Questions about butchering/slaughtering

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Vian, Mar 8, 2013.

  1. Vian

    Vian Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 8, 2013
    Hello! I have a few questions. Can birds bought for laying be good meat birds as well? For example, I would like to get a few Ameraucana this year because the green eggs are awesome. Next spring when I get new chicks, would it be feesable to have the previous years chickens slaughtered for meat? They would be about 18 months old at that point, assuming I wait until the chicks have feathered out and have begun laying. Is meat from somewhat older birds gamey or tough?

    I am totally too squeemish to slaughter birds myself. How/where do I find someone willing to slaughter and butcher my chickens?

    1 person likes this.
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Other than the last question, it's a matter of personal preference. This article about this kind of meat is linked in the sticky in this forum. If you haven't already found it, you should definitely read it. Yes, the meat will be a bit tougher than store bought, though personally I wouldn't call it gamey. Meat from dual purpose (DP) birds is always firmer than store bought chicken, even at a good age for tender meat, around 14-20 weeks. Also, the taste is different, even at that age. Many who eat this meat regularly will tell you that the best chicken soup or broth (or chicken and dumplings) by far is from an older hen. Also, if you wouldn't consider processing your own, you might find eating them nearly as difficult. The first time I processed mine, many years ago, I tried to eat it and in the end gave the meat away to a friend experienced in this kind of meat; she very much appreciated it! The problem was definitely between my ears.

    Another thought. My 9 hens give me about 5 eggs a day, about 7 last summer, and all but one are older than 1.5 years; a few are 4 years old. It's likely that 1 or 2 don't lay at all or only rarely, so if I wanted the flock to be more efficient, it would be simple enough to separate each one for a week or two and find out. The eggs of course are huge.

    So little meat results from processing one bird, compared to something like a cow or pig, that it is quite difficult to find someone willing to process for you. I would look for an old farmer locally, or perhaps ask at your feed store. "Spent" hens or unwanted roosters usually sell for $5 - $10 live, if you can even find a buyer, so charging to process just isn't going to be profitable.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2013
  3. trunkman

    trunkman Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 26, 2009
    Rock Hill SC
    Flockwatcher is right, you'll find the meat to be a bit tougher than store bought chicken. I've processed my own dual purpose birds and found that they don't have quite as much breast meat so don't expect a plump carcass. One 6 month old rooster that I processed was so tough after baking it that we only had a few bites and fed the rest of it to the hens that it tormented, they tore his butt apart and cleaned the carcass to the bone in minutes. I have cooked them in a crock pot and the meat was super tender and juicy. They are also very good in a soup. [​IMG]
    1 person likes this.
  4. DeepFriedBacon

    DeepFriedBacon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 16, 2013
    NW Indiana
    Older birds= low and slow cooking methods.

    Think of brisket, high heat cooking makes it harder than jerky, but 10hrs @ 225 makes it as teender as filet.

    And I agree, if harvesting a bird makes you squeamish, you might have reserves about eating it. But you'll never know till you try it.
  5. A chicken's second year is often it's best laying year...
  6. Matrix Escapee

    Matrix Escapee Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 21, 2011
    I have to disagree that a hens 2nd year is its best laying year. The 1st laying cycle is the most productive and the feed conversion in that first cycle is the most efficient. After that. feed conversion efficiency falls because energy is used for moulting and feather replacement. The birds also can easily start to get too big in years 2 and beyond if they are allowed to always eat. This is why many birds produce XL and jumbo eggs as they get older.

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