Buying Hens,How do U tell if they,re still young enough to lay??

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by springview2, Oct 28, 2008.

  1. springview2

    springview2 New Egg

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    Oct 26, 2008
    In central Illinois we have small and large animal sales year round,I have seen many nice quality hens but how do you tell if they are to old to still lay?Any help???
     
  2. spook

    spook Chillin' With My Peeps

    I would assume you could tell by body appearance. A older bird will have larger scales on their feet and legs, also I'd say the general feather conditions, as birds that have gone through a number of winters seem to have a duller feathers and face.

    Now there is nothing scientific about my choosing a hen, but you can see the elder hen needs botox around her wattles and comb (JK- LOL)
     
  3. tiki244

    tiki244 Flock Mistress

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    Jan 1, 2008
    WestCentralWisconsin
    If the breast bone is still pliable than it is a pullet. However I suppose you wont run into too many of those. You could also check the bones below the vent to see if they are spread apart enough to know if she is laying now. But that wont tell the age. All around vigor and color is good.
     
  4. chickbea

    chickbea Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 18, 2007
    Vermont
    Well, technically hens will lay their whole life, but production certainly drops off markedly after the first couple of years. In general, most hens lay better in the longer daylight hours of summer than any other season. You will often see hens for sale or free this time of year because people don't want to feed them through the winter when their production is down.
    I assume you are asking about getting lots of eggs for eating. If you are looking for breeders, older hens are a good bet because they have proven longevity and hardiness. If you want lots of eggs, the tips already given above are good. Good layers will also have vibrant, plump combs and wattles, so look for these.
     
  5. mynamehere

    mynamehere New Egg

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    Oct 21, 2008
    Lakeland, FL
    i just bought two 'used' buffs. But now that i have been lurking around here - i am certain one (or both) of them is vintage. I have had them for 11 days and no eggs. [​IMG]

    The scales on her legs are pretty big, and theor toenails are very long.

    This chicken stuff is very new to me...like 11 days new.
    Can you tell from this picture how old she is? the other one is much bigger:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2008
  6. chickbea

    chickbea Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 18, 2007
    Vermont
    Quote:Well, it is fall and all hens are tapering off their production this time of year. Also, like all animals, when hens move to a new location there is often a period of adjustment, so they may have a hold in laying.
    Then again, maybe you do have old ladies, but the one you show a picture of certainly seems healthy and pretty.
     
  7. mynamehere

    mynamehere New Egg

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    Oct 21, 2008
    Lakeland, FL
    well, thank you [​IMG]

    i guess i didnt exactly pick the right time to start learning chicken. Good thing I like them as pets.

    They free range in the back yard (60 x 90') or so..
    do you think they are laying and burying ??
    I have other chickens too, but they are younger. (two bantams, two silkies and two white rocks (i think) - one hen one rooster.

    I have these huge dirt holes in my backyard now, but sometimes they dig the holes, then fill them back up the next day - chickens are weird.
     
  8. carress

    carress Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 26, 2008
    Orange county NY
    Quote:I can't tell how old she is, but she's gorgeous. Wait it out, maybe she's just adjusting.
     
  9. mynamehere

    mynamehere New Egg

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    Oct 21, 2008
    Lakeland, FL
    Quote:ooohh. thank you [​IMG]
    what do you think of my silkies? when i first saw them like this, i thought they were dying. nope. they were literally rolling in the dirt.

    [​IMG]

    and these are our coop inspectors. I inherited them form the neighbors that moved - this new found chicken obsession is all their fault.

    [​IMG]

    and just becasue i am dying to show it off - here is my coop in progress...

    [​IMG]
     
  10. brookwoodpat

    brookwoodpat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 11, 2008
    I'm not a chicken expert, but that buff doesn't look like she is old enough to lay. Her comb is tiny. I have a buff like that and she is not laying yet either. The chickens that I have that are laying are a month older, and before they began to lay, their combs got bigger and redder and their wattles? grew bigger and redder too. Also, if you try to pick up a layer, she will squat (to protect eggs or chicks) while a pullet will just run.
     

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