Laying hens old enough to be meaties, how old?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Gazinga, Jan 26, 2010.

  1. Gazinga

    Gazinga Chook Norris

    I have laying hens, BO's, and was wondering at what age do they typicaly start laying less eggs, so i can rotate them out of the flock and use them as meat birds and rotate in the fresh young chicks to be the new layers. See my process im trying to set up here? any advice would be great, im mainly looking ofr the age they start laying less. (typicaly)
     
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Mine tended to drop off at the 3/4 year mark, so most of them are out the door buy the end of year 3 for max output.
     
  3. Gazinga

    Gazinga Chook Norris

    Thanks Silkie! always good to hear from you. I was thinmking that teh 3rd year was it too. I , of course, have some that will live out their entire live with me as they have been more pets thatn production, but the rest have a ticking clock, thanks agian.
     
  4. dancingbear

    dancingbear Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had a BO hen that finally died this year, she was around 8 years old. She was a good layer for about 5 years, still laid a fair amount last year. I hatched several of her eggs last year, too.

    Some of my "old lady" hens are going to get thinned out in the next few months. As of last year, they have finally started laying poorly enough that I can't afford to keep them. These girls are between 6 and 8 years old. A couple have "retirement" status, and will be here until they die of old age.
     
  5. Gazinga

    Gazinga Chook Norris

    sounds like me dancingbear. I have 3 that are "retirement status", teh erst are going to get cycled out at about 3 1/2 years old. I hate to get rid of any but i started this whole thing in the attempts to get back to self sustaining as close as possible, so i have to stick to my guns. What do you guys think i can do with a 3 to 4 year old hen? edible? how to prepre it?

    Also, how old are your roosters before you start thinking about processing them out of the flock, i do use mine for fertile eggs, i hatch my chicks.
     
  6. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Anything over a year is grounds for soup or very very slow cooking... but even then... often soup is best. Roos go at 12-16 weeks here... unless needed for their roo ness.
     
  7. Gazinga

    Gazinga Chook Norris

    yuppers, i use mine for his roo-ness abilities. when does a roo become less able to perform his roo-ness abilities?
     
  8. dancingbear

    dancingbear Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've repeated this about a gazillion times, here goes again:

    Tough old birds go in the crock pot, pressure cooker, or get pressure canned. They all get tender eventually in the crock pot, a lot faster in the pressure cooker or canner. If you pressure can, boneless turns out the best, the smaller bones get crumbly and hard to remove. However, pressure canned bones can be fed to your pets, they get soft and don't splinter.

    I usually use the crock pot, because it's so easy. Season it, put it in the pot, add a little water (about 2 cups), put the lid on, plug it in and set it on either high or low, I've had great results with both. I use low if I start it at bedtime and let it cook overnight. You truly do set it and forget it, go on about your business. On high it usually takes anywhere from 5-7 hours, depending on age, breed, and gender. I think hens get tender a little sooner, but that could be wrong, I haven't cooked a lot of hens. When you check it after about 6 hours, if it's not falling off the bones yet, just wait. It'll get there.

    I take the meat off the bones, chop it up a little and use it in all kinds of dishes. I favor Mexican. Chicken tacos, enchiladas, tamales, burritos, but also stuff like BBQ sandwiches, chicken salad, stir fry, or even just hunks of cooked chicken as the meat for a meal. I like a cup of the rich, dark, broth to dip it in. Once, I made "chicken-dip sandwiches", chicken meat on hard rolls, with the broth to dip it in, just like the beef French dip sandwiches. I have friends I get together with regularly, and we take turns bringing food. I often bring a whole crock-pot bird, and broth, and they love it. You can put the strained broth back in the crock pot, (you may want to slim the fat first, if there's a lot) use the broth instead of plain water to cook some brown rice. Add some of the chopped up chicken meat, and a few veggies if you like, and it's really tasty. And good for you, too.

    Any left over broth gets frozen for later use. It'll be darker than you're used to seeing, and the flavor is amazing. It's great for sauces, gravy, and anything you'd use canned or boxed broth for. I never buy that crap anymore, the broth from my own birds is so much better. No chemical crap in it either, and I control the salt content.

    Speaking of salt, the meat will be more moist and succulent if you soak it in brine overnight before you cook it. The salt gets into the tissues, and that holds the moisture in. Otherwise, the meat can turn out dry, even with slow, moist cooking.
     
  9. jojo54

    jojo54 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 24, 2009
    BC Canada
    Quote:Thanks for the tip! I'll use my crockpot. [​IMG]
     
  10. dancingbear

    dancingbear Chillin' With My Peeps

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