Would you eat a chicken that died through sickness, or injury?



Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 31, 2018
Bristol UK
My Coop
My Coop
Some of the chickens I look after are growing old. I recently had a hen die at about 11 years old and I have a few in the 7 to 10 years old range. My policy here has been to provide a home for the elderly whether they still lay eggs, or not, until they either die of old age, or contract medical problems that mean their quality of life becomes so poor that death to me at least, seems preferable. It's not a judgment I find easy to make.
I have in the past eaten chickens that have been killed by other predators. My emotional reaction is to want to bury them, but my rational view is I'm burying perfectly edible meat.
I can understand there being a reluctance to eat a deceased chicken that has recently undergone say a course of antibiotics, but what about those that have no harmful drug residue when they die?
Interesting questions and very much a personal decision. I've eaten an injured chicken before. It had a bad leg and the thigh and drumstick on that side were discolored so I discarded those but ate the rest.

I've never eaten a chicken killed by a predator, but I've had very few of those. But predators can have some pretty nasty bacteria on their teeth or claws from the meat they otherwise eat. That's what can make certain animal bites or scratches dangerous. I might consider it if the only damage was to the head but probably not. Another possible issue is that it's never a convenient time to butcher anyway when I find them so I've ever really been faced with that decision.

I've never eaten a chicken that died from disease or medical reasons. Again, very few opportunities but I don't keep mine around for old age. Theoretically very few if any chicken diseases are not going to transfer to humans. If you cook them well you're going to disinfect them anyway, the only time of risk might be before you cook them and I think that risk is really small.

It's probably a bad analogy but predators pick off a lot of diseased prey because they can be easier to catch, or they scavenge recently dead animals. Their immune system is probably a lot stronger than ours since they do it often, that's why i think it is a bad analogy.

I grew up in the ridges of Appalachia many decades ago. I had relatives that lived much as people in the mountains lived in the 1800's, subsistence. They lived off of what they could get from the land. I have absolutely no doubt if one of their chickens had died from disease they would have eaten it. But I don't have to live like that and maybe I'm not that tough. So while in theory there is probably nothing wrong with eating a chicken that died from a disease I wouldn't do it because of what I call my personal YUK! factor.
I'm even grappling with the question of whether or not I should let the brooder chicks, both meat and egg or one or the other group, onto pasture.
The egg group could benefit highly from pasture, but what if they then leave something in their poo to contaminate the shared brooder?
What sort of things might end up contaminating my meat birds?

Then again, we did take care of Egg Eating Kathy by turning her into soup.
She made a fine soup.
I try to not consider what *could have been* in that bird. Cooking on low for two days should've taken care of anything!
It is worth bearing in mind that the probability is we eat meat from various animals that are carriers of a number of diseases and certainly in the not so distant past, treated with various drugs to promote growth and combat disease.
Given the prevalence of Mareks for example the probability is eventually if you eat chicken you will eat one that is a carrier.
I'm inclined to believe that adequate cooking will kill bacteria introduced by say a predators claws or beak.

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