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Cooking the chooks

I am often asked about how we cook our homegrown chickens.  Many people assume that they are all tough and need to be stewed.  Its true that the older chickens can be tough, but the extra roosters that we hatch and kill after 9-12 months are tender enough to roast and very tasty.  We cook the roast chicken in our webber BBQ, in a roasting dish with some chicken stock (I usually forget to defrost it, but it melts as the dish heats up), and the cavity stuffed with herbs and garlic.  Just cook the chicken for a couple of hours on medium heat and use the stock to make delicious gravy.  The bones can then be used to make more stock in the slow cooker.

eight acres: cooking homestead- raised chickens
I can never get the legs to fold back like supermarket chickens!
For the older hens and roosters, I usually portion the chicken as I'm butchering.  I keep the legs and thighs for casserole, and the breast meat for mince.  We usually use the mince for meat balls, with either a tomato or creamy sauce.  The casserole options are endless. and the chicken gets tender if its cooked all day in the slow cooker.  Our favourites are:

  • Chicken curry
  • Chicken with red wine and tomato (kind of coq au vine)
  • Chicken with white wine and mushrooms
I know some people can't bring themselves to kill and eat chickens that they have raised, but if works really well for us.  For a start the chicken tastes better.  If I have supermarket chicken now, it just tastes bland and has a weird crumbly texture.  Homegrown chicken is succulant and tasty.  I also like to know that the chicken I'm eating had a nice life.  Sure it was a short one, but it got to go outside and run around with the other chickens.  Supermarket chickens, even if they are free-range organic, have just as short a life, and who knows how they are really treated?

How do you cook your chooks?

By the way, my chicken eBook is now available if you want to know more about backyard chickens and using chicken tractors.  More information over at the chicken tractor ebook blog.  Or you can get it directly from my shop on Etsy (.pdf format), or Amazon Kindle or just send me an email eight.acres.liz {at}

What's the eBook about?
Chickens in a confined coop can end up living in an unpleasant dust-bowl, but allowing chickens to free-range can result in chickens getting into gardens and expose them to predators.

 A movable cage or “chicken tractor” is the best of both options – the chickens are safe, have access to clean grass, fresh air and bugs. Feed costs are reduced, chickens are happier, and egg production increases. 

 But how do you build a chicken tractor? What aspects should be considered in designing and using a chicken tractor effectively? In this eBook I aim to explain how to make a chicken tractor work for you in your environment to meet your goals for keeping chickens. 

I also list what I have learnt over 10 years of keeping chickens in tractors of various designs and sizes, from hatching chicks, through to butchering roosters.

Reviews of the Design and Use a Chicken Tractor


  1. We eat our older hens and excess roosters too. But I know ours had good lives, that is far longer than shop bought. Many in the supermarket would only be 40 days! And I can never get over the water in them when we cook them

  2. I have heard that Animal Control is overwhelmed these days with calls about chickens who have been abandoned in public places because their owners didn't want to butcher them, but also didn't want to keep them after they stopped laying. I think it is probably much better to just eat them, as you are doing! - Jessica @ Bint Rhoda's Kitchen

  3. We are like you and kill our own chickens for the table. I looked at the picture and thought "yep young rooster" but I wondered (in fact I think I know some people) if there would be people who would be thinking there was something wrong with your chicken (why is it so skinny etc). I don't think there is any taste at all in store bought chicken and would never order off a menu given a choice. Not when I have eaten slow roasted farm chicken.

  4. Great ways to cook them! I typically just roast ours & pick the meat for baked chicken or if we need chicken meat for casseroles. I'm still not that great at butchering chickens so I can't separate it just to cook the chicken breasts, wings, or legs. It has to be done all together! Haha!

  5. We eat our roosters and I cook them in the slow cooker. Then divide the meat up into portions to make meals like curries, casseroles etc. I agree, they taste so much better than those horrid bought ones. Our teenager, nearly adult son refuses to eat them though grrr!

    What age do you cull them so they are not tough? We have four young roosters out in the pen at the moment.

  6. Thanks for posting, we cull our excess roosters and find they need to slow cook to be tender but oh how tasty. We skin them and portion out when butchering. A few were smoked and I just shredded the meat real fine and it made wonderful chicken salad.


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