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How long is it good "on the stump" before picking it?
 

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As long as the flesh is still somewhat soft it is good. Once they start to get tough and leathery they aren't as good.
 

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The fresher the better. I pick them as soon as I find them as long as they are bright in color, not dried out or infested with bugs. But the older specimans do make good giv-aways. Chickens are not one of my favorite edibles mainly because I havn't figured out cousin Ruth's recipe and secret style of frying them, even though I watched her do them many times. Old folks and their bacon fat, I guess there just is no subsitute.
 
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