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2 Cockerels, 4 Pullets, no mating or laying.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by GD91, Feb 11, 2014.

  1. GD91

    GD91 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've had them for about 20+ weeks & they are handreeared & have not seen other chickens outside of their little flock.

    I've read 2 cockerels to 4 pullets can be a big problem & am waiting to act if it becomes one. but one brown cockerel has only tried to mate three times a few weeks back, was rejected & didn't try again & the other grey cockerel tried a couple of times to & then resigned himself to abstinence. They are both excellent with the pullets & get along as well as boys can, just an occasional displaying tiff here & there.

    There is a pecking order that's long established with the grey barred protective cockerel at the top, then a pekin bantam pullet thats older than all the others, then the brown cockerel thats an utter coward, fat tony an EE, Naughty nugget another EE & some strange little black & brown bantam that we don't know what the hell it is.

    Non of the girls are laying yet, so non are receptive.

    I thought when the boys were ready, they would rape the girls, but its like a polite "Not tonight dear" indignant squawk or squeak from the pullets & the boys leave them be. They are both obviously ready to mate, but don't force the issue.

    I'm worried they will never start breeding, let alone overmate the pullets. They are both sweet, protective boys but.... Come on!

    They remind me of the boys in high school, twiddling there thumbs, too shy to ask the girls on a date!

    Right now I can see both boys cuddling all the pullets on the perch through the window. There is an order of pullet, cockerel, pullet, cockerel, pullet. Its kind of weird.

    The fourth pullet I'm using as a lap warmer because I'm cold.

    When are they going to start mating & laying?

    I've added a light just to kick start them into laying.

    Its set to turn on at dusk & off a 10pm, normal summertime. The idea is I'm going to remove it in the summer when the sun sets at 10pm & leave them on natural light after that.

    Also, one of my pullets perches bolt upright & looks like a parrot from here..... weird bird!

    Added: The smallest pullet has just wriggled under the brown cockerel & he's just sitting on her on the perch, covering her with feathers. I can just about see a tail... Its very cold here.
    She seems to have stuffed herself between his legs.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2014
  2. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sounds like you got the ones that held off maturing because of winter. With spring coming and the added light they should start to come around soon. And yes the good roosters leave the nonlayers alone.
     
  3. GD91

    GD91 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, I checked their pelvic bones last night & with the 3 pullets, you can only fit one finger. The Pekin Bantam (or Cochin in USA) however you can almost fit 2.

    5 Of these birds are EE's too, I've heard they can vary widely in their lengths to mature.

    So, any guesses on how soon the pekin may lay with lighting now?

    I'm dying to eat my first egg, [​IMG]

    Also, Can I give my cockerels layers pellets with the girls? I've read I can, but I'm just double checking its fine because I'm not sure if the high calcium may cause the boys any organ issues. [​IMG]

    I'm glad I've got 2 good roosters now.

    I've had 5 roosters, 4 good, 1 bad.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2014
  4. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    With mature hens light can take three to four weeks to take effect. With your Peking Bantam not having laid yet there could be a wide variance in the length of time. If I were to guess I would think more like six weeks. The cockerels can eat the layer but really don't need the high calcium in the layer and there is a potential for damage to the kidneys in the long term. Most of the members here feed a all flock or grower without the calcium for that reason. If you are pasturing them or giving other foods, lowering the calcium, then they may well never have a problem.
     
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  5. GD91

    GD91 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, they are freerangeers in the garden & its no problem to feed the boys separate feed, I've got loads of it
     
  6. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You may have a problem to keep them out of the hens' layer feed if they stay as a mixed flock. It is much easier and simpler to just feed one feed, if it is a lower calcium feed, supplementing the hens with a calcium supplement like oyster shell. My flock goes back and forth between layer and grower. I let the brood hens raise their chicks with the flock and that's when they all get grower. With them also having pasture and other foods I feel that there is a low enough calcium intake for the roosters health not to be an issue.
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. GD91

    GD91 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've ordered some hen saddles for the girls. I know it's not preferable, but whether I order eggs in or hatch this spring the pullets from the hatch still won't be ready to breed until maybe next year, I am extremely dubious about bringing in more hens from an outside flock because I keep chickens, quail & rabbits & I want a closed flock.

    All my birds are unrelated, so can I just provide hen saddles for now?

    My plan was to separate the boys, give them 2 girls each with saddles, hatch chicks & then move the unrelated pullet chicks over to the other group when they are old enough. My aim is for each roo to have 5 - 7 girls next year so I will be hatching chicks from both groups & moving the hatched pullets to the unrelated group, so they don't interbreed.

    Otherwise....
    I have lots of facilities if I need to separate the sexes until next year due to overbreeding otherwise. I understand for breeding purposes the rooster only needs access to the pullets once or twice a week for me to get more chicks. What do you all think?

    [​IMG]

    My roosters are going to be a year old in May / June & still virgins at this rate [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2014
  8. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    With the boys still virgins do the pullets really need to suit up yet?

    With the pullets not laying yet, ordering eggs for a spring hatch would be a good idea. If I set eggs to hatch, I like to use eggs from a hen that has been laying a while. The eggs are bigger so have more room for the chicks.

    The breeding plan you have can work. If you allow a son to take over in their father's group then you would be breeding first cousins in the third year. Chickens can successfully breed parent to offspring for many generations. I do know that you want to go to the extra work, but expanding it to three groups would lessen the relationship. Expanding it to multiple groups is called spiral breeding. It is how a group of farmers developed the Rhode Island Red. If you are really concerned you could hatch a new rooster or hens from an outside eggs every couple of years.

    Yes the rooster only needs to mate with the hen once a week. But once you have X number of hens he may take more the a day to get around to his less favorite hens. Besides leaving the rooster with the hens during the breeding season would mean less work.

    Once you rooster to hen ratio gets better do you intend to leave them as one flock other then for breeding?
     
  9. GD91

    GD91 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, that was my intention [​IMG] Its just a backyard flock, but I'm lucky because I've got three sheds. And, no, I'm just getting the saddles ready, " just in case".

    I also have rabbits & quail,

    As far as spring was going, yes, I to was thinking about ordering eggs in for any broodies. My reasons for that is I'd like to expand my breeds because I have 5 EE's & the 1 Cochin Bantam. I'd like to add a few different breeds out there.

    Also, can readers help my with a quail hen, she is quite valuable to me:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/855599/quail-hen-emergency-issues

    I've so far not had any advice about this thread above. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2014

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