Breeding practices to keep chick production up and breeding lines clean

Jan Croot

Chirping
Feb 21, 2020
98
143
78
Free ranging has advantages, but if you are interested in selling pure bred chicks, eventually one most do some restriction, like keeping all your roos separate from your hens.

What systems do folks use?

When you want to breed, how long do you put the chosen roo with the hens?

How often should your repeat the conjugal visits?

I've heard that Hens hold sperm for a month.... or a week. What have you found?
 

ChickenCanoe

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Nov 23, 2010
32,714
26,991
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St. Louis, MO
I only raise one breed/variety. That makes it easy. But I still like to keep track of lines so I make sure roos not intended for breeding aren't kept with any of the primary flocks.
When I had multiple breeds, I did confine them Or at least kept them far enough apart that they didn't intermingle.
Semen usually remains viable for at least 3 weeks at body temperature.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
26,771
18,621
857
Southeast Louisiana
An egg takes about 25 hours to go through the hen's internal egg making factory, from when the yolk is released to start that journey until it is in the nest. That egg can only be fertilized during the first few minutes of that journey. That means if a mating takes place on Monday, Monday's egg is not fertile. Tuesday's egg might or might not be, depending on timing. Wednesday's egg should be fertile.

This is after a successful mating. A rooster does not necessarily mate every hen in his flock every day, but he doesn't have to. In the last part of the mating act the rooster hops off, his part is done. The hen stands up, fluffs up, and shakes. This fluffy shake moves the sperm to a storage container near where the egg starts its journey. That sperm can remain viable for over a week. In some cases it remains viable for over three weeks. With living animals you don't get guarantees on things like this, it can vary by the individual. If you want to clean out a hen it's probably best to keep her clean for a month from a specific rooster. If you want to assure she is laying fertile eggs and you can't house the rooster with the hen I'd be OK with two weeks but would prefer even less. I don't know what your set-up is but I'd probably set up a weekly rotation, same day every week, just to avoid confusion. The older I get the easier I am confused. Was that last week or two weeks ago?
 

Alaskan

The Frosted Flake
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Jul 26, 2008
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Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
My Coop
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Free ranging has advantages, but if you are interested in selling pure bred chicks, eventually one most do some restriction, like keeping all your roos separate from your hens.

What systems do folks use?

When you want to breed, how long do you put the chosen roo with the hens?

How often should your repeat the conjugal visits?

I've heard that Hens hold sperm for a month.... or a week. What have you found?
I split up my groups, and keep them in breeding groups for at least a month, preferably 6 weeks, before collecting eggs to incubate.

I was positive I had my groups segregated for a full month last year .. and a few of the chicks are clearly crosses!! :barnie

I select strongly for personality, so I have no issues with having "poor" male to female ratios. 1:1, 1:3, whatever. As a result, I decide the breeding groups for the year, and everyone gets put in the breeding groups in late spring... then they stay in those groups until it gets really cold or deep snow... and then all groups are combined into one winter coop.
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
11 Years
Nov 12, 2009
8,751
10,650
636
western South Dakota
If you can tell which hen is laying which egg, you can cheat a bit. Say you have a mixed flock, with your rooster matching ONE of the breeds. Then you just hatch those eggs. I have a small operation, so only have one rooster at a time.

If you do want to separate birds, you do not need to do all of them. Just pick one or two of the hens that you really like, and put those two with the chosen rooster and collect eggs for several days. Eggs are viable easily for a week or 10 days, when you get a clutch then set them. Just keep them on your counter clearly labeled as hatching eggs so someone does not accidentally make a omelet out of them!

Mrs K
 

Jan Croot

Chirping
Feb 21, 2020
98
143
78
If you can tell which hen is laying which egg, you can cheat a bit. Say you have a mixed flock, with your rooster matching ONE of the breeds.

Dear Mrs K
I have large coop/run for the roosters. Large coop/run for the hens, and a smaller breeding coop/run. I had hoped to rotate the smaller groups through the breeding section. and the comments above help a lot. No if only I could convence the barred Plymouth Rock and black silkier to move somewhere else. We are battleing daily and I'm losing...lol
 

cmom

Hilltop Farm
13 Years
Nov 18, 2007
25,632
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771
Florida
My Coop
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I raise my birds for exhibition/showing. I have several coops and pens. I have a couple of coops and pens where I put the birds I'm not planning on using for breeding. I do sell eggs for eating and hatching. I do not cross lines. I pick out my best and also look for traits for enhancing my birds. I do not breed sister/brother. I'm in the process of setting up my breeding coops and pens. In my signature I list the breeds I have. All of my birds are pure (heritage). When I put the birds into their coops and pens I wait at least a month before I collect the eggs for hatching. I hatch out a few hundred chicks every year realizing around half will be males. I do grow out all of my birds. When the birds are around 5/6 months I separate the males from the females and some of the breeding coops then become bachelor coops and pens. I keep the best males as future breeders and sell the rest (it helps to offset the price of the feed). The females go into other coops and pens. This is just how I do it. Good luck and have fun...
 

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