Absolutely there could be uses for lots of chickens. However, it is ALWAYS cheaper to use a hybrid broiler type meat bird for anything meat related, and a hybrid layer type for anything egg related. Someone has to pay for things.....What about the pet food industry? Don't a lot those males and layers, after their prime laying yrs, go into the pet food industry? The pet food market is a multi billion dollar business annually. It's hard to imagine that commercial chickens producers don't find a profitable way to make use of all those birds that are either not laying or not large enough for the meat market.
I do feel that our food production, whether for people or pets, is somewhat of a paradox. On one hand we are told that there is an abundance of food produced that is wasted annually. And, on the other hand, we are told we have to use potentially harmful farming methods because we have to feed the world. And, yet there are still masses of starving people throughout the world, including right here in the USA. Go figure.
layers that are then sold for processing have already yielded eggs for over a year or more and already turned a profit. They are streamlined birds with smaller bodies and their feed conversion rates are established so the lifetime of their egg sales versus the cost that goes in turns a profit. These birds are most often sold as stewing birds.
But at even 2-3.00 a bird plus processing costs, you’re approaching the cost of a commercial finished Cornish. The meat to bone ratio is nothing anywhere near a meat hybrid, so the numbers would never add up to grow out male layer-types and sell them for meat because they don’t produce eggs to offset the cost of feed. Those male layers would be solely based on cost of feed and the meat cost, and it would always, no matter the age or size, be 3-4 times more expensive than a Cornish.
They only can sell these spent layers birds so cheap because they have already turned a profit on eggs. I’m sure they use these birds for bone meal perhaps in dog food? I’m not too sure.