Breeding- Duration selected Hens/Rooster need 2B separated for mating?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by MasAhora, Mar 3, 2017.

  1. MasAhora

    MasAhora Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Next spring (I'm in the S. Hemisphere) I'd like to make sure certain hens and roosters get frisky together and make fertile eggs.
    We're making a few changes to our paddocks, etc over winter so I'd like to plan and incorporate any requirements for breeding.
    I have 3 particular cockerels I think I'd like to mate, each with 2 or 3 specific pullets/hens I have my eye on...

    1) How long should I keep the preferred hens away from other roosters before I match them with the "right" one?

    2) How long should the 2 or 3 hens be penned and cooped with the "right" one to ensure fertile eggs? (Duration will tell me which sized pens are OK)

    3) Are 2 hens with a horny rooster going to be OK for the duration? (Hoping yes or I have to play the catch/release/catch the rooster game!)

    4) Do I need to keep the hens separate for a period to check their eggs are fertile? I'd like to hold their fertile eggs, I have 2 hyper broodies [​IMG].

    Thanks!
     
  2. TheKindaFarmGal

    TheKindaFarmGal Chicken Obsessed

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    1) Keep the hens away from other roosters about a month to ensure you have the correct father. Hens can lay fertile eggs up to 3 weeks (give or take) after being around a roo, so it's best to play it safe and give them a month.

    2) I'd leave them together about a week, though a few days likely would be enough.

    3) Well, it depends on how long they are together. I think they'd be ok as long as it isn't long term, but keep an eye to make sure.

    4) If they're with a rooster that is doing his job, the eggs are fertile. I'd give them a day or two before assuming they are, though.
     
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I use a minimum of 2 weeks for a "cleansing" period for my hens. I've heard they can store sperm longer than that, up to 3 weeks. I've also read it's a "last in, first out" kind of thing....so unless you're okay with a few potential mixes, I'd go at least 3 weeks.

    Once the right cockerel mates with a hen, in theory she'll lay fertile eggs a good 2 weeks. Since your birds won't be adolescents, there shouldn't be a huge problem with mating right off.

    My birds do okay in a breeding pen as trios or quads. my smallest pen is something like 4x10, I think. It looks small to me, but the birds do okay. It's also going to depend on your particular birds. Some cocks are rougher than others....but if he's very rough to the ladies, I wouldn't be using him to breed anyway. I just set up a breeding pen with a Silkie cockerel that had not been with pullets for 3ish months, and only for a month or so before that. He was so excited and not very gentlemanly the first day. The hens didn't particularly enjoy it, but I just left them alone and he settled down in a day or so and now they're doing fine.

    I don't check fertility, I just assume if the bird is doing his job, the eggs are fertile. It's always worked for me.
     
  4. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Hi. [​IMG]

    I would say two weeks is a good time for separation. But you could crack open eggs and make sure they aren't fertile before you add the preferred rooster. Link to example...

    https://www.mypetchicken.com/backya...-I-tell-if-my-hens-eggs-are-fertile-H274.aspx

    How long you keep them together doesn't have to be the whole time you are collecting eggs, since they will be fertile for up to a couple weeks. So it depends on how many eggs you are collecting... but they don't recommend trying to hatch eggs more than 7-10 days old as hatch-ability decrease greatly. So I collect for about 7 days per hatch as my girls don't lay every day. After you add the new roo, you can again crack eggs to see if they are fertile before you start keeping to hatch. Just eat them so they aren't wasted just to check. [​IMG]

    2-3 girls with a roo could be a little harsh, partly depending on the roo. Older boys tend to have more manners and their drive may have decreased slightly. While younger cockerels have zero manners and are very driven. Early spring will likely be a highly active time for them for mating.

    Also, doesn't hurt to have the girls a little settled in and laying in their new boxes, if that's an adjustment they have to make... so they don't hold eggs back when you want them from any stress caused by said move. Of course that may or may not happen, but I like to be prepared so things work on my schedule.

    Do check out the hatching section in the learning center. It has lots of great information.

    Roosters seem to be always frisky here. But they do still have girls they prefer as well as girls who just won't give it up. But with only a few AND a persistent boy, they may have no say in the matter. And all may be mated and fertile before very long.

    If you do decide to play catch and release... wait until they have gone to roost or before they get off roost in the morning. No chasing required! This is how I collect anybody needed for inspection or treatment and works very well. [​IMG] Also, don't put any eggs under your broody or in an incubator until ALL are ready to go, to avoid a staggered hatch which is very undesirable. And I wouldn't let the broodies stay that way for too long (if not actively hatching) as their body condition declines during that time from not eating to often and not stretching and walking. The muscles get week. Mine will go broody on air. [​IMG]

    Best wishes for a great hatch! [​IMG]
     
  5. MasAhora

    MasAhora Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for the considered responses!

    I have a better idea of how to think about my plans to manage my coops and pens for next season....already I've worked out my initial plans need adjustment based on your comments. So I shall enjoy researching, planning and preparing for next season. I'd love to give both myself and the chickens a more tranquil breeding season, I can make my changes slowly and let them adapt.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2017
  6. TheKindaFarmGal

    TheKindaFarmGal Chicken Obsessed

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    Sounds great! Glad we could help. :)
     

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