I have to ask - Hens for meat?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by SIMZ, Nov 19, 2011.

  1. SIMZ

    SIMZ Crowing

    Apr 29, 2011
    Northwest Indiana
    I've been wondering something and am almost embarrassed to ask because the answer is probably obvious.

    If raising dual-purpose chickens are the hens able to be used as broilers/fryers? I'd like to hatch and raise some dual-purpose for meat this spring, but there really is a limit to how many chickens I can keep for layers. I believe I reached that number about 10 chickens ago! [​IMG]

    We raise Cornish X for meat and the hens are fine, but I wondered how long the hens of other breeds need to be before they're worth butchering. Do any of you do this or do you always just keep the girls as layers?

    Thanks for your patience! [​IMG]

  2. JenniferNgo

    JenniferNgo In the Brooder

    Aug 16, 2011
    It all depends really: a hen will lay routinely for about 2 years. After that she really slows down but the eggs get larger (go figure) . That is usually the time most people would get new chicks to replace the henopausal chook. Then process when she is really down to hardly any eggs and the chicks are old enough to take her place soon. IMO they make great stew because they have lots of flavor but you really have to be careful to not get tough meat. I soak in brine if I plan to do anything but make broth with it.

    Good luck!
  3. SIMZ

    SIMZ Crowing

    Apr 29, 2011
    Northwest Indiana
    Thank you!

    How about before they start laying? Have you ever done that?
  4. Erica

    Erica Songster

    Dec 5, 2010
    Hi SIMZ,

    Most people probably don't eat pullets because it's much easier to sell them as layers, and recoup some feed money that way.

    There's no reason not to do it, and the meat will be just as good as cockerel meat or better. Having said that, I'd always rather sell a pullet than put her in the pot. But then again if she's your own bird you've probably raised her carefully and know what she ate etc, so what the heck.

    Half the cornish x in supermarkets are probably female.


  5. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

    Aug 20, 2010
    There's nothing wrong with butchering a pullet for meat, they just don't grow as large as the males. For most of us, it's just economics. The pullets are worth more as potential layers in terms of cash value than they are as meat for most of us is all. I have butchered a fairly young layer before though. Hated to do it but she was so very disruptive to the flock and I didn't want to pass my problem on to someone else.
  6. T-Amy

    T-Amy Chirping

    Sep 16, 2011
    Woodhull, NY
    I've heard that layers can be extremely tough- I don't have experience with butchering pullets but I, too, wonder what to do with them after they're done laying. I hear they make great broth- just last night a long time chicken owner told me she couldn't get the layer meat tender even in a pressure cooker. So, I'm planning just to sell mine to the local Amish when they're done laying (or to the local auction.
    Keep me posted if you do cook them & how it turns out. One person's opinion doesn't hold true for everyone after all.
  7. SIMZ

    SIMZ Crowing

    Apr 29, 2011
    Northwest Indiana
    Thanks everyone!

    It seems that I might actually be able to sell some of the pullets then. They'll most likely be mutts - although they should be very good laying mutts! At least now I know if I can't sell them and don't have room to keep them, I can butcher them if all else fails.

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