How do I tell who is laying?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by 4hchickmama, Jun 1, 2012.

  1. 4hchickmama

    4hchickmama Songster

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    May 12, 2012
    I'm sure this has been asked before, so I am sorry. Bear with me...I am new!

    I have a silkie and a sizzle (silkie x cochin) who are both presumed pullets. They are about 8 months old and we started getting eggs about 2 weeks ago.

    I know for sure that my silkie is laying because I took my sizzle to a 4H poultry show, there was an egg in the coop that wasn't there before and their coop-mate is only 10 weeks old. My question is, without separating them, is there any way to know if my sizzle is also laying? What is a normal laying rate for a silkie? I've gotten an egg a day for the last 5 days straight, which is more than I would expect from one of them as neither are breeds known for fantastic laying.

    Any advice? I guess my fear is that we have decided too soon that the sizzle is a pullet and not a little cockerel.
     
  2. Pele

    Pele Songster

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    Boise
    The only way to do this without seperating them is to put food coloring on their vents (different color for each bird).

    That way, the egg gets 'marked' on it's way out. Not glamorous, but effective.
     
  3. 4hchickmama

    4hchickmama Songster

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    May 12, 2012
    That is something I would have never thought of...

    They get ancy when separated...so I would rather not....I might try this.
     
  4. country

    country Songster

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    Sep 14, 2008
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    As I was typing my explanation below on how to tell if a hen is laying, I suddenly got this mental picture of someone misunderstanding & torturing a poor little hen by trying to measure the pubic bones with their fingers inserted in the vent. No, no, no! So I grabbed my camera & headed up to take pictures. I hope they help.
    ______________________________________________

    Using food coloring in the vent is a great tool to use when needing to know which hen is laying which egg, but if you just want to know if a certain hen is laying or who is laying & who isn't, there is another way. All you need to do is pick up a hen & measure the width between her pubic bones. Here's how.

    Sit down & lay the hen upside down on your lap with her tail toward your knees. If you gently probe around the vent, slightly below & on each side, you should feel 2 pubic bones beneath the skin. They feel kind of sharp. In the pic below, my fingers are on top of the bones & the vent is just above.
    [​IMG]

    You can measure the width between the bones by using your fingers. If your hen is laying, the bones will be quite a ways apart. On my Silkies, I can easily fit 2 fingers between the bones & with a standard I would guess that 3 fingers would easily fit. The pic below shows my fingers between the bones. They fit easily with room to spare. This hen is definitely laying.
    [​IMG]


    If you lay a finger between the two bones & it fit's very snugly (or in the case of a bantam, may barely fit), then the hen isn't laying. On the pic below my finger barely fits between the bones. If you look close you can see the pubic bones under the skin on either side of my fingers. This hen is not laying. (Not a big surprise as she is about 12 years old & has been retired for a number of years.)
    [​IMG]

    FYI I was doing this by myself so I had to put the hens on my lap to get the pics. However, I have found that it is a lot easier to find the bones & check the width when the hen is rightside up. So I generally pick the hen up, cradle her in my left arm with her head facing backward toward my elbow. In that position it's easy to use my right hand to find the pubic bones & check their width.

    Also FYI While I was checking hens for the photo op, I had a new experience. I picked up one hen & I didn't immediately feel the pubic bones but I felt a big bulge where they should have been. It was an egg! The bones were on either side of the egg - REALLY far apart. I guess I caught her just as she was getting ready to lay.

    Third & final FYI - Just for fun I checked one of my roosters. He also has pubic bones though not as sharp as a hens, & the one I checked was a little more than one finger wide. In between a layer & a non-layer. Interesting.
     
    2 people like this.
  5. 4hchickmama

    4hchickmama Songster

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    Sheri- What an awesome tutorial. I tried it myself, and I think they are both laying, but since I am bringing them with me to see you tomorrow, I will let you show me hands on and tell me if I was right!

    Thanks to both of you!
     

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