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


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
VigourStrongWeak and unthrifty
Breed typeWedge shape bodyShallow and tendency towards rocker keel
HeadNeat, refinedBeefy and crow head
*Comb and WattlesFull, red, waxy, warm and velvetyVery long, thin and sharp pointed
*EyesFull, bright and alertDull and sleepy
*BeakStocky and well-curvedVery long, thin and sharp pointed
*Ear lobesFull waxy and velvetyShrunked and coarse
NeckStock and rather shortLong and thin
BodyCapaciousLimited capacity
*BackBroad and straightNarrow and crooked
*SidesDeep and straightShallow and barrel-shaped
*Keel boneLong and well-curvedShort and crooked
*Pelvic bonesWide apart and thinClose together and thick
*SkinThin, soft and oilyThick, dry and rough
*AbdomenLarge, soft and free from fatSmall, hard with thick fat
*VentFull, larger and moistSmall and dry
*FeathersWarm and soiledClean and perfect
LegsWide apart and well-setClose together and knock-kneed
*ShanksThin and soft in backFull, hard and round in the back
*Toe nailsStocky and well-curvedLong and thin
TemperamentAlert, active and friendlyShy, nervous and quacky
MoultLate and rapidEarly and slow
ALSO READ:  Egg Production Cycle Of Laying Chickens

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