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Using Laying Hens for Meat

When your hen’s egg-producing days are done, send her off humanely with one last meal.

By Cynthia Amidon


Step 7: Use Chicken Meat

Roasted chicken
Photo by Rachael Brugger
Roasting is just one of many ways to put a processed chicken to use.

Heidi and Ken’s favorite way of utilizing their processed laying hens is as stew chicken. Because of the abundance of tough but flavorful muscle on their free-range chicken, they find the best method of preparation to be one that allows the meat to simmer for a long time.

Traditionally, older chickens were highly sought after as stew chicken, and they’re still favored in traditional cultures for chicken stew and recipes, such as coq au vin. Often Heidi simply stews the meat in water with onion and herbs for flavorful stock and saves the chicken pieces for use in other recipes. (See “Turn Tough Old Birds into Tender Dinners” in the Summer 2010 issue of Chickens for five great recipes for aged-out hens.)

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Using Laying Hens for Meat

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Reader Comments
I found it a very useful and interesting step-by-step. I need to cull my older hens this year and wish it to be as clean, humaneand efficient as possible.
Gail Moa, Port Townsend, WA
Posted: 5/14/2013 2:09:26 PM
I use by hens to make great pots of chicken-n-dumplings and noodle soup. ABSOULUTELY THE BEST.
Ken, Bridgeton, MO
Posted: 10/27/2011 11:48:40 AM
Practical idea, but I'm not sure I'm up to it yet. I sell mine at 1-1 1/2 years old and start a whole new flock. Eventually I'll have to bite the bullet and process my older hens, but not yet.
Eloise, San Jose, CA
Posted: 8/3/2011 9:20:01 PM
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