What are your favourite ways for using the entire meat/dual purpose/old layer birds?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by MasAhora, Dec 11, 2016.

  1. MasAhora

    MasAhora Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 20, 2016
    I am searching an amazing number of threads and posts (wow the hours it takes to read it all!!), I want to learn and to be as respectful and thrifty as I can be to the chickens we cull. Perhaps people have a few ideas they could share?

    I really do not want to waste any part of my culled chicken and in the next few weeks/months I will have a mix of old layers (2-3 years), younger layer cockerels and meat birds (not cornish x) ready for the pot as we head into winter.
    So far I got great chicken stock and stews from older layers. I am not sure what to do with the claws in our freezer[​IMG], I didn't like their heads and intestines being thrown out - seems a waste. I love the livers!!
    We give the chooks a great life and appreciate what they give in return (a wonderful source of food). I confess, I love my dogs most and so want, especially for my old tumor ridden dog with pancreas issues, to eat healthy food (I cook her a special diet and it has saved her life many times over the last 16 years). So pet food ideas are also important to me. Apologies if this upsets you, I can't live contentedly without a dog by my side.[​IMG]
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    I use the liver, heart and gizzard.
    I don't do it but you can also use the feet. Clean them up really well to make a gelatinous broth.
    Assuming you could use the kidneys too.
    I was teaching a processing class and when I got to the part of extracting the lungs, someone asked if you could eat the lungs. A Chinese woman said, "Chinese don't use the lungs and if Chinese don't eat them then they can't be eaten". [​IMG]
    The feathers can be used for a variety of things from crafts to flies for fishing.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2016
  3. MasAhora

    MasAhora Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 20, 2016
    I lived in SE Asia a while... if they do not eat it, then it is beyond us!! 30 years ago, acting brave, I ate roasted chickens feet...think I prefer the idea of broth! Do you toss the claw/bone bits out or feed them to other animals?

    Some folks chuck the lungs and intestines into the hen pen... is this OK? I am worried about cannibalism and attracting predators if left uneaten. Or are lungs and intestines good for cooked dog food?
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I've decided....just because I don't eat it doesn't mean it's being wasted.

    there are some parts of the bird I'm simply not hungry enough to eat.

    Parts I don't want to eat go to the dogs first. Then to the flock. Then to the compost pile. The compost goes on the veggies I eat next year, so in essence I do wind up eating those parts.....

    May not be exactly what you're looking for, but it's a way of looking at things.
  5. TroyerGal

    TroyerGal Chillin' With My Peeps

    Use the feet in broth too!
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    When I process chickens I have several containers and bags handy. Ice chest too of course. The breasts, wishbone, thighs, and drumsticks go into one bag, that’s the stuff for the table. The feet go into a different bag. The wings, back, neck, gizzard, and heart into yet another bag for broth. I have two buckets. One gets the stuff I’ll bury in the garden. I skin them so it contains the head, feathers, and skin mostly. I have collected rooster saddle and hackle feathers and given those to people that make jewelry. The other bucket gets the bits I feed back to the chickens. This includes guts, fat, lungs, crop, cockerel sexual organs, and various other internal parts. I feed the livers to my dogs after removing the gall bladder.

    I freeze the stuff for the table, double-wrapping it in freezer paper in serving size. I scald the feet so I can peel them and twist the toenails off. That gets the feet clean enough for me. I bring a pan of water to boil, drop in the feet, and 15 to 20 seconds later dump them into my sink. If you over-scald the skin tears horribly, but if you can force yourself to only leave them cooking for less than 20 seconds they are pretty easy to peel. That’s hard for some people to do, thinking if 20 seconds is good, 25 is better. No it is not. I freeze the feet and the other broth stuff in a zip-loc type bag and use that to make broth.

    I save the bones from the table stuff and freeze them. When I’m ready to make broth I put those bones from the cooked meat covered in water in a crock pot and cook them overnight on low, often for 14 to 16 hours. I strain the bones out and toss those in the trash. You can feed raw bones to your dog but cooked bones can splinter. Don’t feed cooked bones. That strained water is what I use to make the broth.

    I try to only feed enough of the stuff to the chickens that they can clean it up before dark. If I have too much, I bury that in the garden with the other stuff.
  7. rebrascora

    rebrascora Overrun With Chickens

    Feb 14, 2014
    Consett Co.Durham. UK
    I'm like you and just figuring out how much I can use.
    I feed the lungs back to the chickens raw and they love them, along with the feet and combs once they have made broth....just not enough meat on them and lots of fine sinew, so not worth going beyond first attempt at human consumption. I did feed the testes to the hens the first time around but I noticed messy bums later in the week and I think perhaps those male hormones were not a good idea. Liver goes into pate, spleen, heart, gizzard, neck and feet make stock/broth. I don't have a dog so head and intestines get buried but the chickens get the crop and gizzard contents. (I don't starve them before processing).
  8. MasAhora

    MasAhora Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 20, 2016
    I am loving this, more of my family is coming around to the idea of having a home grown humane 'supermarket' for meat, stock and compost as I share your knowledge. The circle of life.

    Soon my kitchen/freezer will be set up for canning and stock making and bagging various parts (living in a construction zone for the minute). It will actually be a pleasure to invest a bit of effort to make the best use of our feathered friends.... city life is a million miles away from me now.[​IMG]
  9. NJWMaine

    NJWMaine Out Of The Brooder

    May 18, 2016
    We just save the hearts and liver for us. We save the feet and clip the nails off, then freeze them and give them to the dogs frozen. They love them.

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