark days of winter, where as older hens take a break. When they start up again in the spring, their eggs are bigger.

    It is a wonderful hobby.

    MRs K
    2 people like this.
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    If you cook the bird and pick the meat from the bones you'll get a little under a quart of meat, around 1.5 lbs give or take.
    1 person likes this.
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    ......and then if you put those bones back in the crock pot or pressure cooker and cook it some more you'll get some awesome stock/broth.

    I've not done this with older hens but a couple of under a year old cockerels made the most awesome stock I've ever eaten. I cooked it a long time and it was so rich I could dilute it times 3 or 4 parts and still have delicious soup.
  6. song of joy

    song of joy Crowing

    Apr 22, 2012
    Central Pennsylvania
    I have dual-purpose hens (RIR, barred plymouth rock, buff orpington, black australorp). They lay well for 2-3 years and are then culled to make room for the next generation of egg-layers in the flock. There's very little meat on a 2-3 year old dual-purpose hen, so we don't spend the time plucking the bird. Instead, my husband skins it, and I slow-cook it in a pot of water for chicken soup. The yield is usually around 1 to 2 pounds of meat, which is just enough for a large batch of soup.

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