How do you know a chicken's age?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by BigDaddy'sGurl, Jan 21, 2011.

  1. BigDaddy'sGurl

    BigDaddy'sGurl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 14, 2010
    Wilkesboro NC
    I buy some, but not many, of my chickens at an auction where they are simply labelled (for example) "Silkie Hen" or "Pair of Bantams" or "Two Roosters". I recently bought a silkie hen at the auction and think she is old but am not sure why? Is there a good way to know how old an adult chicken you buy is? I can't post a pic at the moment due to camera issues, but she is solid white, which I know isn't helpful lol, and her feet seem extra wrinkled and while the under color is black, they seem more gray on the surface and her toenails were horribly long when I got her. Her wattles are somewhat creased and she just seems old but how do I know? Also, she hasn't laid an egg since i got her two weeks ago, but i am sure she is a hen.

    How do you age a chicken?
     
  2. midget_farms

    midget_farms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2008
    Dunlap Illinois
    If they taste real tough & stringy they are old.

    Seriously though - its very difficult to accurately age a bird.

    Some people say they breast bone is hard & calcified in an old bird & flexible in a young one.

    Hens lay well only for the first 2 years - though at this time of year many will not lay - I have 2 silkie hens now that are almost a year old & I have yet to get an egg out of either, so you can't go by that either.

    Easy on roosters - look at the spurs

    chances are she is around 2 - most people will renew the flock at 2 years - but hens can live to be 10 or more.

    If she starts laying this spring/summer & lays a ton & doesn't stop - she may be younger. If she lays an egg here or there or a few then stops for a couple weeks she is older.

    But from just walking up & looking - hard to tell.
     
  3. BigDaddy'sGurl

    BigDaddy'sGurl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 14, 2010
    Wilkesboro NC
    Thanks so much! I'm not surprised she's not layed an egg yet because like you said, silkies don't lay well in winter. She is a doll, though. She is very calm and easily intimidated by the other birds. I am having to keep her isolated (quarantine) and also because the birds I bought the same night scare the devil out of her! She won't squat for me or a rooster, so maybe she is younger than I think, just came from a home where she was exposed to the elements all the time on wire so it prematurely aged her skin and wattles? Who knows...sigh...

    Oh, and LOL about the tough and stringy comments : ) My husband wouldn't be happy to find his "Sunshine" simmering...
     
  4. BigDaddy'sGurl

    BigDaddy'sGurl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 14, 2010
    Wilkesboro NC
    bump in the hopes you can tell me how to "age a chicken"

    [​IMG]
     
  5. BigDaddy'sGurl

    BigDaddy'sGurl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 14, 2010
    Wilkesboro NC
    no takers? sigh. guess I will have to break down and ask the girl how old she is...but you know how ladies feel about asking their age. Almost as bad as when you question their weight...I should know, lol.
     

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