To eat or not to eat


14 Years
Aug 19, 2007
Northern Utah
Let me start off by saying I've never killed anything in my life. However, I do enjoy eating meat in all forms. I married a hunter and I'm glad he hunts it's just not something I could do. But I'll eat it.

So we got chickens a few years ago and I haven't had to worry about what to do with the "non-layers" until now. But this whole "feeding them then having to buy eggs from other people" thing is getting kinda old. The more I look at them the more they start looking like chicken dinner. They started out as pets BUT I'm slowly turning more towards pets that turn into food. Would they even be any good to eat at this point? I'm guessing this is where the term "stew hen" came from. One is an Anacona, two are Dominique, and another is ?? feed store special. I also have two EE that aren't to this point yet but are they any good for meat?

All of this leads me to a new line of thought. It's not really doing any good to not eat the chickens I raise when I am buying chicken at the store. Chickens still died. At least at home I can control the living conditions, feed, and slaughter method. Also I can buy straight run chicks which are cheaper AND why let the boy chicks be ground up (or whatever) and wasted when I can eat them?

Don't laugh at me. This is actually a huge step for me.
Anyone else take a little while to figure out that eating the chickens you raise is okay? Oh and I won't be the one processing the birds. That will all be done by hubby and father-in-law while I am at work.
I'll pay my FIL in meat.


8 Years
Jun 3, 2011
No laughing at you from my corner!

Like you once were, I can't imaging processing my gals, they're pets as well as egg-layers. But then, they're less than a year old!

I don't think you're wrong at all in your thinking. You sound both practical and compassionate at the same time.

I would say that if you have a gal that is prone to go broody, and you think she might, she might be worth keeping to raise some chicks for you.

As far as being worh eating breed-wise, I can't say. I do know though, that you can put almost any meat into a pressure cooker and it will turn out nice and tender.

Good luck, whatever you decide to do.


8 Years
Mar 14, 2011
New England
If you aren't used to eating "older" chickens that are not meat birds....then you might not love the taste or texture of them, even if you are slow cooking them. They may not have much meat on them (compared to the grocery store at least.) Nothing wrong with eating them, though! If you're interested in getting into raising your own meat birds, then I'd suggest ordering some cornish cross, freedom rangers or red broilers - birds intended for meat production. OR - get your hands on some good quality (not hatchery quality) DP birds to raise.


14 Years
Aug 19, 2007
Northern Utah
Is the taste and texture anything like game birds? The pheasants we eat are pretty tough and dry compared to chicken...

I would like a dual purpose bird because I don't want to raise meat birds separate. I like the idea of being able to order straight run then process the cockrels and let the hens lay for a couple years. I also need a cold hardy bird. I'm thinking orpingtons would be a good choice. Any others?

Also do I get birds from local breeders rather than a hatchery? I'm all for that! Anyone from Utah have any suggestions who to buy from?
Last edited:


Broody Magician
Premium Feather Member
13 Years
May 3, 2009
New Jersey
Your thoughts and feelings are valid. It is part of the progression from chicken 'pet' owner to a more liberal viewpoint where they are treated humanely, harvested and utilized as food. Older hens/chickens are best utilized in soups, stews, pot pies, crock pot recipes and things like that. To me the flavor is not that different, but the texture is stringier. Whatever decision you make - for you that is the 'right' one.


11 Years
Apr 28, 2008
Asheboro, NC
I killed some older roosters and ate them. We used them for chicken and dumplins and they were fine. We cooked ours in a pressure cooker until they fell apart and then made dumplins with the stock and then added the chicken back in. It was delicious!!

People around here sell their old layers at flea markets. Most of the time they don't tell you they are not laying well anymore. Most of them turn into a chicken dinner once the buyer figures out they will not lay as expected.

They are pets until they no longer pay for themselves or at least make an attempt to pay for themselves. When the eggs stop they get ate.



8 Years
Nov 30, 2011
Tooele, Utah
So what time is dinner? lol.

OP, I don't see anything wrong with processing birds that you have raised and cared for yourself. In my view, it's good to be able to use the meat off of that bird once they've reached a certain age, rather than letting them waste away so that you can't use much of anything off it. I can understand wanting to keep that bird around for companionship, instead, but the cost of keeping it around is a good thing to be thinking about, especially anymore.

I say whichever way you go with this, is totally up to you and your right as the owner of that animal. My boyfriend had an "old" turkey that he never got around to processing, and I think it was because he'd become very fond of the bird. However, after the tom keeled over, there was a hen of the same age who was having health issues and we culled her, partly for mercy's sake. She will now be making some very good turkey noodle soup.


8 Years
Dec 25, 2011
face it , there livestock. and as livestock,if it dont pay its way its gone. either on the table or sold. ya just got to be that way or ya go broke feeding them ,not to mention time and effort. i've got rir,pbr,jg,slw,bo's and they lay or get ate or sold. mostly ate...


9 Years
Apr 18, 2010
That's it right there! The part about how you know where they have been...that's it 100% for a lot of people I know - also...I know a TON of people will tell you that "DP" birds are not as worth it as a sense, they aren't sometimes...BUT...if you enjoy hatching your own eggs...well...there's gonna be extra roosters and they should be functioning members of the flock...productive even if it is a one way ticket to freezer while if the WHOLE POINT is to get meat fast, then go for the broilers...but if you just want to be able to process extras out of your own hatches, well, it's gonna be a different product..but still a valuable edible one!

I say go for it (even if it is not you doing it) and I HIGHLY encourage you to take small steps towards learning - at one point I was doubtful I could ever learn...but now I do most of it by myself while hubby is working...of course, I am also not patient enough to wait for him to be that kind of helped spur my independence on as well

It is a VERY hard step to take sometimes from pet to livestock...but not a bad one at all, just a hard one. But I think you can do it

ETA: OH! And that straight run being cheaper thing...NOT ALWAYS TRUE! I dare you...put in an order of half and half SEXED chicks of any breed ...THAN do the SAME number of straight run and see what you get for the final price...I can think of 2 hatcheries off of the top of my head where it is actually CHEAPER to buy them sexed 50/50 than hope for 50/50 straight run...only a dollar or 2 cheaper ...BUT STILL! It's just the point! Try it...make a mock order of 6 RIR hens and 6 roos....then delete it and do 12 straight run and see what you get for the total each time...just saying...LOOKS cheaper, BUT NOT ALWAYS SO!
Last edited:

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom