How to tell who is laying?

newchickmom

Crowing
14 Years
Nov 8, 2007
720
12
264
Lafayette, Indiana
I have about 70 hens. All are laying age now. The youngest just started laying this past month (RIRs)
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. All my chickens range between the ages of 2 1/2 years to 5 months. All of my delawares are in a molt right now (I have white feathers all over the place!
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) so they will stay. I am only getting about 25-30 eggs a day.
I have to thin out my flock before winter because of feed cost, so some chickens will be going to "freezer camp". I also have to say goodbye to about 3 extra roosters.
How do I tell which hens are still laying?
 

FF

Songster
10 Years
Jan 9, 2010
433
1
119
Tennessee
Build 70 nesting boxes and lock them all up in there and do an inventory 3 times a day for 2 weeks.
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Just joking. Really you need to build seperate temorariy pens and put each breed in that poen and then go from there. You can do this in about a week. Just keep tossing them out until you get all of your egg layers. I did this before when I was seeing who layed aggs.It did work for me. I have 50. Good luck!
 

Cowgirl71

Songster
9 Years
Feb 5, 2010
3,176
81
221
Missouri Ozarks
I'm in the same boat, LOL. 53 hens, 1-3 years old, and I'm only getting about 28 eggs a day from them. Several of them are in full molt right now, but before molting started, I was still only getting about 32 eggs a day. Some of these have to go, and get replaced by the soon-to-lay RIR pullets in the yard.
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I learned from a fellow BYCer how to tell whether a hen's laying, 100% accurate.
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Measure the distance between the pin bones (pointy bones located on either side of their vent). If two or three fingers can fit, she's laid an egg in the last six days. If you can not easily fit two fingers between them, then she hasn't layed an egg for at least a week. Also try to feel if the bones are flexible or rigid (but be careful with the hen through all this, LOL).

Make sure to take into consideration that if a hen's in full molt she's probably not laying, but she will begin again pretty soon.

Hope this helps!
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Kyah

In the Brooder
10 Years
Oct 29, 2009
21
1
22
There was an old book I rented from the library once, and I cannot remember the name of it, only that the title was like a mile long, lol.
If I remember right, there's several ways you could tell who's laying and who's not. In addition to what Cowgirl71 said, the vent of a bird who is laying is supposed to be moist. The vent of a non-layer's is supposed to more yellowish, puckered, and dryer looking.

When a hen is laying eggs, the color of her skin and legs is supposed to be more pale. (I think the book said that pigmentation is drawn from the skin for egg laying) Non laying birds' legs and skin will be more yellow and their legs are thicker. A laying bird's legs will be more lightly colored and slimmer. The combs are supposed to be more pale too, if they're not laying.

I wish I could remember the name of that old book.
 

poorartists

In the Brooder
9 Years
Sep 20, 2010
23
0
22
Food coloring on the vent? Just like in a circle all the way around each morning? that is funny.
 

Kyah

In the Brooder
10 Years
Oct 29, 2009
21
1
22
I found it!! The old book is called "The chicken-growing, egg-laying, feather-plucking, incubating, caponizing, finger-licking handbook" by John Festus Adams.
 

Terri O

Crowing
10 Years
Jan 2, 2010
4,671
48
296
WI~chickening for 30 years!
It sounds like a lot of us are in the same boat...feeding a bunch of hens and not getting so many eggs! I think I read the same book as you Kyah---or it had the same information anyhow. It is pretty to tell that way. I will add that there is a progression of the color leaving the hens body..starts somewhere and then when she quits laying it goes the other way. Supposedly you can tell how long she has been laying or not laying by the progression. I just cant remember the order (or the name of that book!)
The tricky part here is actually getting rid of the birds that arent doing their jobs anymore...just the thought
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I guess that is why I have 70 birds and collect about 28 eggs right now! We need to have our own club! We could name it "Suckers For the Non-Laying" or something like that! Terri O (good luck)
 

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