3 hens; which one is laying?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by suburbanhomesteader, Apr 9, 2007.

  1. I have 3 game hens I got at a rather scruffing-looking swapmeet, and I get one egg every 4-5 days. How do I tell which hen is laying the eggs?

    I have one evil hen, who picks on the others unmercifully, and would love to "soup-pot" her, unless she's the one laying the eggs. Then, I will just put her in solitary confinement.

    One of them is quite sweet, and after just a week is already eating out of my hand. I would love it if she was the layer.

    I've read that you can look at their vent and tell; how does one accomplish that? Do you turn them on their back, or hold them over your head? What do you look for?

    Eeegads....I can't believe I'm going to do this!

    One other question, while I'm at it...

    Do all chickens have red eyes? These have red/orange eyes and they kind of creep me out. My baby barred rock seems to have grey eyes; they're a lot easier to look at. Will they turn red?

    Last, but not least: I have a chicken tractor with an open 8'x5'x5'tall run and a 3'x5' x 3' tall enclosed box on the back. Inside the box is the nest box. Both the open space and the box have roosts. The other night, it was going to get down to 30 degrees, but the hens didn't want to go into the box area (I had put a lot of straw on the floor, to block the winds). At roosting time, should I force them into the more protected area at that temp? What about lower temps?

    Thanks for all your help; I searched on these questions, but didn't find answers to them in the 30 minutes I spent looking through the selected posts.
  2. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress

    Feb 28, 2007
    South Eastern Indiana
    Well....as far as the mean one, I would isolate her anyways...maybe she will lose her pecking order status a little....maybe for a few days...and you might find out who is laying as well. I would think she will be your layer...the others are maybe too scared to lay?? I dunno....

    Im not sure on the whole vent thing...ugh, I dont like looking there! LOL

    Red eyes....maybe just thier breed being game hens?

    Have the hens ever gone intothe boxed in area?? Maybe they are not comfortable going in there? Do they lay in there? Do you have any other place to put them if it gets colder? I would be concerned of the cold...maybe lock them in a few nights in a row...they will get used to going in there??
  3. Rooster01

    Rooster01 Songster

    Feb 25, 2007
    Southern WV
    You can also find who is laying by looking at the feet and beaks if their feet and beaks are yellow. The one whos laying will have pale yellow feet and breaks while the non layers will have bright yellow feet and beaks. This won't work with chickens with dark beaks and chickens with black or Green feet.
  4. patsebat

    patsebat Hatching

    Mar 19, 2007
    Southern California
    I discovered when my hens were laying that if you approached them with your hand above their back and they squatted down and spread their wings out a bit and did not run away, they were ready to lay. (This is the position they take when mating.) Plus their hips get wider and they start to waddle more.
    I hope you haven't looked at their vent too closely yet! If the hens are stressed out, they won't lay...so maybe your mean one is laying...keep her seperate for a time and see what happens before you "soup pot" her!
    I don't know about the red eyes...maybe they're up all night being stressed and don't get much sleep???!! It's a thought!
  5. Sigh....Rooster, you were right. Looking very closely at them, 2 have nearly white feet and beaks, and one has pale yellow feet and beak. The pale yellow one also has almost no comb, and the other two have small combs.

    The bad news is that it is the friendly one who appears to be the non-layer. I need to figure out how to separate them (I only have a chicken tractor) and get EW (Evil Witch) out of there. The other layer (OL) is getting a bald back of the neck from EW's pecking every time OL finds something tasty or goes to the food trough. I'm trying not to name anyone, so I don't get attached (well, except that I named my barred rock pullet Bo, for Bo Peep).

    Got two eggs today, though! I'm feeling like quite the little farm woman! Had a salad with my own, home-grown lettuce and radishes and topped it with hard-boiled eggs from my own chickens. That was one satisfying meal, I'll tell you!
  6. M.J

    M.J Songster

    Apr 15, 2007
    Im a 4-her and i do poultry judging and one way two tell if the hen is laying is take you fingers and at the vent place them flate to feel the bones if there wide spread apart and are flexsible then they are laying if there close together and not flexsable there not laying.
  7. chickbea

    chickbea Songster

    Jan 18, 2007
    Don't give up on your sweetie! She may be getting picked on too much to get comfortable enough to lay. She may also be coming off molt and just not back in lay yet.
    You can easily look at a hen's vent when she is bending over pecking at a treat. There are worse sights in the world! If the hen is currently laying, the vent will be moist and pliable.

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