Ideas please!!! How to mark hens that go in the nest box...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Cowgirl71, May 28, 2010.

  1. Cowgirl71

    Cowgirl71 Songster

    Feb 5, 2010
    Missouri Ozarks
    Hi! I am wanting to come up with some way to mark all of the hens that use the nest boxes. About a month ago I bought 25 hens from a friend of mine, and am getting about 13 eggs/day. I'm quite sure that some of the hens lay VERY well, and others I don't think lay at all. My original flock of 40 hens give about 32 eggs/day (same diet, etc.). Since coop space is at a premium for me, and I'm selling all of the eggs I can produce, I'd really like to be able to cull any low producers, and replace them with some young pullets.

    ANYWAY, my brother thought maybe I could dangle a permanant marker in the nest box, and mark them that way. My concern is that within a few hours, the marker would dry up too much to work well (I'd also need a differant color than black, as most of the hens are BR and BA [​IMG]). Any ideas would be very apreciated!!!

  2. Mervin

    Mervin Songster

    Jan 25, 2010
    Central Pennsyltucky
    I wonder if there is a way (kinda like lipstick) to mark a bird's vent. That way, you could keep track of which birds you marked and how many marked eggs you got each day. It would kind of be a process of elimination though or maybe you'd just do one a day or on every couple of days. Now that I type it out, it sounds pretty crazy.
  3. Miss Red

    Miss Red Songster

    Apr 26, 2010
    Trinity, Texas
    I've heard through BYC about putting food coloring on the vents.
  4. PunkinPeep

    PunkinPeep Songster

    Mar 31, 2009
    SouthEast Texas
    I've heard of the food coloring thing, but you'd have a hard time coming up with 25 distinct colors.

    The best way i can think of is to sit there and watch them and then put a band on the legs of the ones who come out. You can get little girl hair bands at the dollar store. They won't last too long on your birds (they take them off), but they're cheap, and they would work long enough for you to figure out who the moochers are.
  5. Straubby

    Straubby In the Brooder

    May 12, 2010
    new hampshire,ohio
    it may sound a little extreme but maybe you could use a wildlife camera they are motion activated and then you'll have proof.a video camera would work too but it would have to run all day so you'd have to change batteries.good luck it took me several days of just watching but i figured mine out.of course i was only getting 2 eggs a day lol
  6. laceynoelle

    laceynoelle Songster

    Nov 12, 2009
    why dont you just check them? if theyre standard chickens, feel for the space between the pubic bones. there should be a space of three or so finger widths. will that work for what youre trying to do? if not you could also make a nest box that traps them in there.
  7. Qi Chicken

    Qi Chicken Songster

    Jul 3, 2009
    Can you put 5 hens in with the nest boxes for 2 days and the others somewhere else? Then rotate those 5 out and mark them and then put 5 new ones in?

  8. housetree88

    housetree88 Hatching

    May 11, 2010
    I have a huge bird cage that my aunt had for her parrot. She was going to throw it away when the parrot died, but I took it to isolate any of my chickens who needed it. When I am thinking about culling a chicken, I put it in isolation 1-2 days to see if it lays. If it is a layer, it returns to the coop and a new one goes to isolation. It is time consuming, but it is a sure-proof way to know. Most of mine lay every other day, so I don't have to wait very long to know. [​IMG]
  9. Cowgirl71

    Cowgirl71 Songster

    Feb 5, 2010
    Missouri Ozarks
    Thanks everyone for the ideas! Does anyone know if the finger/pubic bone test works on hens that have layed in the past, but now aren't (vs. hens/pullets that have NEVER layed)? Also, how accurate is it?

    Assuming that the answer to both questions is yes, then I think I'll try this: Test all of the hens using this method. All of them who test negative I put one by one in a cage with a nest box, food, and water. Any of them who haven't layed by the end of day two (or day three, if she's one of my very favorites [​IMG]), I'll mark and soon cull. And then I'll just work my way up to the hens that I'm quite sure are laying. How much will the stress of putting them in a cage for a couple days slow down they're laying in the near future?
  10. Falcon61

    Falcon61 Chirping

    May 5, 2010
    Maybe thats why she gave them to you? You may not have any good layers in the batch. Cull them all and get your pullets..?

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