How do I tell if a old hen stopped laying?

Discussion in 'Quail' started by Champion, Nov 5, 2014.

  1. Champion

    Champion Out Of The Brooder

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    I was wondering how you go about telling if an older hen has stopped laying? I want to breed new birds and I'm not sure if I should keep them with the older ones or keep the older ones separate so that I know which ones are old...
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2014
  2. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    Depends on what you are going to breed for. Older hens are not as fertile as younger hens. The egg quality is poor as well in older hens. I don't like to breed hens over 4 years of age. Hens younger than this can still produce a good egg. That is not to say a 5 or 6 year old hen can't lay a good egg, but she will lay far less good eggs as she ages.
     
  3. Champion

    Champion Out Of The Brooder

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    Is there a way to tell a hens age?
     
  4. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    There really is no way other than looking at her. I have various ages in my group of Bobwhites and I can tell the oldest ones from the younger ones by the feather quality, eyes and overall appearance. Older hens will look more tired, their feathers grow in dull and they can look a bit sleepy in the eyes. Unlike horses, we can't look into the beak and tell the age. LOL
     
  5. GrandmaBird

    GrandmaBird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    this is a good reason to band the birds. keeping good records is very important if you are concerned with production and doing it as a business.
     
  6. Sill

    Sill Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What species of quail are you talking about? Bobs can generally lay for longer than a coturnix. I agree with GrandmaBird, if you want to tell them apart leg bands are the best way. If you don't have access to them put your older birds in one cage. For most of my quail I keep only one age bird in a cage so I know what age all of them are by just writing down when the birds in that particular cage hatched. The cages with mixed age birds are different colors so I can tell that the brown quail are a different age than the white quail in the same cage. I've got to keep is simple.
     
  7. Champion

    Champion Out Of The Brooder

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    Coturnix are what I have. I just recently moved to a house with a barn and wanted to take my birds out of their cage and let them live in the barn.
    I want to get a lot more birds and didn't want to have to keep them all separated, I only want them for egg production so removing the older infertile ones in the future is a big concern.

    Could someone explain about leg bands? I assume it's eggsactly (LOL) as it sounds...
     
  8. Sill

    Sill Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes they are bands that can be put on a bird's leg to identify it. They come in wide range of sizes and colors plus some have numbers too. I've had birds in the past that I've banded but not quail so far.
     

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