Although I've processed & consumed a lot of young cockerels & roosters, last weekend was the first time I've processed old hens. I'm still too much of a soppy sentimentalist to dispatch my own granny hens, but I helped some friends learn how to process their non-layers. They weren't sure just how old they all were, around 2-3 years they thought. They gave me 2 of the finished hens for my family. Don't think that old hens are too tough to eat. I got these girls as tender as cake! They rested in the refrigerator for 4 full days, then I put them in a big stock pot and covered them with water. To the water I added some chopped onion & garlic cloves, some bay leaves & some pepper. Then I covered the pot and let it simmer gently for about 4 hours. When the meat was falling off the bones I removed it all and set it on a plate, and then strained the broth and returned it to the stove. The broth was brought to a gentle boil, and I cooked some chopped carrots & celery in it for several minutes, then added dry noodles & chopped scallions to cook for a few minutes more. While they cooked I removed all the tender meat from the bones, chopped it up, and added it to the soup right at the end. It was SOUPer deeeeeelicious!!! This is giving me more courage to bring some of my own non-laying hens in for the table. My oldest hens are some of our very first chickens, and it's difficult for me to decide to dispatch them. I've already decided that all new hens added to the flock will be considered candidates for the soup pot once they reach retirement age. And I may even be able to process some of the others already in the flock. There are a few who have gotten really hefty, they make my mouth water when I pick them up & feel how meaty they are!