how do you know which chicken laid which eggs?

littlelune810

Chirping
Nov 6, 2015
106
4
58
Washington State
I will be getting my first flock started in February. I plan to get 5 chicks, probably a mix of breeds. How do you know which chicken laid which egg? I see people all the time saying "oh my Buff Orpington is such a good layer" etc... Well short of going out and looking in the nesting box when you hear those tell tale sounds of a hen laying an egg, how do you know? I mean obviously if you have only one EE in your flock and you are getting blue or green eggs then you probably know who laid it, but what if you have only 2 breeds that both lay light brown eggs? Or all the same breed? Thanks for helping out a newbie!!!
 

Pork Pie

Flockwit
Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Jan 30, 2015
56,938
228,269
1,687
Guess you really do have to see which chicken is in which nest to get to know which hen lays which egg - no other way to do it i guess. I'm home based so i have the opportunity to do just that and yeah, i know which egg comes from which hen (for the most part at least).

CT
 

jas humbert

Songster
Jul 2, 2015
262
189
141
Tennessee
I've got 5 hens laying right now of 3 different breeds. They are all brown egg layers but the two wyandottes , one gold laced, one silver laced lay near identical eggs but one egg is just a little lighter colored than the other.The australorp lays a pinker brown egg than the others and the welsummers lay dark brown eggs- one with speckles, one without. I'm sure it would be much more difficult if you had 30 chickens but those of us with a small flock can often tell the difference after a while even with the same breed. I watched mine as they first started laying- once in a while caught them at the right point. Usually you will figure it out sooner or later but is you really need to know, I've heard some people use a little food coloring around the hen's bottom and the egg comes out with a few steaks on it. I've never tried it so maybe someone else can explain it better.
 

littlelune810

Chirping
Nov 6, 2015
106
4
58
Washington State
Guess you really do have to see which chicken is in which nest to get to know which hen lays which egg - no other way to do it i guess. I'm home based so i have the opportunity to do just that and yeah, i know which egg comes from which hen (for the most part at least).

CT

Thanks! I am a stay at home mom so I will be home most of the time too. I figured that's what I would try to do is just go check when I hear them. Thank you for your response.
 

littlelune810

Chirping
Nov 6, 2015
106
4
58
Washington State
I've got 5 hens laying right now of 3 different breeds. They are all brown egg layers but the two wyandottes , one gold laced, one silver laced lay near identical eggs but one egg is just a little lighter colored than the other.The australorp lays a pinker brown egg than the others and the welsummers lay dark brown eggs- one with speckles, one without. I'm sure it would be much more difficult if you had 30 chickens but those of us with a small flock can often tell the difference after a while even with the same breed. I watched mine as they first started laying- once in a while caught them at the right point. Usually you will figure it out sooner or later but is you really need to know, I've heard some people use a little food coloring around the hen's bottom and the egg comes out with a few steaks on it. I've never tried it so maybe someone else can explain it better. 


Thank you!
 

chickengeorgeto

Crowing
7 Years
Dec 25, 2012
8,047
4,200
431
Big Bend of the Tennessee River's Right Bank.
I will be getting my first flock started in February. I plan to get 5 chicks, probably a mix of breeds. How do you know which chicken laid which egg? I see people all the time saying "oh my Buff Orpington is such a good layer" etc... Well short of going out and looking in the nesting box when you hear those tell tale sounds of a hen laying an egg, how do you know? I mean obviously if you have only one EE in your flock and you are getting blue or green eggs then you probably know who laid it, but what if you have only 2 breeds that both lay light brown eggs? Or all the same breed? Thanks for helping out a newbie!!!

To know what you asked you need a separate pen for each and every layer. Another way is with a trap nest. With a trap nest the egg rolls down out of danger of being trampled or broke after it is laid, but the hen that laid that egg is trapped and remains in the nest until you release her or return her to the flock.
 

chickengeorgeto

Crowing
7 Years
Dec 25, 2012
8,047
4,200
431
Big Bend of the Tennessee River's Right Bank.
I've got 5 hens laying right now of 3 different breeds. They are all brown egg layers but the two wyandottes , one gold laced, one silver laced lay near identical eggs but one egg is just a little lighter colored than the other.The australorp lays a pinker brown egg than the others and the welsummers lay dark brown eggs- one with speckles, one without. I'm sure it would be much more difficult if you had 30 chickens but those of us with a small flock can often tell the difference after a while even with the same breed. I watched mine as they first started laying- once in a while caught them at the right point. Usually you will figure it out sooner or later but is you really need to know, I've heard some people use a little food coloring around the hen's bottom and the egg comes out with a few steaks on it. I've never tried it so maybe someone else can explain it better.
Shade or color is a poor indicator of what hen laid which egg. A hen has a finite amount of color in her body to deposit on the exterior of her eggs. Late in her laying cycle a brown egg layer can lay a white or almost white egg
 
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donrae

Hopelessly Addicted
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Jun 18, 2010
31,453
4,069
581
Southern Oregon
Until the last 2 years, I've never had time to watch my flock and see exactly who laid what. I would try to spend some time in the coop on the weekends, ID'ing different eggs or layers. But I'd generally go on how many eggs I got overall vs how many hens I had. This is where a small flock owner has an advantage. If you have 5 hens and get 4 or 5 eggs every day, then all your birds are great layers. If you only get say 3 eggs a day, it would be easy to confine each bird for a few days in a separate cage to see who is laying and who is freeloading
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. Of course, getting breeds that lay different colors can help a lot also.
 

pa2chitown

Chirping
Nov 28, 2015
130
7
51
Since you will be around a lot there are many indicators that will help you identify egg layers:
1) egg size
2) egg color
3) hen in nest box for short time getting ready to lay, sometimes people think the hen is "broody" but shes just getting ready to lay. I dont disturb my hens when they are about to lay, it could cause them to find another place to lay, so you also know who's in the box by process of elimination. If not with flock they arecin the box (at least in my case).
4) later on, when hens get older (or if sick), start to molt etc., they will lose some of the color in comb and legs (unless already white or a very dark color) and wont lay. When color intensifies again they will start to lay again.
 

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