Who is Laying.....and Who is Not? Butt Check!

Who is Laying.....and Who is Not? Butt Check! [IMG]
By aart · Nov 6, 2017 · ·
  1. aart
    I've typed this out many times in the past few days,
    so decided to put it in an article so I can link it in responses.

    Got pullets newly laying and not sure who is laying and who is not?
    This also applies to older birds.
    Under the tail will tell the true tale, so part those fluffy feathers and take a look!
    Yeahyeah, might sound gross, butt(haha) it's good thing to learn how to do.
    Might not tell you who is laying what, gotta catch 'em in the 'hot egged' act for that,
    but if you start early and every time time you find a tiny new egg,
    do the butt check to see who the new layer is,
    and it might tell you who is laying what.

    Vent Appearance:
    Dry, tight, and smaller - usually not laying.
    Moist, wide, and larger - usually laying.

    Pelvic Points, feel for the 2 bony points(pelvic bones F-F) on either side of vent:
    Less than 2 fingertip widths apart usually means not laying.
    More than 2 fingertip widths apart usually means laying.
    (Spacing is relative with chickens size and humans finger size.)
    (Spacing also relative with bantams, compare laying to not laying birds.)
    With practice and experience it will get easier.

    Here's another illustration that might be helpful (the pelvic points are labeled 'pubic'),
    tho I have no experience with the distance between vent and breastbone:
    Chicken Pubic and Keel bones.jpg

    For those having trouble finding the pelvic points, this video shows it pretty clearly on old older bare butted hen. The hardest part of butt checks can be getting the feathers out of the way to see the vent and find the pelvic points.

    Other new layers notes:
    New layers can be quite goofy acting, they don't know what they are doing at first and can be confused and anxious, it can take up to a month or so before they get it all figured out. Putting some fake eggs or golf balls in the nest might help show them where to lay. They may scratch around in the nests for weeks before laying, spreading the bedding everywhere. They will scratch around a bit less in nest as they get used to the routine. Meanwhile, eggs everywhere, some of them can be rather funky looking, soft or thin shelled, huge double yolked eggs.

    Signs of onset of lay---I've found the pelvic points(see above) to be the most accurate.
    BUTT(haha!) messing of the nests is the surest sign that an egg is imminent.

    If you touch their back they will hunker down on the ground, then shake their tail feathers when they get back up.
    Tho not all birds will do this, especially if there's a cockbird in the flock.
    This shows they are sexually mature and egg laying is close at hand.

    Combs and Wattles:
    Plump, shiny red - usually means laying.
    Shriveled, dryish looking and pale - usually means not laying.
    Tho I have found that the combs and wattles can look full and red one minute then pale back out the next due to exertion or excitement, can drive ya nuts when waiting for a pullet to lay!

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  1. HuffleClaw
    Hey aart! Wonderful article, well-written too!

    Would you be able to help me?
    I did this with my bantams, I have 1 laying, but all the widths are the same. :idunno

    But with my large-fowl girls, it works! :highfive:
    1. aart
      Just keep checking and comparing...I have no experience with bantams....but maybe your bantam *isn't* laying, time will tell.
      HuffleClaw likes this.
    2. HuffleClaw
      She’s laying. For sure, but I get what you’re saying. I’ll keep trying, although they’re all at least POL of that could be why. :)

      Thanks again! :)
      aart likes this.
    3. aart
      Yes, it could very well be that they are all close to laying, the pelvic point spacing is not an absolute...they can spread a week or more before eggs appear.
  2. HuffleClaw
    Wonderful! Thanks aart!
  3. Debbi H
    Thank you for this article! I had to laugh when I saw the guy in the video with a white shirt on. My hubby can't keep a white shirt clean for more than 10 min! haha
      ChickNanny13 likes this.
  4. Lady J
    Ooooo. I do notice a couple of my bigger girls squatting when I pet them. I just figured they were trying to shake me off and fluff their feathers back up.
  5. Mistolove
    Thank you for the details on laying. Very informative.
      ChickNanny13 likes this.
  6. deedledumpling1
    Thank you, this is very helpful. My chicks are 15 weeks, I can see they have been rooting around in the nesting boxes (that are elevated with a roost out front of them). Good to know they are exploring them, and no poop in the boxes. Do I need to worry about 3 windows at the east facing side of the coop? Should I put curtains on the windows, or am thinking at least the nesting boxes. Thoughts for a new mama. Also gonna put fake eggs in soon. My Roo just started crowing, he is so cute!
      Lady J and Debbi H like this.
    1. aart
      I would say no curtains are needed.
    2. Lady J
      Oh, a rooster learning to crow is so cute and awkward. I scared me when I heard it for the first time. I thought something was wrong. Nope. He was just trying to find his voice. He is a total pro now.
    3. Debbi H
      Haha....roosters' first crows really are cute. My little bantam rooster is named Doodle. My niece named him that because when he was first learning to crow, all he got out was a little "doodle", not a whole cock-a-doodle-doo!
  7. ChickenCanoe
  8. ElfEars
    Very interesting information!! I've been wondering this myself! Thank you

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