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How Old is Too Old for Processing?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by DouglasPeeps, Jan 1, 2009.

  1. DouglasPeeps

    DouglasPeeps Songster

    Feb 26, 2008
    I am considering processing some of my birds. But my questions is........Is 11 months considered too old to process?

    Thanks for your help!
  2. mtnhomechick

    mtnhomechick Songster

    Jun 27, 2008
    Mountain Home, AR
    I asked this question a few days ago. Sounds like if your layers are that old it's slow cooking in the stew pot. Might be kind of tough or stringy any other way.
  3. skeeter

    skeeter Songster

    Nov 19, 2007
    Parma Idaho
    naaaa they will be good eating,never too old to butcher,maybe too thin but never too old,
  4. bheila

    bheila Songster

    Feb 8, 2008
    Kent, Wa
    I asked this question a couple of months ago because we have a 9 year old hen. I was told just to cook her in a crock pot or a pressure cooker. I'm still a little leary of eating a hen that old no matter how I cook her [​IMG]
  5. jvls1942

    jvls1942 Crowing 9 Years

    Oct 16, 2008
    Quote:leary about what? It is still a chicken.. try to get a little fat on her and then whack her.. the worst case scenario is she might be tough.. so what ! then feed her to the dogs..

    I have noticed that many people think that you should process only 10 week old or younger chickens..
    what are you supposed to do with the old ones, kill them and throw them onto the manure pile??
  6. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    You can kill them at any age. Meat birds are the ones you want to get below 10 weeks before other health problems get them.

    "Dual" breeds are commonly taken between 14-16weeks old.

    Spent layers are taken for soup stocks and slow cooking.

    Old roosters often are used for slow cooked recipies like coc au vin, a meal I hear is very flavorful and tasty.

    Our old birds and stringy hens are used for medicinal soups and are full of flavor.

    With old birds, you just can't treat them like the ones that come wrapped in plastic from the store who have been soaked in a saline solution for juicy tenderness.

    A 9 year old hen should be fine to eat, however, my mom in eastern beliefs would say a hen who is too old would have built up toxins in the body and become unsuitable for a quality soup. But that's a difference between eastern and western styles.

    If my old hens have reached 9, they'll probably get to live their lives out.
  7. becky3086

    becky3086 Crested Crazy

    Oct 14, 2008
    Thomson, GA
    I would eat an 11 month old hen but I have some hens that are 5 or 6 years old and I just refuse to eat them, lol, I know I can but I just am not going to.
  8. big greg barker

    big greg barker Songster

    Oct 26, 2008
    central maine
    Stop and chew on this for a few minutes. Commercial egg operations usually replace their layers when they hit the first molt, or at about 12-16 months. Do you think they just kill and discard them? Somebody buys and processes them. They are used for soups, chicken burger patties, pet food, all kinds of processed meat. I am eating chicken sausage as I type this. I would bet that the meat here is from older layers, because store chickens need to look fat and plump. The egg processors are going to recover every penny they can for the spent layers.
    And remember...Waste not, Want not....
  9. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

    May 25, 2007
    SW Wisconsin
    Quote:Now they do. The rendering markets have pretty much collapsed in the past decade. There is no commercial value in spent hens anymore. Producers would rather use broiler meat. Most of the the layer facilities now euthanize the hens and compost them for fertilizer.

    That fact aside, those old birds make great chicken soup, chicken and dumplings, chicken a la king, etc...
  10. big greg barker

    big greg barker Songster

    Oct 26, 2008
    central maine
    No kidding Mac? What an incredible waste. It's crap like this that has brought us to the decision to raise as much of our own food as we can.....

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