At what age should i breed my hens? And why? When do you get the best results?
Edited by SunnySideUpGUAM - 1/16/16 at 4:58pm
Doesn't really matter as long as everybody is healthy. The very first eggs a pullet lays really shouldn't be used for incubation, due to the small size and potential abnormalities like double yolks. Wait to set eggs after the laying cycles have normalized and they are laying decent sized eggs for their breed. Those chicks need enough room to properly develop, and eggshells don't stretch. Pullets typically won't go broody during their first 6 months of laying. I don't keep my boys separated from my girls at all. The alpha rooster breeds the pullets when they are just about ready to start laying and will breed every mature, actively laying hen he has access to. I collect eggs daily and store them fat end up. That way, if I feel like hatching a batch, I just pick which eggs I want hatched and put in the incubator or under a broody hen. After a week, the fertility begins to degrade, so set the freshest eggs you can.
A mature rooster will only mount mature hens. A young cockerel will mount anything he can catch. My rooster stays well away from hens that are taking a break from laying, those girls can get really cranky before, during, and after molting.