stewing hens....

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by lnm03, Jun 28, 2010.

  1. lnm03

    lnm03 Songster

    Oct 6, 2008
    Just found 12 free stewing hens on craigslist!!! I went and picked them up they are two year old ISA Browns! They aren’t very big but I figured it was 12 additional "meat chickens" that I got for free!

    Then I was two year old birds not lay eggs? I just got them and haven’t had them long enough to see if they will lay or not. My oldest birds are a year and a half and still lay eggs daily!!!!

    I have them in a kennel with a top on it so they can’t jump out so they are quarantined from my birds just in case and were trying to decide when were going to process. (all at once or a few at a time).
  2. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    I am not familiar with ISA Browns specifically, but 2 year olds still lay. They start slowing down around 2 1/2 yo.

    Imp- Congrats on the free birds
  3. lnm03

    lnm03 Songster

    Oct 6, 2008
    hmmmm......I got these birds this morning and they have laid 6 eggs so far....but they eat them....maybe thats why he wanted to get rid of them so bad!!!
  4. TreeHugger

    TreeHugger Songster

    Apr 7, 2008
    That's a good reason to turn them into stew. They might not have realized they were eating the eggs & might have thought they just stopped laying. Of course, you might only have a few bad apples & the rest might end up being some good hens.
  5. scubaforlife

    scubaforlife Songster

    Jul 13, 2009
    I would stew them, its a good way to prevent disease introduction into your flock.
  6. eKo_birdies

    eKo_birdies Songster

    May 11, 2010
    Northern Colorado
    maybe they were lacking something (proper protein or calcium?) in their old diet?? [​IMG]
  7. dancingbear

    dancingbear Songster

    Aug 2, 2008
    South Central KY
    Leslie, if you may want to keep them as layers, they will most likely lay for several years. I have had hens as old as 8 years that still laid pretty well. They won't lay at peak after 2 & 1/2 to 3 years old, but "not at peak" often means they only lay 4-6 eggs a week instead of seven. For many of us, that's plenty.

    You might want to do a BYC search in the "Egg Laying and Behaviors" section, enter "breaking hens from egg eating" or something similar. I've read a lot of suggestions on that, and tried some myself. What worked for me was providing a darkened laying nest. Hens like to lay eggs in dark or dimly lit areas, but they seldom eat in the dark. Part of egg eating is the visual, they see the egg, and eat it. Since they're in a crate right now, they probably don't have a dark, quiet area for laying. I've seen hens lay while standing, and have seen some that sit on the nest for awhile, then stand up when the egg actually comes out. The others will see that egg hit the floor, and jump right on it. Sort of like if somebody just tossed them a treat.

    If you decide to eat them, remember that the crock pot is your friend. Cook them on low, for a long time, until the meat starts to fall off the bones. They will be scrawny, though. You'll get a lot more food from them, as layers.
  8. petrelline

    petrelline Songster

    Feb 13, 2009
    Los Gatos, CA
    ISA browns, as a hybrid, won't lay nearly as well after 2 years as other chickens will. Sure, they'll still lay, but the hybrids tend to really front-load the laying in the early years.

    If it were me the egg eating would be a big slant toward the "eat them" side of the scale versus "keep them." I haven't had much luck breaking chickens of the egg-eating habit once they've started, and I've tried all the tricks. Worst of all, I think egg eaters teach the bad habit to other chickens. I'm going to try roll-away nests next, but I have two egg eater chickens right now that are walking steadily down the path to the stew pot.
  9. Farmer_Dan

    Farmer_Dan Songster

    Apr 9, 2010
    I cured a hen of eating eggs by confining her with 3 roosters. They are all buddies so no real fighting between them. Within a day, the girl was laying eggs and leaving them alone.

    Might have been random dumb luck, but it worked for me.[​IMG]

    Then again, they might make some tasty chicken n dumplins!
  10. KatyTheChickenLady

    KatyTheChickenLady Bird of A Different Feather

    Dec 20, 2008
    Boise, Idaho
    they are probably eating them because they are hungry and youhave them confined. If you need layers keep them and work it out . . . FREE LAYERS WOO HOO!! I fyou need dinner more than layersfeed them a lot of corn, let them eat their eggs and butcher in a month . . . FREE MEAT BIRDS WOO HOOO!!!

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