bringing a roo(s) in to a flock just for fertilization

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by sueandthe6, Feb 6, 2015.

  1. sueandthe6

    sueandthe6 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 6 hens of assorted varieties all going on three years old this summer. I also have 2 cochin roos who were born guestimating sept of last year. I recently got a bug to incubate some eggs just to play(a huge Styrofoam cooler showing up at work might have been part of the tease). Watched some videos on making a homemade incubator, bought all the stuff and even talked to someone who has marans that will give me some eggs. The plan was to get it together Sun- run it till tues and if all was well- put some of my mixed crew eggs first. Then if that went well- second run would be the maran eggs. Collecting eggs tonight I cracked the tip of one- no biggie- needed to make sure the roos were doing roo stuff. Well- I didn't see a bulls eye. I looked a long long time- and rolled that egg a zillion times. I had heard the cochins mature late- so maybe that is the issue> ? My question is this... I have 2 barred rock roos living temporarily in an outdoor dog kennel with me (emergency as they were supposed to be hens and had to move fast). So if the issue with the cochins is just that they are still too young- would it be possible to somehow bring one or both of the barred rocks to my girls to get some fertilized eggs? If so- how do I go about that>? I don't want to get the cochin boys hurt- but if they aren't mature will the barred boys even notice them... do I take the girls to the barred rocks rather than them to the girls? How long do I need to leave them together to get say a dozen or so fertilized eggs? I don't want to start with the maran eggs since I want to make sure I know what I am doing before setting anything that prized. :)
     
  2. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    Perhaps pull the cochins, and put in the barred rocks, (how old are they?) in and keep an eye out, see if there is any mating. I think it would take a couple of days, just keep track when you cook with them, and when you get a pretty high percentage of fertility you are good to go!

    What I have heard, is that it takes about 3 weeks away from a rooster, before you can be sure that eggs are not fertilized from the rooster. The hen stores the sperm for a that time period.

    Mrs K
     
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    First, I'm not sure you were checking fertility correctly. You say you cracked the tip? You need to crack the entire egg and dump it in a container to check for the bullseye.

    Second, are those Cochin boys only around 4 months old? Born Sept 14? If so, they're way, way too young to be dependable at fertilizing eggs. Even dual purpose boys are just starting to get the hang of things at this age. Slow maturing cochins, nope.

    Pull the cochin males out, but one or both of the Rock males in. If they're mature and start mating in the first 24 hours, you'll have fertile eggs say 2 days after they mate. So if you put them in on Monday, see them mating on Tuesday, then on Thursday start collecting eggs. How long it takes to get a dozen depends on how many hens you have and how well they're laying. One mating can theoretically leave a hen fertile for good 2 weeks, but I'd leave the hens with the males until I had enough eggs just to be on the safe side.
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    As Mrs. K said, how old are these barred rock roosters? If someone just discovered they are male instead of female the odds are pretty good that they are pretty young too. Mature hens often will not accept immature cockerels as suitable mates and father of their children.

    I think you are doing a wise thing to test your incubator before risking expensive eggs in it. And I understand a desire to hatch some of your own eggs. It’s not that they are essentially free but they are your own eggs. But it sound like your goal is fertile eggs wherever they come from.

    There is always a risk of bringing in a disease or parasites when you mix chickens from different flocks. If those flocks are pretty isolated and they are not exposed to new chickens the risk isn’t huge, but the risk is always there. Many people do it a lot and don’t have serious problems but just how precious are your current hens to you? It’s just something to consider.

    If the Barred Rock are old enough, do as Donrae said. Pull the Cochin cockerels and insert one Barred Rock rooster. Not two Barred Rock but one. It’s quite possible the older rooster will see the young cockerels as rivals and do them serious harm, especially if space is a little restricted. I would not take that chance.

    It takes about 25 hours for an egg to go through the hen’s internal egg making factory. That egg can only be fertilized during the first few minutes of that journey. That means if you have a mating on Friday, Friday’s egg will not be fertile. Saturday’s might be but I would not count on it. Sunday’s should be, but a rooster does not necessarily mate with every hen in the flock every day, but the hen can store viable sperm for two weeks, sometimes more. After a couple of days start looking for the bull’s eye. When most of the eggs you open have the bull’s eye, most of the eggs you don’t open should have the bull’s eye also.

    If all you want is fertile eggs to test the incubator, talk to people at the feed store to see if they know someone that might have some. You could call your county extension agent and see if they know someone in your area with fertile eggs. If someone in 4H is leading a chicken project, the agent will know. You can find your extension phone number in the phone book under county if you have one of those old-fashioned phone books or just look it up online. Or find the Pennsylvania thread on this forum in the “Where am I? Where are you!” section of this forum and join the conversation. Someone on there probably lives pretty close to you, maybe even someone with Maran eggs.

    Good luck and welcome to the hatching adventure.
     
  5. sueandthe6

    sueandthe6 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The barred rocks are probably a good 9 months- maybe more. They were thought to be pullets back in july and in sept they started mounting my friends girls. We still thought maybe just behavior issues till one started crowing. She isn't supposed to have chickens at all but the township wont care as long as no one complains- and a crowing roo is for sure going to bring complaints. So they came to me in hopes of finding a new home. Her kids fed and handled them so last resort is dinner but I am holding out for a bit yet. Seems a good thing that I did since my cochin boys wont get going for some time yet. I have no doubt the barred boys can do the job- just need to find somewhere to go with the cochins while the barred boy is doing his thing with the girls.


    HI Donrae- sorry- wasn't quite clear. I did actually crack it open- I just meant since I cracked the tip collecting it- that would be one I opened and checked. I slid it into a bowl and turned that yolk over many many times- looked at it under three different lights and finally decided it wanst fertile. :( I don't know the exact hatch date of the cochins- I adopted them form a shelter at around 3 weeks based on what feathers they had. So they are just under 5 months and wont be doing any "roo things" till many many months from now so I have learned.


    Not sure what my next step will be- maybe seeking out cheap fertile eggs (maybe can find some simple barnyard mixes someone is willing to part with) or moving the cochins and indroducing my girls to the barred rock. Ugggg...had such great plans for my weekend LOL
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Thanks for that chuckle. To paraphrase Eisenhower and many others, a plan only lasts until you start to execute it. I’m having one of those Saturdays myself.
     
  7. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Try putting an add on CL or whatever. I've supplied folks with mixed breed fertile eggs for testing incubators or persistent broody hens. Sometimes I charge a small amount, like for eating eggs. Sometimes they just give me any surviving chicks back--that might be the way to go for you. If you plan to return the chicks to the owner, you don't have to worry about brooding, or what to do with those pesky cockerels. That might be the easiest way to go instead of getting your flock all shook up with moving birds around.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2015
  8. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    Once I had a broody and no rooster. I googled a local paper that had run an article on a local woman that had chickens, so I called her. No, she had taken her boys out.... but try this number. So I called a total stranger, said, Hey, I heard that you are a crazy chicken lady too, and might have fertilized eggs. She laughed and two days later, met me in town with 2 dozen! for free!

    Crazy chicken people are like that! Good luck.

    Mrs K
     
  9. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Yeah, not like we're enablers or anything [​IMG]
     
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