Breeder Question, Egg ID!

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Jmurcks, Jan 12, 2010.

  1. Jmurcks

    Jmurcks Songster

    Oct 30, 2009
    North Alabama
    I don't know if this is in the right spot or not but here's the question....

    I want to raise chicks. I want to know exactly who the parents are. I have a breeding pen with the roo and the hen.
    Do I have to let her have the eggs in the breeding pen or can she go back into the main coop and if so, how do I know who's eggs are who's?

    Under general circumstances, is there any way to know what hen layed what egg?
    Like if I A.I.'ed the birds... does the hen still need to be seperated from the flock for awhile to lay by herself so I know they are her eggs?

    I didn't understand how that works!
    Thanks, Jenn
  2. evonne

    evonne Songster

    Oct 5, 2009
    Las Vegas
    if you have different breeds you can tell by color....
    but within the same breed sometimes there's slight differences that you can see, but sometimes you ust can't tell the difference, so unless you watch each hen lay...
    some people will paint the vent with different colored food coloring and then you know by what color strip is on the egg...
    the other thing, is if the roos are out freeranging at the same time with their various girls, do you know for sure which roo is the father?? this has been asked before, but no definite answer has been given...

    i plan on having a mixed breed layers pen, and then having my projects/pures in separate runs, and only letting each pen out to free range by itself.. so none of the roos can get to the girls they're not sposed to get to....
    they all have small fenced runs to exercise and see daylight...

    someone else may have better answers, but that's my 2 cents...
  3. catwalk

    catwalk Songster

    May 19, 2009
    If you have a pen of fertile hens, and a pile of identical eggs, you won't know who they came from. If you use AI, and she's the only one fertile, you can start incubating them to find hers, but the rest will be junk. If she's a different breed than the others, and there's only one roo, you might be able to tell whose chicks are hers.

    I had four Cochins, two buffs, a black, and a white. The black laid a long white egg, the white laid a dark speckled egg, and the buffs laid light beige eggs. If you had cooperative hens like that, you could let them run together! [​IMG]
  4. Jmurcks

    Jmurcks Songster

    Oct 30, 2009
    North Alabama
    Thanks for the answers!
    I like the food coloring idea, my luck she'd sit in a puddle before laying!
    I was thinking of starting with three pairs and they would all be mottled bantam cochins.
    The main coop for the hens is nicer and I hated for the hens to have to be seperated for a long time in the little dinky breeding pens!
    I am being silly, I know...
    But I guess it would only be for a couple weeks at the most so they can manage!
    Thanks again! Jenn
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    the other thing, is if the roos are out freeranging at the same time with their various girls, do you know for sure which roo is the father?? this has been asked before, but no definite answer has been given...

    Let me get as definite as I can be. If you have two or more roosters free ranging with varous hens, you do not know who the father is. Any rooster will mate with any hen of any breed if given the opportunity. The only way to know who the father is will be to keep that hen away from any rooster you do not want her to mate with for at least three weeks, and some people prefer four weeks.

    It will be longer than two weeks.
  6. Jmurcks

    Jmurcks Songster

    Oct 30, 2009
    North Alabama
    Quote:I don't have the roosters anywhere near the hens. They are seperated.
    I just was wondering if you went with the AI method for example if you could put that hen back in with the others and still be able to id her eggs versus the other hens or would she have to be isolated until I have enough of her eggs to incubate.
    Or for instance if I put the roo and the hen in a breeding pen does she need to stay in there with him until I have enough eggs from her.
  7. Ariel301

    Ariel301 Songster

    Nov 14, 2009
    Kingman Arizona
    The easiest method would be to keep the hen/rooster combo you want to breed in its own pen. You can leave the rooster with her a few days and then pull him out, or you can leave him in there until you have enough eggs. The only reason I would see to take him away early is if he is getting aggressive to her or eating eggs...otherwise, if it is just one hen, she will be lonely, and you might run the risk of not getting very good fertility, either because he didn't mate the hen in the time he was there (probably unlikely knowing males though lol...) or she just ran out of stored up sperm to keep fertilizing. But after removing her from the rooster, she can be fertile for up to three weeks, maybe a bit more.

    Of course you could use AI, but it just adds more trouble to the whole process in my opinion. But I'm pretty anti-AI, I will never keep animals that require it. Even with AI though, you still would want to keep her apart so you know which eggs are the ones you want.

    IF you can tell her eggs from everyone else's, you could put her back with the other hens. But if they are all the same breed or breeds that lay the same color, you might not know what are hers. I know when I had a flock of all the same breed, I could not tell whose eggs were whose, they were pretty much all identical. Of course, if you are breeding the only hen you have who lays white eggs, and the others all lay brown, then you have no problem. But I don't think that's too likely, right?

    With the vent-painting method, wouldn't that have to be repeated at least daily? Otherwise, one egg would get colored, but there wouldn't be any color left for the next. Or it could dry out or soak into her skin and not leave color, or get washed off, or who knows what all else. Neat idea, but doesn't seem reliable enough for me.

    Keeping a couple of chickens in a small pen for a couple of weeks shouldn't hurt them at all, as long as it is big enough for them to move around comfortably.
  8. flgardengirl

    flgardengirl Songster

    Dec 2, 2009
    Sunny side up :)
    I read about nest traps. They are used to identify which hens are laying which egg. I guess if you had some different colored eggs it would probably be easier but maybe you can tell your hens and thier individual eggs apart once you identify who is laying what egg ( perhaps some are routinely different shaped, speckled etc)
  9. Jmurcks

    Jmurcks Songster

    Oct 30, 2009
    North Alabama
    I think that is what I will do... just keep them seperated for awhile.
    I was stressing out thinking that I would have to keep several breeding pens but I don't think I will because I only have one incubator, anyway, so it would only make sense to do one pair at a time. Then I could return that hen to the main coop and put the roo back in his pen and switch to another pair.
    That's the plan at least!
  10. catwalk

    catwalk Songster

    May 19, 2009
    If you have several pens to put your pairs in, you could do it all at the same time, and mark your eggs with a colored dot. I know a breeder who keeps a 12 pak of Sharpies in his shed, and each breeding pair gets a different color dot. When the chicks hatch, they get a dot on their heads of the same color! I use colored pencils on the eggs, and food coloring on the chicks.

    And I want to tell you that it is very sweet of you to think about the social wellfare of your birds. The same breeder I mentioned above keeps each hen in a separate pen, and he rotates his roo from pen to pen. I could never do that! I have two bonded hens that were hatched together, who have very different body types, and could benefit from different mates. I couldn't bear to separate them, though, so they both get the same mate, regardless of the wisdom of that decision. Cheers to you!
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2010

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