Breeding.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Kerjack, Nov 14, 2009.

  1. Kerjack

    Kerjack Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So I warn you, I'm incredibly new to raising chickens and this site. If this has already been posted feel free to point me in the right direction. I did try to search for this.

    I've been reading alot about breeding chickens, and ultimately it is something that I would like to try/do. But I can't figure out how to go about it. Like I get the general idea, but I get so confused about the specific's. I would like to breed for either pure bred, good laying/eating birds or both if possible. So I have a couple questions.
    - How do I make sure that only the chickens I want to are breeding? Do I set up different coop's?
    - What should I be looking for to breed?
    - What does "cull" mean?
    - Do they have a specific season?
    - Can you re breed bloodlines?

    Sorry if I sound dumb, like I said newbie. I really trying to get all the information I can get before I even try to attempt this, so any tips, advice or help would be awesome!
    Thanks.
     
  2. barred-rocks-rock

    barred-rocks-rock Can't stick with a Title

    Jul 5, 2009
    Just make sure that you breed one rooster with the hen you want. Putting them in the same pen together wouldnt be a bad idea.
    Just be careful, if she is with the rooster by herself for too long, he might hurt her.

    And by the way, cull means kill.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2009
  3. aalbury

    aalbury Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am new too, however, in my limited experience cull does not always mean killing. Generally though it is what most seem to mean when they say it. Cull from the breeding flock, perhaps to just the laying flock if it's a hen, or sell to someone else to decide it's fate. Culling is getting rid of unwanted stock. Some horse breeders cull by donating the horses to 4H projects, police forces for mounted police, etc. I don't know what else you could do with chickens, maybe the 4Hers would like to practice judging or raising or slaughter depending on the reason for culling the specific animal? I've read that sick chickens in general should just be killed/culled.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2009
  4. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    Since eggs can be incubated, one way you could breed without using separate pens, if you only have one rooster, would be to keep the eggs from only those hens whose offspring you want and then incubate them. I.e. you have a Rooster and 5 hens of different breeds, only one of which is the same breed as the rooster. So only keep her eggs to incubate and eat the rest! If you have multiple roosters, then you would need separate pens to ensure you know which rooster is mating with which hen.

    If you are incubating there is no specific season. However the chicks, once they hatch, must be kept warm in a brooder until they are fully feathered, before they can go outside. If you live in a cold climate, I wouldn't recommend hatching chicks in Nov/Dec or even January, because you'd be trying to put them outside when the weather is the harshest. You'd instead want to time your hatches to allow the chicks to be ready to go outside at a time when the weather is milder.
     
  5. aalbury

    aalbury Chillin' With My Peeps

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    About breeding....my 2 little cents

    I asked myself what do I want? Like you, I wanted good layers that would also be good eating when the time came. Colored eggs would be a plus. I also wanted friendly, non-aggressive chickens. I want to breed them for myself, not for selling....so the really great thing about chickens? Quick results in comparison to other stock. What I wanted has been done, so.....I just am breeding for myself and if I get anything improved?

    Then I saw a Maran egg, and suddenly, high egg production is a little lower on the list...

    Once you decide what you are breeding for, read up on breeds, make your selection and cull what you don't want. There are plenty of threads here on line breeding.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2009
  6. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    Cull does not always mean kill.

    To cull . . . means remove it from the flock because the chicken is no longer wanted, such as to rehome

    Cull can mean kill, but a lot of folks on this site prefer not to kill chickens.
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    - How do I make sure that only the chickens I want to are breeding? Do I set up different coop's?

    Any breed of rooster will breed with any breed of hen, so, yes, you need to keep only the hens with the rooster that you wish to breed them to. Many breeders have separate pens for a one rooster-two hen trio, or one rooster-one hen pair to keep good track of the genetics. Once a hen breeds, she may retain fertility from that rooster for 2 to 3 weeks so the separation needs to be pretty severe.

    - What should I be looking for to breed?

    Genetically, there is no such thing as a purebred chicken. They have all been developed from crossing other breeds, although mutation sometimes comes into play. Standards have been set for what a chicken of a specific breed should look like, but any line will quickly diverge from that specific standard without constant attention to detail while selecting breeding birds. And breeding for eggs and meat is different than breeding to standard. You have to select the traits you want and reinforce those in your breeding program while trying to eliminate the traits you don't want. Once you decide which breed you want to start with, I'd suggest you contact breeders of that breed, talk to them about your goals, get photos, find out which championships they have won in shows, etc. and decide which ones you want to start with. It is important to start with good stock. Hatchery stock is not the best as far as meeting standards. It can be decent as far as egg laying ability, but you are really taking a gamble. i strongly suggest doing your research and going with breeder stock.

    - What does "cull" mean?

    As Enola said, cull simply means to select which ones to remove from your breeding program. You cull the ones that you do not want to breed. Whether this means kill and compost, kill and eat, give away,sell, move to laying flock, feed to your pet boa constrictor, or whatever, it is something you need to work out early. If you are into an intensive breeding program, you will hatch a lot of chicks. You'll find that a whole lot of them do not meet your requirements so you will need to cull them. Feeding all those chickens will be expensive and take up a lot of room.

    - Do they have a specific season?


    Not sure what you mean by this. Depending on your facilities and desires, you can hatch chicks any time of year.

    - Can you re breed bloodlines?

    It is about the only way I know of to have a successful breeding program. Breeding parent to child, brother to sister, grandparent to grandchild are all components of the breeding process. And at the right time, you need to introduce outside blood to highlight the traits you want or to try to eliminate faults. You can find books on the subject at your public library or do a search of line breeding on here to get a lot of reading.

    Hope this helps. Good luck!

    Editted because I referred to the wrong person. Sorry!
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2009
  8. tamlynn

    tamlynn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    ooo, I have questions about breeding too. Hope the op doesn't mind me adding on to the list.

    At what age is a hen ready to breed?

    Can a hen be fertilized at any time or only during a certain part of her egg laying cycle?
     
  9. spartacus_63

    spartacus_63 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    cull (kl)
    tr.v. culled, cullĀ·ing, culls
    1. To pick out from others; select.
    2. To gather; collect.
    3. To remove rejected members or parts from (a herd, for example).
    n.
    Something picked out from others, especially something rejected because of inferior quality.
     
  10. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    At what age is a hen ready to breed?

    The short and simple answer is that most of them will accept a rooster without a struggle about the time they start laying. It can be a little more complicated than that because it can vary somewhat by individual. A rooster mating a hen shows a certain dominance. Some hens will not accept dominance and will resist. Sometimes, an older hen will resist an immature rooster. But the hen will usually accept a rooster when she is ready to start laying.

    Can a hen be fertilized at any time or only during a certain part of her egg laying cycle?

    Not exactly sure what the question is. Once mated, a hen will stay fertile for 10 days to maybe, at most, 3 weeks. Two weeks seems to be about average. So it does not matter at what part of her egg laying cycle the mating takes place, as long as it is at least a day before the egg is laid. The egg laying cycle is about 25 hours long. The egg is fertilized in the first 15 minutes of that cycle, hence the full day requirement. She will not lay a fertile egg the day she is mated and very possibly not the second day, depending on the time of day the mating took place and when her actual internal egg laying cycle started.
     

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