Animals eaten young [edited title]

My gf made a huge pot of lamb and barley soup, which got us discussing the consumption of young animals. Of course there is veal (cow babies) and suckling pig. In lands where horse-meat is eaten (lookin’ at you, Francois), is there a market for foal? What other animals are specifically enjoyed young?

I edited the thread title for clarity. It was originally “Eating the young.”

What about those embryo chickens (ducks?) they eat in Asia? Can’t get much younger than that.

ETA: Corrected location and added link

Meat chickens are slaughtered at 8 weeks, usually. Sometimes they make it to 12 weeks.

Turkeys are slaughtered at 12 weeks, though some go to 26 weeks.

What about eggs? Caviar? or do those not count since they are unborn? I can’t think of anything else really.

When I was in Slovenia, one restaurant had foal on the menu. I still regret not trying it.

baby corn? tadpole soup? [/smartass]

“Baby eels” are routinely eaten (well, not in the U.S., but in Spain and various Asian countries), although I really don’t know if those are infant eels or just a smaller variety.


Pate made from a goose force fed baby seal meat. (this was a suggestion from a ‘cruelest food’ discussion, maybe nobody actually makes it that way).

Cool! That was really what we were wondering about. I’ve never had horse, but a friend (an anatomy professor) had it in Mexico. He had ordered “ribs” and his knowledge of anatomy told him the source.

I can’t believe the OP ate baby barley before its time.

Cornish game hen seems like some mystical bird to people, but no, it’s just young chicken. Same with poussin; these are either synonyms or slightly different ages,

I can’t think of any animal that’s routinely eaten by humans that isn’t also eaten when it’s young.

(The definition of routinely has been left as an exercise to the reader, but I’m willing to bet that in those areas where cats, dogs, and rats are eaten, people also eat the young versions of each.)

They are juveniles. The eels live in rivers, but migrate to the sea to spawn (the opposite of what salmon do), so at a certain time of year, the rivers are (or used to be) teeming with millions of juveniles swimming upstream from the sea, and they’re very easy to just scoop out with a net.

I ate them in Spain a couple of years ago - they’re nice.

The popularity of Baby Back Ribs is the reason you never see an adult Back in the wild anymore.

And then there is the tragedy of the Tater Tots.

I’ve never heard of anyone eating a fawn (young deer). Illegal to hunt. Also, very little meat.

Six weeks for chickens, at least in US. Twelve weeks is old age to be slaughtered in the broiler (meat chicken) world. Those that survive that long are usually selected for breeding the next generation of broilers. And yes, they may be culled anywhere along the process, but 12 weeks is less common, 6 weeks is more common in “all in/all out” operations.

There is an ongoing campaign in Spain to avoid eating too-young fish.

Goats are eaten as “lechales” same as lamb: the word literally means “suckling”.

Not so much around here, but caterpillars are a favorite snack in some parts of the world, usually fried and salted. I’m not sure if they’re baby moths or baby butterflies, but they’re immature somethings.

The first fancy meal I made for my gf was osso buco. It was fabulous, possibly the best meal I’ve ever made. As we were sitting around sipping wine after the meal, my gf was asking about the difficulty factor. I said that the hardest part was tracking down the veal shanks.


She explained that she hadn’t had veal in 30 years, for the reason most carnivores who avoid veal cite.

We have eaten it from time to time since. :wink: (she now buys “humanely raised and slaughtered organic veal”)