Help determining if some hens are finished laying

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by jaredthefox, Feb 5, 2015.

  1. jaredthefox

    jaredthefox Chillin' With My Peeps

    129
    3
    63
    Jan 4, 2015
    Marshall Texas
    I was given 15 hens. Some old some in between and some young. I'm trying to think of a way to figure out which ones are laying and which ones are not. I know how to tell if a hen is to young to lay but idk how to tell if a hen is finished laying. Other than the obvious no egg.

    I was thinking about taking each hen and putting them in a big doggy crate and leaving her in there a couple days. No egg = she's finished laying. How long should I wait before I can say she's not gonna lay? Will this work you think? Any other proven ways?
     
  2. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    31,452
    3,522
    538
    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I've done the cooping separate like you describe. My only thought is the time of year. Some older hens, usually after the 2 year mark, simply take the winter off and start laying again in the spring. So, a bird could be not laying currently, but start up again in a month or so.
     
  3. jaredthefox

    jaredthefox Chillin' With My Peeps

    129
    3
    63
    Jan 4, 2015
    Marshall Texas

    When would you say would be a good time to start. May?
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    32,845
    5,592
    556
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Another aspect is that putting them in a crate might cause a cessation of lay due to just the stress of change and/or being confined like that.

    It's very difficult to know who is laying what and when, unless all your birds lay a distinctly different egg. Trap nesting is the only way I've read about that is absolute, but it takes equipment, acclimation and lots of time to monitor such a system.

    It's a hard call to make, when to turn older, less productive layers into stew. Depends on your goals, philosophy and facilities.

    I've decided that all 2-3 year olds will be stew by this fall to make room for a new batch of layers hatched in the spring....cause I only have so much space to keep chickens and they need to produce enough to pay the feed bill.
     
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    31,452
    3,522
    538
    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I'd say April or May should do it. If they're not laying by then, I would cull them.

    I know there are videos on youtube about checking vents and width of pelvic bones. I'm just not sure if a hen that was a previous layer and taking a break would have different pelvic measurements.

    My birds did okay being separated to see who was laying cause I did it right next to the main coop. They could still see the flock, just couldn't mingle. Soon as they laid an egg they were free. I kept them three nights, if no egg they were considered non-productive.
     
  6. jaredthefox

    jaredthefox Chillin' With My Peeps

    129
    3
    63
    Jan 4, 2015
    Marshall Texas

    Thank you!!! Great advice!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by