culling non layers

by Jack Fulton
(Grovespring, Missouri)

Is there a way to determine which hens are laying & which one are not?

I have 46 hens 22 first year layers (april 1,2010), 42 second year layers (may 6,2009) & 4 over 4 years of age.

I am getting between 24 & 30 eggs a day It doesn,t seem that that is enough eggs per day.

I was wondering if there was a way of culling the ones that arn't laying? The breeds are "cinnamin queen" & "isa brown". There is feed & water & scratch in front of them at all times.

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Jan 05, 2011
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Protein Source for Egg Layers
by: starlighthill

That is good advice on the feed. I would add that feed containing an animal protein source will also increase production. I noticed a jump when I started giving my hens Kent's Extra Egg. It has protein from fish meal. Some people supplement their regular feed with cooked hamburger or dry cat food and get the same results.

Jan 01, 2011
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Why are my Chickens not Laying
by: Countryfarm Lifestyles

Jack I wouldn't be too quick to cull your flock. Even the oldest chickens should still be good layers at 4 years, and your flock in general is relatively young.

However, I agree with you, you should be getting more eggs than what you are getting at the moment, even though the breeds you have are not prolific layers like leghorns for example, although brown isa is not a bad layer.

I have an idea your problem is in the feed. If you are just giving them scratch this is not enough. In fact, scratch is not a food for layers. What you need to feed them is a laying mash. Scratch is what you give as just a handful of an evening time so that they can scratch around in the dirt and amuse themselves, or given in their chicken coop of an evening time to keep them busy.

In addition to the laying mash, they need calcium in the form of grit and some greens. Nettle leaves are excellent for feeding poultry; and especially in the winter. When boiled and eaten the stinging nettles promote the laying of eggs right throughout the winter.

Remember too that as it is winter in your country now egg production will be down.

With regards to adjusting your feed there are a number of things you can do to check who is laying and who isn't.

A physical examination is the first step. Pick the hens off the roost one by one and examine their vents. If you can place 3-4 fingers over the width of her vent is capable of laying. If less than that, she isn't.

Secondly, if her comb is a good color, is upright and she has a bright eye, she has the potential.

Finally, you will need to confine your hens one by one in a cage for 3-5 days to see if they are laying. Up to a week if generous.

I am sending you a link to a pdf file from Utah State University that answers your question in more detail How to Tell if My Hens are Laying".

All the best and let us know how you get on!

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