Borrowing a rooster for temporary fertilization?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by alpinesurfer, Apr 20, 2012.

  1. alpinesurfer

    alpinesurfer New Egg

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    Apr 10, 2012
    Costa Mesa, CA
    New egg question here.. I have 3 teenage hens Buff Orphington, Blue laced red Wynadotte, and a Golden sex-link, and have no real plans to breed chicks. However in the future should I want to, I'm not completely familiar with the process.

    Is it possible to borrow someone's rooster for a couple weeks to get the male fertilization done? I've red comments like "covering a hen" and such, but it's not completely clear on how that happens or the timeline".

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    The timeline. It takes about 25 hours for an egg to make its way through the hen's internal egg laying factory. The egg can only be fertilized in the first 15 minutes of that journey. This means if a mating takes place on a Sunday, Sunday's egg is not fertile. Monday's egg might be, depending in what time the mating took place versus the egg starting its journey. I would not count on it. Tuesday's egg is almost certainly fertile.

    This is after a mating, not after they are introduced. A rooster does not mate with each and every hen in his flock every day. After a mating, a hen can lay fertile eggs for somewhere between 9 days and just over three weeks. Most people use two weeks for this and it usually works out OK.

    There are a lot of variations on a mating, but a normal sequence is that the rooster dances. This signals his intent and interest. The hen squats. This gets her body spread out on the ground so the rooster's weight is spread out and not all going through her legs.

    The rooster climbs on top and grabs the back of her head. This head grab helps him keep his balance but also is her signal to raise her tail up out of the way. The rooster very quickly touches his vent to her vent and hops off. The hen stands up, fluffs up, and shakes. This shake gets his sperm in the right place in her system.

    Both the rooster and the hen need to do their part for a successful mating. Some roosters are brutes and can be pretty rough. Some hens resist so much they put themselves at risk. Some chasing is often involved. As long as the rooster and hen do their part, the hen winds up squatting ang the rooster is not so rough he injures the hen, it all works out.

    Not all hens will accept all roosters. Mature hens will sometimes kick a young rooster's butt instead of submitting. Mature hens sometimes expect a rooster to find them food, dance for them, maintain order in his flock, and keep watch for predators before they grant him any favors. Some hens will squat for anything wearing spurs. A lot depends on the maturity and confidence of the rooster. If you are going to try something like this, I suggest you get a rooster at least a year old. I have seen roosters about 4 months old that mature hens would accept, but that is pretty rare.
     
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  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    RidgeRunner covered it well, as always.

    One thing not mentioned, but something you would need to alerted to is the bio-security issues. The visiting rooster would bring with him all and any bugs and diseases with him. Just something of which to be aware.

    Highly recommend a mature rooster.
     
  4. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    X 2, or even 3. Ridgerunner and Fred are two of the most knowledgable folks on BYC. But why "visiting" - why not keep your own rooster? Just gather eggs daily and there won't be any un-wanted or unplanned chicks running around. There's no difference in taste or nutrition between fertile eggs and non-fertile eggs.
     
  5. alpinesurfer

    alpinesurfer New Egg

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    Apr 10, 2012
    Costa Mesa, CA
    Thank you so much (Ridgerunner and Fred) for the information. That was exactly what I was looking for.

    To Gryeyes... I cannot keep Roos in my suburban area.
     
  6. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Well, in order to have hens hatch out chicks, they need to go broody. If a hen is broody, she won't leave the nest except to go potty and grab a drink and some food once a day. She won't be interested in having a rooster mount her. They don't know the eggs they are brooding are fertile or not, because it doesn't matter to a broody hen. If she wants to be a momma, she might even sit on golf balls and try to hatch them. If it were my flock without a rooster, I would procure fertilized hatching eggs and incubate them when *I* want chicks, or wait until I have a broody hen and buy fertile hatching eggs to put under her. Any time a new bird is introduced to the flock, the pecking order goes through a re-order. And when one leaves, the same thing happens. Along with bio-security issues from an introduced "traveling salesman" rooster, that seems to be a lot of bother to go through (for the hens, especially) to get chicks. Perhaps I'm not seeing something here....
     
  7. alpinesurfer

    alpinesurfer New Egg

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    Apr 10, 2012
    Costa Mesa, CA
    I appreciate the insight, and those were things I didn't consider or wasn't aware of. I probably won't take this route if I wanted chicks, but it would be neat to experience the entire process from start to finish.
     

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