How can I tell which hens are not laying?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by me&thegals, Apr 30, 2008.

  1. me&thegals

    me&thegals Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello everyone--I'm new to this forum and have only raised chickens 1 year--I have Araucanas, Buff Orps, White Rock, Barred Rock and Production Red chickens. Their production has dropped from up to 48 eggs per day in summer (about 48 chickens) to only 18 today! With this many chickens, how do I begin to figure out which ones are laying and which are not? Thanks in advance for your help [​IMG]
     
  2. chickenannie

    chickenannie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    they are probably laying eggs in a hidden nest (or 2) somewhere. Look around and let us know.
     
  3. Half-a-dozen

    Half-a-dozen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I was wondering the same myself......for me I was thinking about monitoring who goes into the coop during the day and a close eye on the boxes......but this would take ALLL day as the girls are not early layers.
    So my other guess was to seperate a couple at a time, but this too could be time consuming and extremely difficult if the means are not available........so I know I am not much help [​IMG] but hope u find a better solution.... [​IMG]
     
  4. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    Are they going into their molt? Most times they don't lay while they're molting. If their combs are shrunken and dry looking and not plump and red they probably aren't laying right now. There is also a way to check their vent to see if they're laying, but I've never done that.
     
  5. chickenranchwife

    chickenranchwife Chillin' With My Peeps

    Are all their combs bright red? Are there some with just pinkish colored combs? If bright red they are your layers, if pinkish they're slacking off and maybe becoming broodie. My BO are going into their broodie stage. If you're free ranging you may find eggs out in the grass or behind some old stuff. If that's the case it's like going easter egg hunting all over.
     
  6. MaransGuy

    MaransGuy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A hen in laying condition will have a very large and "puffy" cloaca. One that is not laying will have a much smaller, tighter one. If you examine each hen you can tell if they are laying or not.

    Richard
     
  7. kurby

    kurby Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Everyone has said to look at their combs. If they are really red they are laying if pale or off pink they aren't. I am still having trouble telling on some of mine.
    Karen
     
  8. me&thegals

    me&thegals Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow! Gotta love these rapid responses! [​IMG]

    They're not hiding eggs--their production was way down a lot of the winter when they were inside all day with nowhere to hide eggs. Now they're outside but fenced in, and there's no place to hide eggs.

    I will take a closer look at their combs to see if they're in molt. Is there a certain time of year when chickens tend to molt?

    Could production stay down (even now that they're getting sunshine and bugs) if their routine is upset? We've recently been cleaning their room, trapping rats and otherwise disrupting them...

    Otherwise with this many birds--and another 50 on the way!--it would be very difficult to figure out which birds are not laying. I would hate to get rid of any of them but can't really afford to have a bunch of "freeloaders" [​IMG]
     
  9. MaransGuy

    MaransGuy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've heard the same thing about the combs but I have never noticed a difference on any of mine. It might work on some breeds/individuals, but I find looking at their but to be the most reliable method.

    Richard
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2008
  10. samsmama

    samsmama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Having a change in their routine may be affecting their laying. Mine will also drop in eggs if they have run out of water or feed. Hopefully egg production will increase again for you. If my hens stay down in production for a couple weeks or so and are not molting, I usually "vent check" them to see who is laying and who isn't. With heavy breed layers I usually figure 3 fingers should fit between the pelvic bones for them to be regular layers. Good luck and let us know how it goes.

    Tammy
     

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