Determining Age of Adult Birds

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by WVDan, Aug 7, 2008.

  1. WVDan

    WVDan Out Of The Brooder

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    Is there a method of determining the age of adult chickens? How do you know if a bird is 2 or 5? I would like to buy adult birds, but don't want to be misled about the age.
     
  2. Chickaroo!

    Chickaroo! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is such a good question. I've wondered this myself since Oct. of '07 when I got 4 adult chickens from an old farmer. He said that they just chicks from the summer before but by May '07 one suddenly, died (Don't know why). Another stopped laying about 1yr. ago. A third suddenly died back in early June of this year. The one that stopped laying has been sick for about 3 wks. now. I've taken her to the vet a bazillion times (I think she's finally getting better....thank goodness)!

    My experience might be a good word of caution for anyone considering getting adult chickens! When I got them, they all seemed in good shape. Well, except one was bald on alot of spots. But I really didn't know how well they were taken care of before I got them. I've since gotten chicks back in April of this year and so far, so good!! It's comforting for me to know they have been taken care of to the best of my abilities!

    Anyway, sorry this was long but I do hope someone does have an answer. I still have 2 of my origional left and I'd love to know how old they really are.
     
  3. Chickaroo!

    Chickaroo! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well WVDan, I guess no one knows! [​IMG]
     
  4. WVDan

    WVDan Out Of The Brooder

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    I had a much different experience some years ago. I bought about a dozen leghorns from an egg farm because they were "past their prime" and they started laying right away, gave me no trouble, and lived a long time. I had a big red rooster named Throckmorton that kept them on their toes LOL.
     
  5. ella

    ella Chillin' With My Peeps

    There's no easy way to tell age once they're around a year old, older ones do have a look about them but I don't know how to define it. It's more a matter of looking at A LOT of chickens over a long period of time. Even then you can't be sure. A healthy 6 year old can look younger than a sick yearling.

    I don't know what to say other than look for bright clear eyes, clean wide vent and soft feathers, not ragged or worn.

    Here's a picture of a pullet- she's not laying yet.
    [​IMG]

    Same pullet three months later- laying now
    [​IMG]

    Five year old hen
    [​IMG]

    To make things harder there is a lot of variance between breeds and even between individuals of the same breed. Just go for the healthiest and hope for the best. My six year old girls still give me 3-5 eggs a week each, not bad at all!
     
  6. WVDan

    WVDan Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks! I enjoyed the "portraits" of your hens. It has been such a long time since I've been around chickens; I'm sure I'll be able to recall much more once I have mine and can spend time with them.
     
  7. al6517

    al6517 Real Men can Cook

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    looks can be very decieving, I have been told that the best way is a vent inspection, if the vent appears light colored and dry and slightly wrinkled the hen is older, for a young hen it should be pink and smooth and moist, now don't ask me anymore that's all I know about a chickens BUTT, LOL LOL LOL. anyway i have tried this at a local auction and found it to be a reliable way to tell, because this is the only place with allot of birds and everybody say's they are pullets, but man I can tell you i got some mighty strange looks from the younger farmer types.
     
  8. spatcher

    spatcher Chillin' With My Peeps

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    And did the chickens say "Pick me! Pick me!" LOL
     
  9. al6517

    al6517 Real Men can Cook

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    They all say, buy me buy me LOL LOL. that is why I have so darn many, my wife said the other day don't you think we should thin some out.
     

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