what do you do with strictly egg layers?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by chkinut, Feb 6, 2012.

  1. chkinut

    chkinut Songster

    Feb 25, 2010
    Leesburg, Ohio
    i'm new to researching processing birds. we are just starting this year with 2 Cornish X just to see how it goes. (we are very small scale....lol) but i'm curious....you hear people talk about strictly meaties, or going the DP route. but what do you do with strictly egg layers when they are "spent" and need to be replaced by younger egg layers? i'm talkin about the Leghorns etc. heck, i've had EE who are scrawny, but are great layers of jumbo eggs. what would you do with a small bird? process it anyway and use 2 of them for one meal? use 1 and stretch it by putting it in a stew? [​IMG] also,i get attached to my layers cuz they're around for awhile. any hints as to how NOT to get attached?
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2012
  2. draye

    draye Crowing

    Nov 30, 2010
    Spent layers make good stew hens. Even the "scrawny ones" make good dumplings and chicken noodle soup.
    The last ones I processed were ground up to make ground chicken. Makes a good chicken hamburger.
  3. Fenika

    Fenika Songster

    Sep 25, 2010
    For not getting (too!) attached, always remember your birds, even the layers have two purposes (or more), and one of them is to provide food. Know that most will meet their end through you or someone you hire to process them.

    Treat them kindly, enjoy their company, but know their days are ultimately numbered. It is also helpful if you keep enough birds of the same type that very few of them stand out as individuals. Yes, you will have a few that are instantly recognizable and possibly full of personality, but the more that are 'just another of the flock' the easier it is.

    And on the day, briefly thank them for providing for you and carry them quickly to their end.
  4. jessicayarno

    jessicayarno Songster

    Oct 6, 2011
    Pacific Northwest
    It doesn't get a whole lot easier when processing time comes even after doing it more than once. I think it's the way God intended, for us to have that deep appreciation for where our food comes from. I still shed tears and I honestly hope I always do, and it just makes me so much more greatful for an anima'ls sacrifice to feed my family.
  5. Kickin' Chickin'

    Kickin' Chickin' Songster

    Nov 8, 2010
    Upstate New York
    I don't name the ones that I know for sure are meant for meat, it helps a little.
  6. Smiles-N-Sunshine

    Smiles-N-Sunshine Songster

    Oct 19, 2008
    Palominas, Arizona
    I love the flock, but keep in mind that individual birds come and go. Butchering day is never as much fun as hatch day, but they're equally important parts of the process.

    I de-personalize things a bit by not naming the hens, having only one breed, and keeping the meat in freezer camp until the "who" becomes a "what". But you should feel a bit emotional on butchering day - if you don't, you're not a caring person (in my opinion). I try to concentrate those feelings into making sure the killing is as quick and painless as possible, appreciate the animal and its life, and looking forward to filling the freezer with healthy, humane food.
  7. rarely bored

    rarely bored Songster

    Jan 22, 2011
    Central California
    I think this question goes with the OP's line of questioning, so if nobody minds, I'll toss it here. When an older hen is processed for kitchen use, should the carcass still rest for days in the frig or would it be ok to start making soup with it right away? And what special cooking techniques would you use? Lower heat, long time?

    Have one old hen which I have a love/hate relationship with... doubt I'll be able to do the deed with her, but the rest are fair game.
  8. Smiles-N-Sunshine

    Smiles-N-Sunshine Songster

    Oct 19, 2008
    Palominas, Arizona
    Yep - slow 'n' low. A crock pot is perfect, in my opinion. [​IMG]

    I've made stock from necks and backs of freshly slaughtered stewing hens, and didn't notice a difference in the texture of what little meat there was. But I usually simmer stew bones for 6-8 hours, so your results may vary if you cook for less time or use different cuts of meat.
    1 person likes this.

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