Good way to mark hens as they are laying?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by WalkingOnSunshine, Aug 24, 2013.

  1. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    I'm trying to figure out a way to mark hens as they sit in the nestboxes. I'd like to be able to mark faces or backs, whichever is presented to me. The plan is to go out once every hour for a few days and mark the hens in the boxes. At the end of a week or so, cull those without marks--so I'd like it to last for over a week before wearing off. Different colors would be a major plus, so I could use a new color every day and get a sense of my best layers. Any ideas?
     
  2. Naunnie

    Naunnie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What an interesting idea! How many hens are we talking about and what breed are they? I don't know if it would work, but once I had to help my Mother distinguish between her male and female Doves. Her eyesight had gotten really bad.....Anyway, I used drops of food coloring. The color lasted for several months.
     
  3. QuirkySue

    QuirkySue Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A bingo dabber? I've never tried it but I remember when my kids were young those things sure made a mess! Cheap, bright colours.
     
  4. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    We're talking 60 layers right now, up to 90 layers at other times. Many different breeds (see sig), but the majority are not white.

    If I just had a few, I could figure it out. But with so many, there's no real way to know. I've tried picking them all up and looking at vents and combs, but other than just a couple very obvious ones, I just couldn't tell. I know the theory of it, but in practice I can't tell the difference. That's why I thought a way to mark them might work.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2013
  5. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    Anyone else have any ideas? My rate of lay is down to 70% on average. Definitely time for some ladies to find other homes.
     
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    How about something like poster paint? It's non toxic. I have NO idea how it would wear on the feathers, if it would last the week, but it's water soluble and I don't see why it wouldn't eventually wear off. You could use a different color for each day, just use a brush and streak it on their back.

    Too bad you can't just slip a ribbon around her neck! The hen with the most ribbons at the end of the week lives!
     
  7. appps

    appps Overrun With Chickens

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    Would picking them up and slipping a leg ring on work?

    The one with the most bling at the end of the week wins :). They are pretty cheap to buy off eBay and I'm pretty sure would be quick and easy to put on
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2013
  8. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    This might work. I suppose I'll give it a try. Thanks for the idea. I was thinking nail polish or BluKote or something, but this might work better.
    I'd do something like this but it would really disturb them right while they are laying. My hens aren't pets, so they'd be upset at being taken off the nest and I'd have misshapen eggs and things.

    I wish this was easier! I also wish I could figure out who's laying by examining the bird, but I guess I'm just not good enough.
     
  9. Apdeb

    Apdeb Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you had legbands on them and trapnests
    That would work!!!!
     
  10. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    No trapnests. We haven't come up with a way to make that work, unfortunately. They are all legbanded, but that doesn't help me when they're sitting on the nest.

    Thanks for all the suggestions, folks. I don't mean to be a pain and shoot things down, but I've wracked my brains over this for weeks and can't come up with anything.
     

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