How CAN you tell when a hen is LAYING?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ThePolishPrincess, Aug 24, 2010.

  1. Simple question...and I know the jist of the answer, but I need to know the standard reply I give if the poultry judge asks at our fair next week. Last year I wasn't able to give a well formed answer. I know it has something to do with sticking 2 or 3 fingers in the vent, and if they all fit then the hen is laying, and if not, the hen is not. That might even be it. But I'm not sure. Can someone help?

    And also, I know to look for redness in the face, etc. It wasn't good enough for the judge last year, though.
  2. swordgeek

    swordgeek Chirping

    Jun 23, 2010
    Westford, MA
    I dunno... my first thought would be, "Did I get any eggs?" [​IMG]

    But seriously, I can't answer this one. I've never stuck my fingers in their vents... I just wait till I see an egg. Too squeamish.
  3. SpringChickens

    SpringChickens Songster

    Feb 1, 2009
    College Station, Tx
    Here's what you're thinking of:

    You can feel their pelvic bones, and determine how far apart they are. ~1 finger - definitely not laying, 2-3 fingers - currently laying or will be soon.

    Please DON'T stick your fingers up your chickens' vent - I really don't think they'll appreciate that!! (I know I wouldn't!!)

    You can also mark their vent with food coloring or lipstick, so it will rub off on the egg as it's being laid. This technique will also help you know which hen laid which egg (if you use different colors).

    Good luck!
  4. I never stick my fingers in the vent. [​IMG] Couldn't bring myself to do that...they wouldn't thank me later, either. We have some people around here who have, although stacked up against this answer, I now don't know why. I always assumed it was to check if the hen is laying. But this way seems alot nicer. Thank you, this is one for the study sheet.
  5. Lifetime chicken lover

    Lifetime chicken lover Songster

    Jun 26, 2009
    Rogers, MN
    I would also mention the squat behavior to the judges....I'm not sure if all hens do it, but so far, its been a pretty accurate predictor for my hens when they are ready to lay. Is this for 4H or county fair or FFA or what?
  6. gallinamama

    gallinamama Songster

    May 14, 2010
    Macomb, Michigan
    Quote:sticking 2 or 3 fingers in the vent, [​IMG]
  7. Quote:NY State Fair, 4H division. I'm sure this'll be falling into the 'Poultry quiz' section for Showmanship, if it comes up at all.

    And YES, fingers in the vent! Shocked me, too. Bare in mind that I've never done it and if I really had to bring this up in any case (I don't see why, though) it'd probably be all verbal. I think I'd have a hard time stomaching that.
  8. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Free Ranging Staff Member Premium Member 9 Years

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    Pelvic bones BELOW the vent! Definitely not IN the vent! [​IMG]
  9. zazouse

    zazouse Crowing

    Sep 7, 2009
    Southeast texas
    Quote:Lip stick [​IMG] [​IMG]
  10. SpringChickens

    SpringChickens Songster

    Feb 1, 2009
    College Station, Tx
    Quote:Lip stick [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Yeah, yeah. I didn't say I recommended USING the lipstick after using it to mark the vent.... [​IMG] [​IMG]

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