Preparing Butchered Hen


12 Years
Dec 6, 2007
Hey I'm new to the butchering part of raising chickens. I have 26 hens 2 which are dark brahmas. They are not producing eggs... so I decided to buthcher one of them today and have it for supper. The hen is about 20 to 24 months old and the meat was so tough after I cooked it> I was so disappointed.
I fried it. Is tha why? Should I have fixed it another way? Was she too old? I have at least 4 more to slaughter, but questioning why now if the meat is so poor that we can't eat it. But I hate to pay for feed for a none productive hen. I'm having a great time selling eggs. Just today I sold 12 dozen.

Any suggestions.

How long did you let the meat rest before cooking it? Also, for your next trial - give slow cooking it a try (in a crock pot on low all day with a bit of water and veggies or roasting).

With older birds it's more of experimenting on them to get cooking them right. We fried up some 10 month old cockerels, but found it's best to fry just the white meat. The legs & thigh meat were a bit tough (but still edible).
I slaughtered it about 10:00 am. then about 1 1/2 hours later gutted and butchered it. Then about 2:00 i placed it in a bowl of slat water until about 3:30.

Was that too quick? I remember my grandmother would slaughter and cook in the same day. Of course that was 35 years ago.

Thanks for your help!
We've always let ours rest a day or two before cooking, sometimes longer. I don't know what they did in the olden days to make the older chickens edible by cooking the same day as the kill. None of my family ever did that so I don't know from experience.

From what I've read from various articles, the longer you let the meat rest the less tough it should be after cooking. Regardless, I think slow cooking is best for them. At least, that's how it's been from my experiences.
I had no clue to let it rest. Do you keep in it the frig or in a cooler or what?
Sorry for all the dumb questions
We let our meat rest of about 2 days in the fridge. The meat is placed in a large stock pot with a lid. On an older bird a nice slow and moist cooking is best. I would try a crock pot. Then pick the meat away and make chicken and dumplings. It is our favorite. I also hate to waste food on a non-producing hen. Good luck on the next one.
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Yep, we let ours rest in the fridge also. We put it in a bowl or pan and cover the meat with water.
No dumb questions here! I wouldn't know what I know if I hadn't read through the threads on BYC.
My wife will slice the chickens throat and bleed it, pluck and clean and prepare in the same day. She will usually make a soup with the older hens. If there is any left overs she will cook up the next day in a hot pot.
The hens are too old to fry. Do let them rest after you butcher, but also at this age they are stewing hens. You can cook them in a slow cooker real slow and make a big pot of dumplings, or chicken bog, or stew with veggies over mash potatoes, or ...gosh I'm getting hungry

Fryers are best butchered really young.

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