WHICH CHICKENS STILL LAY?

Discussion in 'What Breed Or Gender is This?' started by Froghorn, Jan 16, 2014.

  1. Froghorn

    Froghorn Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 27, 2010
    Is there a way to tell which of my chickens are laying and which ones have stopped or slowed laying? Thinning the flock for those that no longer lay or are slow layers.
     
  2. Froghorn

    Froghorn Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 27, 2010
    These are many different breeds.
     
  3. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    This video might help you out.

    However, it's a bad time of year to thin the flock. Many perfectly productive birds aren't laying right now because of the reduced light hours of winter. My advice is to wait until April or May when they're getting enough light so you don't cull birds that have simply stopped laying for winter.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2014
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  4. Froghorn

    Froghorn Out Of The Brooder

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    I realize that but that was not my question. I wanted to know if anyone can tell me how I can tell when they have stopped laying or slowed. [​IMG]
     
  5. CayuseRanch

    CayuseRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree with the poster on about time of year. Last spring 3/4 of my flock quit laying for 6 weeks. I guess it was a molt. But anyway...best way to find out who is laying is to put different color food dye on the vents and that dye will streak the eggs laid.
     
  6. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Overrun With Chickens

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    Typically a hen will lay most productively the first 2 years of its life. After that, depending upon the breed, it will taper off (some breeds drop dramatically, especially the commercial hybrids which have been bred to lay very productively for 2 years, some of the heritage breeds taper more slowly). Older hens typically lay fewer but larger eggs, younger hens lay in high numbers but slightly smaller size.

    Walking On Sunshine's video is excellent in describing what to look for to help determine who is laying by observing their general condition.

    If you want to know who is laying and who is not, you can dye as the previous poster said (which I personally have been reluctant to do as I always end up with the dye on me instead of the bird), or trap nest....capture the birds of interest and keep them in a separate coop or nest, or set up an actual trap nest which traps the bird after it enters. (I keep it simple and just use my grow out hutch when it's empty.)

    First I observe my flock as the video suggests, then I catch those birds I think are not laying well and place them in my grow out hutch (I can get 4 at a time). I then collect, or not collect eggs, as the case may be. I can generally tell within the group after about 3 to 4 days if its worth refining the group...but using the video techniques I've been pretty right on.

    It helped me work through my flock in pretty quick order and gave me confidence to re-home those that needed to go. (I have a friend who likes to take my aging layers as she likes the extra large eggs they typically lay and has the room to keep enough of them to get the egg quantity she needs.)

    I find it is easy to re-home 2 to 3 year old birds as they still have several years left of reasonably productive laying....some even longer. Or you can process them for stewing...although some of the commercial layers don't have much meat on them.

    Good luck.
    Lady of McCamley
     
  7. Froghorn

    Froghorn Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 27, 2010
    Thanks for that hint!
     
  8. Froghorn

    Froghorn Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank You! That was the answer I was looking for. It at least gives me some idea's on how to go about it. I had been told by a fellow that has raised chickens for a longggg time that you can tell by the back end that they will be bulged if they are a layer. If they are no longer laying you won't see that. Thought maybe someone else could have reinforced that theory. Your answer will be helpful.
     
  9. Froghorn

    Froghorn Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank You Lady Of McCamley [​IMG] That was the answer I was looking for. It at least gives me some idea's on how to go about it. I had been told by a fellow that has raised chickens for a longggg time that you can tell by the back end that they will be bulged if they are a layer. If they are no longer laying you won't see that. Thought maybe someone else could have reinforced that theory. Your answer will be helpful.
     
  10. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Bulged? That is simply not true. Hens with egg yolk peritonitis or internal laying, neither of which will be laying, can appear "bulged" out. He's not correct in that assumption. I have tons of experience with this one, trust me.

    As I always say, hens are not vending machines. The frequency of laying ebbs and flows with seasons, weather, hormones, etc.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2014
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