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How can you tell a chicken is laying eggs or not?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by harmesonfarm, Mar 23, 2016.

  1. harmesonfarm

    harmesonfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We adopted 6 older chickens from a farmer who had too many so were not sure of their ages other than that he said they ranged between 2-3 years old.

    This past winter we got a range of eggs between 1-3 a day, 3 being on a rarer day for sure.
    Now with it being spring and longer days we've expected to get more but were lucky right now to get 1 a day...they do free-range the yard but mostly one always lays in the nesting box and sometimes i'll find a few in the yard.

    Were pretty sure that not all of them are laying and were looking to improve our egg amounts with younger hens, we've found someone who has an older hen sanctuary that we want to give our non-layers to.

    I've heard of looking at the comb but then also heard it's not accurate?

    any and all help would be greatly appreciated! we just can't afford to have chickens that aren't giving us a return in eggs... [​IMG]
     
  2. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    Isolate them one by one in a 24/7 cage with their own nesting box...

    Or install cameras and record who goes in and out of the nesting boxes and leaves eggs...

    At 3 years they might just be slowed down to the point they are only laying 1 or 2 eggs a week, so you might only get 1 or 2 eggs a day from all 6 even if all 6 are laying...
     
  3. Braxton Brigade

    Braxton Brigade Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It really depends on the breed. The only fool proof way to know is trapping one in a smaller cage/crate for the morning and see if they lay a egg. It would be best if you added a cardboard box into the crate for them, maybe even containing them into a nest box or visit often, a bird that isn't laying won't have any business visiting the nest boxes.
     
  4. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There may be a few reasons you are not getting all that many eggs.
    Not all chicken breeds are equal layers. Some are better than others. What breeds do you have???
    During winter most chickens do slack off some, Reasons being, reduced daylight, and reduced temperatures.
    Free range does not mean ultimate egg production. What you feed your chickens does affect how many eggs they will produce.
    Chickens at the age you describe should be in good egg production mode. Maybe the person that gave you those was not sure how old the individual chickens were. Sometimes time just slips fast and they assumed that they were 2 to 3 years old.
    If you want best egg production, then get sexlinks. They lay like 7734 but don't live very long. They burn out. Then there are the other breeds like RIR and Orphingtons that produce well and live longer. The best most common worldwide White leghorns are excellent, but not sure if they are cold hardy enough for your location.
    WISHING YOU BEST.. [​IMG]
     
  5. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps


    Just isolating for the morning is not fool proof, as I have several birds that regularly lay in the afternoon and sometime even in the evening, i have even found them under their roost in the morning... Some even seem to wait until I collect eggs then immediately jump in to lay... It really requires full day/week isolation...
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2016
  6. harmesonfarm

    harmesonfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The breeds that we got (from what we were told) are one astralorp, 2 RIR hybrids, two barred rocks, and one columbian rock. The farmer was unsure of their ages and was just guessing when he told us, so it is possible their older?

    We are feeding them non-gmo 16% pellets right now as well as anything they forage for, they are eating quite a lot of the pellets and frequent the coop daily so I'm pretty sure they are getting enough of that in a day. We have a light on in the coop for 15hrs (this is what we were told to do)

    I'm thinking that three out of the 6 are still laying by the "guess by the comb colour and size" theory.

    It seems to be that one chicken lays in the morning and others lay in the afternoon as i check both times and it varies when there's an egg there. Perhaps just isolation / camera is the way to go then to be sure, I would hate to think one isn't laying and mistakenly donate her away and get left with one who isn't!

    Thanks for all the great info!

    [​IMG]
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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  8. Jetblack2004

    Jetblack2004 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    When a hens comb is redder she's probably laying and if it's more pink she probably isn't laying. Though sometimes they are laying within red combs. It's about 90% accurate.

    If you want 100% accurate put them each in nice separate pens. Though if their not happy they will go off lay. If you can put them with a spare cockerel so they don't get lonely.
     
  9. harmesonfarm

    harmesonfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    they don't like being penned up in particular...perhaps i'll have to try my hand at checking their pelvic bones...time to do a little research! haha
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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