General information

How to distinguish an old chicken from pullet: ways to identify a young chicken


Laying hens are the most common birds in households. Such popularity of birds is determined by ease of care and good productivity.

In addition, chicken is a popular product, like chicken eggs. But even for such a process as the content of chickens, you should know some features that help to get a good result. One of these features is how to determine the age of a laying hen.

Why determine age

It seems a strange factor, but those poultry farmers who have encountered such a problem are advised to figure out how to distinguish young chickens from old ones. The fact is that the chicken can live 10-15 years, but the egg production saves no more than 5 years.

This fact should be taken into account when buying poultry - often unscrupulous sellers use the inexperience of buyers and sell old chickens instead of young chickens.

The ability to determine which chicken differs from the rest is necessary in the management of large farms, the maintenance of numerous poultry. In such circumstances, it is almost impossible to remember how old each chicken is. The maintenance of the bird, which is not carried, - the extra cost of feed.

Tip! At home, if there is such an opportunity, it is recommended to keep the young growth separately from adult chickens. This will simplify the task, how to distinguish the old chicken from the young, and eliminate the possibility of conflict - adult birds, especially roosters, often arrange chasing after young individuals, fighting for food.

How to distinguish the old chicken

The exact age of the chicken is almost impossible to figure out. But it’s quite realistic to define it with an accuracy of up to 6 months using popular methods. Such results are enough to cull unproductive individuals.

The main ways to distinguish young chickens from old ones are:

  • The state of the beak and paws is a fairly reliable method in terms of external features to distinguish the promising individual from the ineffective one. Chickens under one year old are distinguished by their smooth, beautiful, rich yellow beak. In adult birds, the beak becomes dull, hard, often manifested in the presence of chips and scratches. Another distinctive feature of a young chicken is the condition of its paws - the skin is smooth, without scales, corns, they are evenly colored. With this method, you can recognize the fake popular German breed Loman Brown (Broken). In the original specimens, the skin on their paws is thin, golden in color.

The state of the beak and feet

Interesting! A well-known breed of Laygorn layers is characterized by the presence of a difference between the coloring of the paws in young and adult hens. The young bird has bright yellow paws, the old ones have white.

  • Condition and color of plumage. Individuals that have not reached the state of molting, up to six months, are characterized by beautiful silky plumage, of rich bright color. There is still soft fluff under the large feathers. In addition, the feathers of young birds are restored fairly quickly. It is possible to learn adult hens by more dim plumage, a little untidy look.
  • The size and condition of the abdomen. A large hard belly, with a possible fatty layer, indicates a lack of mobility, which means that the bird is of solid age. Accordingly, on the contrary, a soft belly and elastic developed brisket is a sign of a young chicken.
  • The size and weight of the bird is a rather unreliable method that can be trusted only in conjunction with other indicators. It is believed that adult birds are larger and heavier. But it's not always the case. These indicators are completely dependent on the individual characteristics of the breed. To date, there are many miniature species of layers, which in older age are not much different from young chickens.
  • Activity. At an early age and with good health, the laying hens are characterized by excellent mobility: they are the first to come to feed, they are constantly looking for additional food, they are interested in everything that happens, they don’t rush to return to the hens in the evening or in bad weather conditions, and in the morning they are the first to run out .
  • The color of the pupil and the cornea of ​​the eye is a method recommended by experienced poultry farmers. It is worth looking at the eyes of the chicken, especially the pupils: if they are bright orange in color and the cornea is white, then the chicken is young. If the pupil is dim and pale, the bird is already old.

In addition to the ways of determining the age by the appearance of the chicken, you can find out which category the bird belongs to, by the condition of the eggs it carries.

Chicken pullets:

  • The egg is small - 40-45 g.,
  • Durable shell,
  • The yolk is large, viscous, bright yellow or orange.

Eggs of young hen

In adult chicken:

  • Egg large - more than 70 g.,
  • The shell is thin, maybe more film-like,
  • The yolk is small, pale in color, prone to spreading.

Scallop age determination

One of the most faithful and simple ways to identify a young bird is to study the scallop:

  • Coloring of scallops and lobes is one of the simplest, most obvious and reliable methods for distinguishing the productive age of layers. The main feature that distinguishes pullet chickens from old hens is the bright red color of the comb. This color indicates the health of the bird, saturated blood flow. The pigment involved in the formation of scallop color is used in the creation of egg shell. The paler the comb becomes, the lower the productivity of the chicken. This dependence is especially vividly traced with respect to the well-known breed of dominant layers.

Scallop age determination

  • Temperature comb The young hen must have a warm comb - this is the best evidence of good blood flow, the viability of the chicken, its egg production.

