How to Identify good and poor layer chickens (Physical Features)

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Distinguishing between a good layer and bad layer could be quite difficult for inexperienced poultry farmers. For example, you may be interested in buying point of lay chickens, and you would want to buy good, healthy chickens. That means you must know the physical characteristics of good and poor layers.

Below is a table highlighting the physical characteristics of good layers and poor layers.

ParameterGood layersPoor Layer
Vigour Strong Weak and unthrifty
Breed type Wedge shape body Shallow and tendency towards rocker keel
Head Neat, refined Beefy and crow head
*Comb and Wattles Full, red, waxy, warm and velvety Very long, thin and sharp pointed
*Eyes Full, bright and alert Dull and sleepy
*Beak Stocky and well-curved Very long, thin and sharp pointed
*Ear lobes Full waxy and velvety Shrunked and coarse
Neck Stock and rather short Long and thin
Body Capacious Limited capacity
*Back Broad and straight Narrow and crooked
*Sides Deep and straight Shallow and barrel-shaped
*Keel bone Long and well-curved Short and crooked
*Pelvic bones Wide apart and thin Close together and thick
*Skin Thin, soft and oily Thick, dry and rough
*Abdomen Large, soft and free from fat Small, hard with thick fat
*Vent Full, larger and moist Small and dry
*Feathers Warm and soiled Clean and perfect
Legs Wide apart and well-set Close together and knock-kneed
*Shanks Thin and soft in back Full, hard and round in the back
*Toe nails Stocky and well-curved Long and thin
Temperament Alert, active and friendly Shy, nervous and quacky
Moult Late and rapid Early and slow
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