retired layers as meat birds

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Quigley, Sep 14, 2012.

  1. Quigley

    Quigley In the Brooder

    Nov 5, 2009
    How gross are they to eat? I've processed many dozens of birds raised for their meat, but not old layers who are no longer producing well. Are they edible? Is it worth the work? I have six who no longer serve a purpose but are healthy and active. Thanks for any advice you have.

  2. mi chicken

    mi chicken In the Brooder

    May 7, 2012
    the thumb
    mabe you should can them
  3. CROCK POT! [​IMG]

    We love old layers for soup and stew

    slow cook them
    they have the best, richest flavor
  4. Quigley

    Quigley In the Brooder

    Nov 5, 2009
    Do you have recipe suggestions??
  5. AinaWGSD

    AinaWGSD Songster

    Apr 2, 2010
    Sullivan, IL
    They're pretty gross (ie chewy and tough) if you try roasting, grilling, or frying them. But chicken and dumplings, soups, and stews have all been traditionally made with old spent hens. We pressure cook ours to make a broth, pick the carcasses clean, and can the meat. We've also crock potted old hens and shredded the meat for awesome chicken tacos. Tonight's dinner was chicken and gnnochi soup (I googled the recipe, I think the one I used made mention that it was similar to the Olive Garden soup of the same name) made with canned spent hen and was pretty darn good. This soup also freezes and reheats well (tonight's was a portion that I pulled out of the freezer and thawed on the stovetop for a quick meal). If you can the meat after making broth it tends to be really stringy in texture (or at least mine does) so may be better suited for things like chicken and noodles, chicken and dumplings, and chicken enchiladas which call for a pulled/shredded chicken type consistency.
  6. McButterpants

    McButterpants In the Brooder

    Jun 22, 2012
    The best chicken consume you'll ever taste! just put them in a pot of cold water heat to a bare simmer and allow to cook 6-12 hours. ladle the clear broth off and use (add salt!) or freeze - unbelievable flavor!
  7. We crock pot ours and let them cook all day.. if you don't add much water, you will still get a little broth.. adding more water means more broth when you are done. After crock potting them the meat falls off the bones. If we crock pot them "dry" I'll use the meat for chicken salad or chicken fajitas, burritos (you can always add water later to the pot for soup or stew). If I'm making soup or stew I'll add a chopped onion to the crock pot plus some water (don't even measure it.. just whatever looks good), some seasonings and let the old hens cook for the day. When the meat is falling off the bones I'll de-bone it (saving the bones and skin for making dog food). chop the meat up a bit (especially the breast meat) and add it back to a stock pot along with the broth. Then add in whatever veggies and ingredients I want in the soup or stew. Or turn it into chicken and dumplings.
    We also save old layers for chicken pie which is slow baked in the oven then taken out, biscuits added to the top and put back in the oven long enough for the biscuits to cook and brown.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2012

  8. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Crowing

    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    They will have the best flavor of all. But they will be tough, so use a low and slow cooking method and you will end up with something really delicious.

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