Definition of non-rushing chicken

In cases where it is impossible to know the exact age of the bird, it should be determined whether it is being carried or not. Several methods are used for this:

  • Palpation. The most reliable method for determining egg production. The head and wings of the chicken are held, the cesspool is felt. If the bird is egg-bearing, the egg is felt. In addition, the size between the pubic bones is measured. If it reaches the size of two fingers, then the chicken is a productive layer. This procedure is recommended for several days in a row.
  • Tags Quite a common method, especially in large farms. It consists in tracking the hens that have sat down on the nests, and leaving marks on them with paint. Such actions should be performed daily, preferably in the pre-lunch period, for one to two weeks. As a result, birds that do not rush will remain unmarked. It should be noted that a clear sign that the chicken is preparing to sit on the nest or has already been demolished is a clucking, especially if it is disturbed at this time.
  • Inspection of cloaca. It is an additional method for determining the productive layer. In the oviparous chicken, the cloaca is slightly swollen, slightly damp, the opening is enlarged. If the cesspool is dry and hard, the bird has not been carried for quite a long time.
  • Isolation Enough painstaking and not always reliable way. To use it, you will need a separate room, in which 1-2 hens are placed for a couple of days. Thus, it is possible to determine whether chickens are rushing or not. But this method may give incorrect results - birds may experience stress due to a change of environment, and egg production may stop for several days. This situation can be corrected by the location of isolated territory in the field of view of other individuals.

Interesting! There is another method for determining the hens used by the most experienced poultry farmers, is the size of the goiter. They claim that the hen that is being carried is eaten in the evening of the previous day. As a result, the goiter is slightly enlarged.

How to determine the age of the cock

The main indicator of the age of the rooster are his legs, or rather the presence of spurs. In a young rooster, up to six months old, the spurs are defined as small seals. Over time, they grow and become ossified. Spurs grow at a rate of 1.5-2 cm per year.

In addition, young individuals of egg breeds can be distinguished as the comb and beak. The comb should be bright red, elastic, warm. Beak - rich yellow or orange, smooth, without damage.

Another sign of a very young rooster is high legs and an elongated body, which has not yet gained optimal weight. This indicates that the body is still growing.

Poultry Tips

Experienced poultry farmers recommend constantly discarding unproductive birds - no benefit from them, high feed costs. At the same time it is necessary to consider well how the chicken looks. If she is young, then she can stop rushing for a while - take a short break.

In addition, to improve egg production should be introduced succulent feed. In winter time, you can increase the light day with the help of block lighting.

The most optimal age for buying young stock is 4-6 months, preferably in the summer.

It is recommended to acquire young individuals on special poultry farms - the exact time of hatching of chicks is kept there, the breed is determined correctly, and vaccinations are also carried out.

Poultry farming is quite a fascinating and profitable occupation, which is gaining increasing popularity among farmers and owners of small farms. In order for this hobby to bring only positive emotions, a quality product and a steady income, it will take some effort and acquire some knowledge.

Beak condition

This part of the body also can not be overlooked in determining the age of the feathered. For young individuals is characterized by a smooth, light with yellow beak. In more mature chickens, cracks and bumps appear on the beak, and its color becomes grayish.

Determination by weight

This criterion is quite subjective. On the one hand, there is common sense that the smaller the mass of the chicken, the younger it is. But here you should definitely understand the rocks in order to know what indicators are characteristic of a particular age. On average, an egg-type chicken should weigh 1.5 kg in half a year, and the weight of the meat-egg individual can reach up to 3 kg by this time.

Technological determination

With how approximately determine the age of chickens tactile and visually, we figured out. But there are other methods that can be used, namely technological.

They are based on observing and determining the quality of eggs, so it’s impossible to apply them while buying chickens, but they can come to the aid of those who keep a large number of poultry.

Egg production tracking

For ease of use of this method, you can draw a graph and enter data about when birds lay eggs. In order to get a clear picture, it is desirable to observe within 7-14 days, and then compare the results with the following information:

  1. A young layer at the age of 5–6 months brings 1 egg every 7 days.
  2. Egg production rises to 6-7 months, and the chicken is able to lay 3 eggs a week.
  3. The peak of bird productivity is considered to be the period from 8 to 12 months - at this age they are capable of bringing 5–6 eggs every 7 days.
So with the help of short observations, you can determine the approximate age of the hens.

Egg quality

But not only by quantity, but also by the quality of eggs, you can determine the age of the hen. First of all, you need to pay attention to their size, since it is common for small chickens to bring small eggs.

At the same time, despite the small size, these eggs have a very strong shell, as well as a large yolk.

Another distinctive feature of eggs that have been torn down by pullets is the rich orange color and thicker consistency of the yolk. Accordingly, if the eggs are large, the shell cracks easily when pressed, and the yolk is liquid and has a pale yellow color, then the chicken that laid it is already old.

Now you know why you need to be able to determine the age of the hen. Of course, it is necessary to take into account that it is impossible to determine the exact date of birth: whatever method you use, there is a probability of an error in the calculations, and it can be from 3 to 6 months.


Knowledge of how to determine the age of a hen laying hen (photo attached) by the color of the legs and scallop cannot give accurate results. It is best to use several methods, because only a group check allows you to know whether a chicken will rush or whether it should be sent for meat.

The breed characteristics of the laying hen make it possible to determine with accuracy not only the age, but also the approximate egg production of birds. If you buy layers that can give three hundred or more eggs a year, then over a long period of time, the teeth will delight you with tasty, fresh, homemade eggs. They differ from those offered in stores. This is evident not only by the color of the yolk, but also by the pronounced taste. For health, it also has an important role.