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  • >> This is FFA Poultry Judging: Class 2 – Egg-Type Hens for Placing

  • >>Students should become familiar with the different parts of the hen.

  • >>In particular, the comb, the eye ring, the ear lobe,

  • the beak, the wattles, the shoulder, the breast, keel bone, hock,

  • toes, shanks, abdomen, vent, pubic bones and tail.

  • >>Hens deposit yellow coloring or become bleached in certain areas

  • of their body including the vent, the eye ring, the ear lobe,

  • the beak, the bottom of the foot, the entire shank and the hock

  • and tops of toes.

  • Egg-Type Hen Selection Criteria

  • The most important selection criteria are pigmentation

  • and handling qualities and abdominal capacity.

  • They are both considered of equal importance.

  • Next are plumage condition and molt;

  • constitutional vigor and vitality;

  • and head and head parts, in that order.

  • >>As the hen ages and lays eggs, she packages zanthrophil,

  • the yellow pigment, in the yolk of her eggs.

  • This pigment or color is taken from various parts of her body.

  • >>Pigmentation is a term used to describe the presence

  • or absence of yellow pigment in the skin,

  • shanks and feet of the egg-type hen.

  • >>Leghorns or inbred crosses of leghorn type chickens

  • normally exhibit yellow pigmentation on the skin

  • and other parts of the body.

  • >>Students should learn how to accurately read pigment

  • as it is a good indicator of the number of eggs

  • laid by each hen.

  • Pigment fades from the hens body parts in a specific order.

  • First, pigment begins to fade from

  • in that order.

  • >>First, we begin by demonstrating the proper way to remove

  • the hen from the cage.

  • These birds are especially flighty,

  • so be careful as you remove them from the cage.

  • A hand is placed on the back of the bird

  • and on the stomach of the bird

  • and then the head of the bird is tucked into

  • the crook of the elbow.

  • This makes the bird comfortable.

  • It makes the bird relax, so that it can be maneuvered for evaluation.

  • Notice how the bird appears to be fairly comfortable

  • during the evaluation.

  • First, we evaluate a bird that has had good past performance.

  • Notice how bleached the eye ring is; totally devoid of color.

  • Notice how bleached the ear lobe is.

  • If you look closely, you can actually see

  • the hole where the bird hears.

  • The ear lobe is below that.

  • Notice the beak and it’s fairly bleached as well.

  • And notice that the comb and wattles are red and waxy

  • and in good condition.

  • A bird with poor past performance will have

  • a dry and shriveled up comb.

  • >>Now we turn the bird over and examine its vent.

  • Notice that this vent is bleached, moist and large.

  • This indicates that this bird has had good past performance.

  • >>The backs of the shanks and the bottoms of the feet

  • are thoroughly bleached as well indicating good past performance.

  • >>The front of the shanks are bleached as well,

  • indicating good past performance.

  • >>Next we determine the abdominal capacity of this hen.

  • This is done by placing the fingers between

  • the pubic bones and the keel bone.

  • In this case, it’s 4 fingers, indicating good past production

  • and good abdominal capacity.

  • Next we determine the pubic spread.

  • This is done by placing the fingers between the pubic bones

  • and determining how many fingers can fit there,

  • in this case, 3, indicating good abdominal capacity.

  • Next we check for abdominal fat.

  • If there is not very much abdominal fat there

  • then the bird is a good past producer.

  • The next procedure is to check the primaries

  • and determine how many primaries she has or if she is in molt.

  • This is done by finding the small axial feather

  • and then fanning out the primary feathers

  • and counting them one by one.

  • In this case, this bird has all 10 of her primary feathers

  • and she not in molt, indicating that she has good past performance.

  • Do both wings. Same procedure is used.

  • Find the axial feather, which is the small one,

  • and then count the primary feathers.

  • In this case, she has all 10 and she is not in molt.

  • She is in full production.

  • >>In some cases, good producing hens

  • can have frayed feathers.

  • >>Next we look at a hen with poor past production.

  • She has a shriveled comb and wattles.

  • She has coloration around her eye ring and a colored beak.

  • This bird is not bleached and still has coloration

  • on the backs of her shanks and the bottoms of her feet,

  • indicating poor past production.

  • >>This hen still has yellow pigmentation on the front

  • of her shanks and the tops of her feet,

  • indicating poor past production.

  • >>Next, we look at her vent and find that it’s small

  • and still has yellow pigments, indicating poor past production.

  • >>Looking at her primary feathers,

  • we find that couple of her primary feathers are missing.

  • Again, indicating poor past production.

  • >>Looking at the other wing, it’s easy to see

  • that she’s lost her primary feathers there as well.

  • With this bird, there is only a 3 finger spread

  • between her pubic bones and her keel bone,

  • indicating poor past production.

  • She only has about a 2 to 2.5 finger spread

  • between the pubic bones.

  • Again, indicating poor past production.

  • >>Checking for abdominal fat, we find that this bird

  • has more abdominal fat than the other one,

  • indicating, again, poor past production.

  • >>When we compare the color of the shanks of the four birds

  • side by side progressing from the best producer on the left

  • to the worst producer on the right,

  • we see the color differences.

  • We see that the one on the left has the lowest amount of pigment

  • and the one on the right has the most.

  • >>Using these techniques, the hens are placed in order

  • from best to worst.

  • © 2012 University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

>> This is FFA Poultry Judging: Class 2 – Egg-Type Hens for Placing

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B2 indicating bird abdominal bleached hen pigment

FFA Poultry Judging: Class 2 - Egg Type Hens for Placing

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