My older hens went on a egg laying strike, now I was faithful, they were older and they had moulted but with the rising costs of feed, they need to be giving something back, yes I can hold back a few good broody hens but this is a hard cull year..
Needless to say after watching them eat and eat but getting no rewards in the laying nests from this group of older hens, it was time to send them to butcher camp, only issue with that is that these are older hens, so they are good for pressure canning, broth making and for long term curing, but not stewing or roasting or fresh cooking..
So because I knew what I was going to be using them for, I skinned them, so fast and easy compared to plucking.. and boy were these some fat birds!
So I breaste them out, taking the white meat for curing, more on that later with recipes coming, then I boned out the legs/thighs for pressure canning, one bird per pint jar is being done with bone in ( I really find that you just don’t get good flavour in the meat without doing it bone in but that’s just me) and of course liver for a special treat for me, and then the rest either went for broth making, with the best select feathers held back for use and the rest composted out for future soil making.
What do you do with old layer hens that are kept well past typical butchering age? Do you pressure can them? Do you make broth and can it?
I have been known to run a nursing home for aged hens, believing in kindness to those who provided well during the best years of their lives. But with the cost of grain (winter feed), I’ve become more pragmatic.
I, also, skin rather than pluck. I roast them all in a big pan, covered, on a rack with 1/2 inch of water. I find the meat easier to pick off the bones when they are cooked. I chop up the meat for soups & casseroles and pressure can it in pint jars. I use the juices from the roasting pan for the fluid in the jars. Pressure canning makes the meat more tender. Canned this way will keep several years if accidentally hidden behind green beans.
Sounds like a really good way to do this, have you ever tried pressure canning from a raw start with bone in, as you are using the juices, I imagine that you are getting alot of the same flavour the way you are doing it but if you have ever canned just plain old breasts, they are very bland, compared to boned in pressure canned older birds.
I hear you, I have been known to keep really good broody hens till the age of three or five, I even have one six year old hen, she pays her way by being one of the best broody girls in terms of chicks hatched and raised, and I will keep a few of those girls for next’s years hatching but I just can’t keep as many as normal.
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