Broody/identifying culls


In the Brooder
10 Years
Jun 25, 2009
Foothills of central CA
Just a little input for other novices like me; I had my first broody hen recently, she is a 7-8 month old black astrolorp who turned broody almost as soon as she started laying eggs. She wouldn't leave the nest unless I moved her myself. So I put her in a separate cage, within the chicken pen (not the coop) w/ food & water and set the cage a few inches off the ground, no straw, no nest box or anything. Left her there for four days and that did the trick.
The other issue I'm seeking input on is my idea of identifying the non-productive hens I have. I have 11 total, some 8 months of age (I'll assume they're all productive) but the rest range from 1-3 years. Out of 11 hens I get about 5-6 eggs a day, not any more than that. So I know there's some "freeloaders" out there. I've installed a security camera in the coop aimed at the 3 nest boxes and the view (clarity) is pretty good, but not great. I have some hens that are the same breed and are hard to differentiate on camera. I guess I'll have to sit at the computer and watch which ones enter the boxes and actually lay an egg (some enter and sit for a while and don't!) but what I'd really like to do is to mark or tag them. I could make a tag around their neck but I'm afraid they'd come off too easily. My next idea it to number them with a sharpie on their combs, 1,2,3 ect.
, yes I agree that sounds odd. But I think it would wear off eventually, the only thing is I wouldn't want to "poison" them with the ink... Any thoughts on this or other ideas as to how to cull the non layers? Of course I've already thought of isolating each one in a cage and see what they lay, but wouldn't that stress them enough to where they might not lay anyway and therefore not be effective? I thank anyone ahead of time for their input.
I saw a post on here where someone put different color food dyes around their vents and that told them who laid what. Eggs would come out streaked in whatever color. I have never done this but you can search for the thread and read about it.

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