How can you tell which members of your flock are laying?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by tenderkat, Feb 25, 2011.

  1. tenderkat

    tenderkat Songster

    I'm always reading posts where people will know which of their hens are laying, and which eggs are theirs. I have never been able to figure this out, save for the handful of occasions where I've been right there when one of my girls lays. I have 3 RIR's and 3 Br's, they all lay brown eggs. I have a couple of hens that I'm concerned about, and I would like to try and figure out if they ever lay any eggs anymore. Is there some type of technique? It's not as if I can sit out there all day and observe each and every one of them. I thought perhaps if I dabbed their little heinys with food coloring or something each morning, it might 'mark' the eggs as they come out. But this seems silly and impractible.

    I'm concerned about Margaret in particular, as she has a bare swollen abdomen, and will just sit in the boxes throughout the day. But I don't think she's laying.

    Any suggestions?

  2. Opa

    Opa Opa-wan Chickenobi

    May 11, 2008
    Howell Michigan
    You could try isolating each hen for a couple of days.
  3. al6517

    al6517 Real Men can Cook

    May 13, 2008
    As far as my chickens that are laying i can tell by breed, egg size, egg color, and egg shape along with the little things like spot's texture porcidity. I then know which egg's came from which hen's and how often they are laying, then when a new egg appears I can narrow it down to who I think it is. Sometimes I do seperate them for a day or so to get their egg spec's worked out then return them to their digg's.

  4. Do a "vent check". A hen that is laying will have a moist, large vent one that isn't will be dry and smaller.


  5. josh

    josh Songster

    Mar 22, 2008
    Western Kentucky
    Quote:GOT A PICTURE??[​IMG]
  6. briteday

    briteday Songster

    Dec 16, 2008
    Northern NV
    I usually do a different type of vent check. And you need to do it 3-4 times over a month or two because not every bird will lay an egg every day. Just pick up your hen by the ankles, turn her over and cradle in the crook of your arm...she's upside down, belly up. Locate the vent. Then use the tips of your fingers to find the nearby pelvic bones. They will feel like two pointy bones not far from the vent. Place your fingers between the bones and measure how many fingers from bone to bone. If you can get at least one finger between the bones they are probably still laying occasionally. Anything less than one finger is doubtful that laying is happening within the last few weeks. A good, regular layer of large eggs will have a 2-3 finger spread.

    Again, I check mine a few times over a month when I need to know who to cull. Sometimes they just haven't layed for a few days and the bones will tighten up. But if a hen has one finger or less for an entire month...freeloader.
  7. roj

    roj Hatching

    Jan 2, 2011
    Eastern Mass
    I have a 5 year old Golden Comet that I am wondering about. Can a 5 year old hen still be laying?

  8. spottedtail

    spottedtail Songster

    Aug 5, 2007
    You can do the old trap-nest method.
    You'll positively find out who's laying and who isn't.


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