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Author Topic: Need a plan  (Read 1297 times)
Jerrymac
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« on: April 06, 2009, 03:01:10 PM »

I am the worst at organizing. I need to figure out how to tell if all the chickens are laying. Which are or are not laying. Then this is to be used later when the chickens stop laying. Then I will have to figure out how to fatten them up and what to sell them for.

I guess I am going to have to make trap nest and band the ones I catch in there laying. Then after a few days I guess those with no bands are ones not laying.

Throw me your thought and expertise on this.

I am also thinking of rabbits for meat. Easter rabbits so I can sell Easter eggs maybe. flying pig
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rainbow sunflower  Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.   rainbow sunflower

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danno
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« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2009, 03:47:38 PM »

What I used to find a couple of egg eaters just might fit into your plans.  I used my old rabbit cages.  I caged the birds 6 at a time in separate cages for a day or two. They all layed but a couple layed and ate.  These became soup.  As for rabbits I have always had large meat rabbits.  If you dont mind alot of feed and extended growing period you cant beat Flemish Giants.  I have seen some that are so big you would swear its a dog with big ears.   I personally like the Californians.  They are still big but they grow faster
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Natalie
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« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2009, 03:52:19 PM »

Jerry, how many chickens do you have? Also, if you have several different breeds it will be easier to tell by the color egg they lay.
Do you have seperate pens in your coop such as a brooding pen or breeding pen that you can use to seperate the hens just to figure out who is laying?
Another way is if you can just rig something up to seperate them, put up plywood or whatever and stick a nest box in with the hens you want to test, you can use a wooden box, milkcrate or whatever you have handy as a temporary nestbox.
If you have the time you can even take turns crating the hens overnight so you see if they are laying, although it may cause stress on them and they may not lay that same day.
Its hard to tell who is laying sometimes.
Sometimes hens will hangout in the nestboxes without laying, I have one that has never laid an egg in her life yet she likes to go and sit in the box.
She will spend an hour in there and then get up and leave and there is still no egg so its tough to tell who is laying sometimes. You can't assume that you see them in the boxes that they are laying.
I am not entirely sure who is laying right now and who isn't.
Its easy when they lay blue and green eggs, or even those cream colored ones because they are easy to match up to the right hen, but those brown eggs, forget it.
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Robo
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« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2009, 03:54:50 PM »

Eat a chicken a day.  If your egg production drops by one, you know she was a layer.  yippie chick
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2009, 04:13:04 PM »

My chickens run loose. They go in and lay when they feel like it in what ever box they choose. Right now I have two groups of chickens. The original bunch still in my storage shed and the second bunch that are now back in the old travel trailer I am converting into a coop. That is where they will all be soon. I was wanting ideas on how to set it up so I could weed out the nonproductive ones.

Right now I have 42 hens.
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Natalie
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« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2009, 05:15:59 PM »

I hear you, my chickens run loose too and I found an egg floating in a nice big puddle today in the backyard.
Anyway, honestly the only way I can think of is to seperate them and its going to take some time.
If you can just rig something up and seperate a couple/few at a time in the coop, don't let them out in the morning with the rest of them.
You could also get a roll of chicken wire and make up some temporary pens for them to roam in outside and throw a nestbox/milkcrate in there and see if they lay.
Its going to be time consuming but I don't see how else it can be done without seperating them.
If you have alot of time I would do it one by one because even if you do a couple there could be 2 eggs and 3 hens in the test pen and thats not going to help.
Those trap nest boxes you are talking about would be tied up pretty fast and you would have to be around all the time to keep letting them out or you will just have hens laying all over the yard.
I  think just putting up a piece of plywood or chicken wire and making a couple of small pens in both coops will work, they don't need a huge amount of room since they are probably only going to be in there 2 days or so but you don't want to cram them in there either.
You have to figure even a good hen on average only lays 5 days a week.
Rotate the hens on a 2 day basis and then band them like you said.
The ones that are left you could do another trial on to see if you caught them on an off 2 days or they were stressed from being seperated from the flock.
How old are you girls anyway?
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2009, 06:51:10 PM »

My oldest will be a year old at the end of this month. The ones I just got will be a year old in May, and the rest a year in June.

I have a lot of material to make individual cages and plenty of room in the trailer to do it. That is what I think I will do.

When I got the other chickens from that little old lady I thought it would be a couple of days to get eggs. But nope, the very next day they gave me 12 eggs. That was 16 hens caught at dusk, moved ten miles, carried into the trailer. I just happened to have left a drawer sitting on the cabinet and they laid in it.  grin
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Natalie
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« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2009, 10:40:24 PM »

They all sound young enough to still be laying for you but you never know. I have a rhode island red that is a year old this month and she never started laying, I hatched her myself or I would suspect she was past her prime.
Its good that you have the extra materials, its seems like the best way to do it.
Good luck with it.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2009, 12:48:56 AM »

If you have a broody hen look at her comb.  You'll see that compared to the other hens her comb is shorted and paler.  Non-laying hens will have pale pink shrunken combs compared to those that are activily laying.  A Laying hen will have a red rose colored comb that will be plump and full.  The roosters will have bright upright combs, the laying hens should have a slightly smaller version of that.

Pea combs are a little different but the basics are the same, the non-laying hens will have smaller, paler, thinner combs.


that's the way My Grandmother taught me, way back when I was knee high to a toadstool.  It's always worked for me.
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Natalie
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« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2009, 09:49:35 AM »

I always thought if their combs were red it meant they were ready to lay, as in coming into lay. I didn't think they changed when they were not laying.
I always know if mine are ready to lay by their bright red combs and if they crouch down when I pet their backs.( they think I am their head roo apparently)
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