In the course of flock breeding and management, it is necessary to catch and handle birds at various times. Proper catching and handling methods of chickens can avoid both injury and discomfort not only to the birds but the persons handling them as well.
You Have to Determine if the Chicken is a Layer
By learning how to tell which chickens are layers in your flock, you can segregate those that can be used as meat source and save unnecessary costs by removing non-layers and use them cooking.
The easiest method to visually tell if a chicken is a layer or not is by inspection of the space between the chicken's pubic bones. If a chicken is a good layer, there is normally a two-finger spread between the public bones; if the chicken is non-layer, the pubic bones are rigid and close together.
Additionally, most good layers have yellow skin which shows signs of bleaching of pigment; however, there may be cases of disease and abnormality in chickens wherein the skin color may exhibit faded pigment.
Identifying Poultry Breeds
The first and most important decision a producer or backyard chicken raiser must make is the selection of the type of breed best suited for his requirements. Having a basic knowledge of poultry breeds makes it easier to recognize and understanding the characteristics of chickens for easier flock management.
The most common resource for any purebred chicken is to see if it is listed in the Standard of Perfection book. It lists breeds and varieties recognized by the American Poultry Association although breeds of foreign origin may not be listed like the Cornish Rock which is a crossbreed between the Cornish and White Rock breeds.
The most common characteristics of chickens that help identify their breed distinction are size, shape, color, feather pattern, and comb type.
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Bill Keene is a former poultry farm and author of of the guide “Building A Chicken Coop" and website http://www.buildingachickencoop.com