Is she safe to eat? (hope so because we just did!)

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Hummingbird Hollow, Feb 7, 2013.

  1. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 1, 2011
    Colorado mountains
    This morning while letting my chickens out, I noticed that one of my two 9 month ole Freedom Ranger hens was missing. I looked for her in the coop and found her on her side, barely responsive with a big bloody bulge of tissue coming out from her vent. A bunch of thoughts ran through my head, but I quickly decided to butcher her. (This may seem ruthless, but I had only an hour and a half before I had to leave for work and couldn't think of what else to she was scheduled to be butchered in the spring anyway). So, after doing the cone method and bleeding her out, I decided to skin her. I'd never done this before, but since it takes forever to get the water up to scalding temperature I decided to give it a go . After skinning as best as I could, I took her into the kitchen for the rest of the process. When I opened her up, there was a gush of liquid. Now I've never butchered a mature hen before, and I know that a lot of the oddities I found in her cavity were related to egg production. She also seemed to have tons more fat than the Freedom Rangers I butchered this summer at 9, 10 and 11 weeks of age but my main concern was the liquid.

    She is currently sitting in an ice bath in the refridgerator and I'm about to dash to work. My question is whether she is safe to eat. The meat looks vvery nice, but I am no expert. I figure she is would be destined to the crock pot, or some other slow cooking method because of her age, but whould like your advice as to whether I'm being reckless by considering cooking a hen that obviously had something wrong with her. I hate to let a beautiful, organic, free range chicken go to waste, but realize that there may be a good reason to. What do you think?

    CHICKEN CRAZY1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Whatever you do DON"T EAT HER! Who knows what happened inside her body.If it were predator and you saw it kill her (if it didn't maul or eat all of it) she would be safe to eat if the predator was not diseased. But nobody knows what happened.
  3. suki'smom

    suki'smom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 4, 2011
    Central Wisconsin
    Fluid in the body cavity is not uncommon among meat birds.
  4. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 1, 2011
    Colorado mountains one emphatic "DON'T EAT" and one "no big deal". I'm hoping I'll hear from more of you.

    Should I cook for the family, cook for the dogs or toss in the trash?

    Should I move ahead with the schedule and butcher the remaining Freedom Ranger earlier rather than later?

    Is this likely a result of growing a Freedom Ranger past it's recommended butchering date or does it sound like a disease to you?

    No other birds are showing any signs of disease...but then again, this bird wasn't yesterday either.

    For a bit of background, both my Freedom Ranger hens are less active and much bigger than my heavy breed laying hens (WPR, BPR, Welsummer, EE). I kept these two and one rooster from last years batch of 35 meat birds, hoping to perhaps hatch some second generation Freedom Ranger chicks in the spring. However, I ended up butchering the rooster because he was such a bully to all of the hens (the one that I butchered this morning particularly). He was almost 8 pounds after butchering. I decided to keep the 2 hens through the winter because they were laying at least a few eggs every week and figured I'd butcher them sometime in the summer when my new chicks were of an age to be introduced to the flock.
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2013
  5. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 1, 2011
    Colorado mountains
    Chicken is brining in the 'fridge. Still would love some advice as to whether she is safe to eat since I've had one "yes" and one "NO!".
  6. NotableNancy

    NotableNancy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 28, 2012
    Personally I would never take the chance. Not worth it at all.
  7. 4-H chicken mom

    4-H chicken mom Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 3, 2007
    Oberlin, OH
    We raise many meat birds and the fluid in the cavity is very common. So that part I wouldn't hesistate to eat it. But it sounds like she prolasped and the problem with that is if any of the internal organs leaked out from tearing that wouldn't be good. If you had seen it happen and butchered her right away, I would say it was fine. In your case there is doubt as to how long, so when in doubt, throw it out. :old
  8. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 1, 2011
    Colorado mountains
    I guess I need to take your advice and not cook this chicken for my family. After all, it isn't like my family will starve or anything, I just hate to let any part of my home-grown chickens go to waste.

    That said...could I cook it for the dogs?

    Do you think I should move up the slaughtering date on my other remaining Freedom Ranger hen? She seems healthy and while not as active as my other chickens, moves around and free ranges when she has the opportunity. However, she is so much larger than the DP birds. Could being big and fat cause the prolaspe in the one that I butchered?
  9. bettyroden

    bettyroden New Egg

    Sep 17, 2012
    Common Causes:
    • chickens that begin laying too young and are underweight
    • cggs that are too large
    • older chickens that are overweight
    • a calcium deficiency

    holding droppings for a long period of time, causing stress and stretching of the cloaca this is the information i got from a web site about prolapse in chickens
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2013
  10. leighwb

    leighwb New Egg

    I have been searching the forums for days seeking an answer to this question..."Are they safe to eat?" My birds died from a bobcat attack...25 in crawled through a most amazingly small opening under the roof. Most look like their necks were broken or just have a small wound to the neck. They were frozen solid when I found them in the morning, and I have left them frozen until I could find out if they were safe to eat and if so, how do I process them??? Can I thaw them, gut them, brine them (since they weren't bled out), slow cook them, and then freeze the stock and cooked meat? Can the feathers be used? Surely, their lives can count for something more than the compost pile. They are my first flock and just 6 months old. This has been heartbreaking :(
    I hope that by exploring the answer to this question it will help others...thank you for starting the post Hummingbird Hollow!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by