Stewing about the Hens

The cold weather has forced my hand.  I’ve not wanted to deal with it but now I have to.  My winter coop will only house about 25 hens and my older laying hens are not giving me many eggs this fall.  I’m getting a pretty consistent 4 each day (from 18 birds!)  I made the decision earlier this fall to follow a commercial model replace 1/2 the flock each year.   I purchased some pullets who should start laying in the next month or two.  This should ensure a good supply of eggs again, but is a hen over the hill at her second winter?  Probably not, she’s just not as efficient.   

Again, I straddle the line between hobbiest and business.   Old hens=expensive eggs.  But throwing away a life doesn’t sit well either.  So I am now making stewing hens from my old(ish) girls.   For the next few mornings I will be processing a bird or two each day and making the most fantastic mineral rich, glucosamine filled broth.  Healthy omega-3 fatty acids, gelatin and chondroitans, I keep telling myself.  If any locals want a home butchered stewing hen next week just give me a shout.  Seven more to go.  Sucks.

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