How do you keep up with old vs. young hens in a large-ish flock?

schmije

Songster
11 Years
Aug 25, 2008
609
5
139
Peoria, IL
We currently have about 50 chickens, which is the most we've ever had. The oldest ones were born in 2011, and the youngest are still with their broody mom. With so many chickens at varying ages, it has become difficult to keep up with how old each hen is. We raise them for eggs, not as pets, so culling the older ones in order to maintain good egg production is necessary.

We're trying to work out a system for managing this. So far it consists of a colored leg band assigned to each year, so we can tell that the green bands were born in 2011, red bands were born in 2012 and blue bands in 2013. We also started segregating each hen for a day or two to determine whether she is laying. Once she lays an egg, she gets her colored band (based on year of birth), and if she doesn't lay for a couple of days, she'll get a white band to show that she may not be laying. We have quite a bit of molting going on right now, so I won't give up on the non-layers for at least another month.

What's your method for keeping up with who has gotten too old or has stopped laying?
 

bobbi-j

Enabler
11 Years
Mar 15, 2010
15,824
32,856
1,092
On the MN prairie.
I don't have one.... yet. But yours sounds like a good one! When the time comes that I need to keep track of all that, I may implement it. Thanks for sharing!
 

donrae

Hopelessly Addicted
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Jun 18, 2010
31,453
4,079
581
Southern Oregon
I buy different breeds each year. I know all the barred rocks and sex links are of an age, the wyandottes and Welsummers are the next year, etc.
 

Folly's place

Enabler
9 Years
Sep 13, 2011
23,278
38,620
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southern Michigan
I also use colored numbered leg bands to distinguish birds of different ages, and individuals. I do keep some old ladies in the flock, but there's no way I'll remember the birds without those colored bands! You can use colored zip ties if numbering individuals isn't necessary. Mary
 

Folly's place

Enabler
9 Years
Sep 13, 2011
23,278
38,620
1,096
southern Michigan
I also use colored numbered leg bands to distinguish birds of different ages, and individuals. I do keep some old ladies in the flock, but there's no way I'll remember the birds without those colored bands! You can use colored zip ties if numbering individuals isn't necessary. Mary
 

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