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Both chicks and eggs

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by father0fnine, Jan 5, 2016.

  1. father0fnine

    father0fnine Hatching

    Jan 5, 2016
    [First off, I'm not sure which section to post this in. Please forgive me if I got it wrong]

    I am building a flock that I hope to use for both eggs and chicks (meat chickens, flock replacement, etc). How does I manage the eggs for this? Do I have to have to have two separate runs/coops, one with rooster and one with out? Do I candle each egg every morning? Do I just pull eggs when I want eggs and figure I'll be eating fertilized eggs on a regular basis? or.... ?


  2. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon

    Keep your rooster with your layers. Collect your eggs every day and enjoy them. Unless you have a very practiced eye, you'll never be able to tell the difference between fertile and non-fertile. Then, when you get a broody or want to set an incubator, simply collect the eggs you want to hatch, incubate, and 21 days later you have chicks [​IMG]

    I've kept roosters with my layers for 20 years and never had a nasty surprise when eggs were collected every day. It takes about 3 days of being incubated at 100ish degrees for embryonic development to start.
  3. father0fnine

    father0fnine Hatching

    Jan 5, 2016
    Kewl! Thank you. Is it safe to assume that most of the eggs are probably fertilized if incubated when a rooster is around?
  4. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator

    It really depends on the ratio of roo to hens. If you wish to be sure (as sure as you can be) then a ratio of 1:10 should be fine (I should add that an energetic roo could take care of many more). You can usually see evidence of fertility on the yolk of an egg, so that's another way to check whether your boys(s) are doing the business.

  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC!
    You did indeed picked the right section to post this question.

    You can learn to ID whether eggs are fertile when breaking them for cooking by looking at the yolks.
    Check out this thread for some examples:https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/16008/how-to-tell-a-fertile-vs-infertile-egg-pictures

    If you are going to raise replacement layer and meat chickens, think long and hard before building your coop(s).
    A separate area in the main coop for a broody to hatch chicks and/or to grow out incubated chicks is well worth having.
    Best coop planning decision I made was to be able to split my coop with a temporary chicken wire wall, there are 2 people doors, 2 pop doors and a separate run.

    Meat birds you might want to raise in a separate coop or tractor, especially if you are going to raise the CornishX.
    They have different feed requirements and because they will only be around for 8 weeks or so, no sense in disturbing the balance in the layer coop.
    Browsing the meat bird forum will give you info about raising and harvesting meat birds:

    If you're totally new to chickens, it might be advisable to start with a laying flock only.
    Get your coop/run working well, the first year can be a very steep learning curve.
    Male birds can be a pain (figuratively and literally), especially if you have little kids running around.
    Then add a cockbird and an incubator for raising replacement layers.
    Then think about a tractor and butchering equipment for doing meat birds.
    Unless you like being overwhelmed and learning about chicken care/housing, dealing with male livestock, incubation and/or broody hens, and butchering all at once.
    1 person likes this.
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    If you have a relatively young rooster of a dual purpose breed, he should be able to easily cover 20 hens and keep them fertilized. That's been my experience, anyway. When my roosters get over 3-4 years of age, fertility seems to decline, and definitely become more seasonal. Ornamental type breeds or giant breeds can have lower fertility, or they can be slower to mature and thus take longer to start fertilizing eggs.

    One mating can keep a hen laying fertilized eggs for two weeks, so it's not like he has to cover each hen each day....but my young boys have always been happy to do so [​IMG].

    How many birds are you planning on keeping?

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