Originally Posted by LocalYokel
Another's full of dominickers
I want that one.
I didn't read back to find the source of the comment that initiated Aart's response re: rooster wear and brittle feathers. But I'd love to share my experience. Last season, I had a number of bare back girls. The worst by far was my Pioneer gal. She was one of Jack's favorite hens. She was an early layer, and cranked out a lot of huge eggs. Her feathers were a mess. Even her wing feathers had a lot of broken and brittle shafts. In spite of that, I let her play in the gene pool. All of her daughters were beautiful, and early layers of nice quality eggs. The dtrs have beautiful feathers. Well, Pioneer Mama molted last fall, and she now has a luxurious coat of feathers. No sign of wear. Jack now has 24 girls to cover, so his attentions are spread a bit thin. So, my rambling thoughts go like this: Hen feather issues could be: poor rooster technique, over breeding, hen putting all of her energy into laying so feather quality suffers, parasites, or genetics. For my own flock, I'm leaning towards #2, and #3. When all of the "they say" crowd suggest that a rooster can only successfully cover 10 hens, I'll counter that statement with a question. What is the goal for the flock? If it's only to keep a rooster around so that you can have successive generations of chicks, one rooster is sufficient. If you have a group of hens you want to hatch from, isolate that roo for a few days, then put him in with your favored hens. He'll gladly ensure that all of THOSE eggs are fertile. It's a rare event that I crack an infertile egg, even with him covering 24 gals, and it is still winter.