Originally Posted by SammyLady
So I want to give breeding a whirl... my questions are:
1. Is it OK to just put in 1 hen and the Rooster or is it better to have multiple hens?
2. How long does it take to "do the deed & get it done"?
2a. We are planning to let her hatch them herself, is it wait and see if some hatch how many are left over as rotten eggs? or... do I steal them out, try to candle them and put 'em back or take 'em in?
Any other suggestions, tips, or advice would be greatly appreciated!
1) Depends on how long you are keeping them together. For mating purposes for a short period would probably work, for an extended time I would think that poor hen would be overmated. One roo can cover between 10-20 hens depending on the roo. My larger coop my boy has 23 hens and keeps them all well and mated and I still have 3 or 4 that must be his favs cause their poor feathers are looking like they need saddles.
2)How long before he'll mate the hen or how long does it take to mate? Like stated the roo could take to the hen immediately or he could decide he's not so....excited. How long it takes to mate....if you blink you'll miss it.
2a. (Why not 3?? ) Letting her hatch herself may not be an option if she isn't already broody Hens don't go broody on demand and broodiness is very much a breed trait. Some breeds are known for it, others it's rare in. If in fact you have a broody, best thing you can do is collect and store the eggs until you have what you want to set under her (most people only collect for up to a week) and give them all back so they are all incubated on the same time line so there is a better chance that she will remain on them until all viables hatch. You can candle a broody's eggs, though most don't. They just let her do her thing. I did candle mine, (not nearly as much as I do with incubating), but I wanted to know what was developing in there. Some broodies will practically take off your hand if you disturb her eggs while others will just squak and growl.
Side note: How long a mating will result in fertile eggs is another ongoing disagreement iin the chicken world. I think it depends on the chickens. As stated it is very possible for some to remain fertile up to a month, I've seen a few different reports, while others found fertility wanning a week or two earlier. So if asked I reply somewhere between 2-4 weeks with no certainties.
Edited by AmyLynn2374 - 4/15/16 at 6:12pm