Cockerel trying to mate.....with little to no success

BLG0617

In the Brooder
Jul 8, 2021
26
37
44
I have a mixed flock that I got from a local feed store this spring. All around about 5.5 months give or take a few weeks. I was lucky enough to somehow manage only getting one cockerel from straight run out of 10 birds. We were new to chickens so I don't have an older more established flock, this is it. 1 light brahma cockerel, 2 light brahma pullets, 3 olive egger pullets, 2 midnight majesty marans pullets, and 2 pearl star leghorn pullets. None of the pullets are laying yet, although I believe the Olive eggers would be if we had supplemental light in the coop. Anyways, our cockerel has started trying to mate and NON of the girls are having it. Is it normal for him to try to do this when they aren't laying yet? Also wondering if I added supplemental light to the coop, could I get them to start laying now or am I pretty much SOL until spring at this point?
 

ChickenLeg

Crowing
9 Years
Feb 15, 2012
1,896
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Yeah give them some extra lighting on timers to equal 16hr of light and thatll help em kickstart 🤟 My granddad used timers from 4am til 1 hr after sunrise, then it kicked back on 1hr before sunset til 8pm. This way he didnt have to waste electricity with it on all day and the sunshrine did the rest of the work. Cheers
 

BLG0617

In the Brooder
Jul 8, 2021
26
37
44
Yeah give them some extra lighting on timers to equal 16hr of light and thatll help em kickstart 🤟 My granddad used timers from 4am til 1 hr after sunrise, then it kicked back on 1hr before sunset til 8pm. This way he didnt have to waste electricity with it on all day and the sunshrine did the rest of the work. Cheers
Oh awesome. That's was my plan to get them on some lights with a timer but I wasn't sure if it would work since they hadn't started laying before winter hit. I'm gonna go ahead and order everything then, thanks!
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
28,283
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Southeast Louisiana
Is it normal for him to try to do this when they aren't laying yet?
Yes, very normal. At that age it is not about fertilizing non-existing eggs. It is about flock dominance. The one on bottom is accepting the dominance of the one on top, either willingly or by force. At that age it is usually by force. The cockerel's hormones are telling him to dominate the girls. The girls aren't mature enough to know exactly what is going on but they know they don't want to be dominated. Occasionally it isn't that bad but it can easily get really physical. I've never had a pullet injured during this phase but it can be physical. Injury is a possibility. As someone on here once said watching pullets and cockerels go through puberty is often not for the faint of heart.

Also wondering if I added supplemental light to the coop, could I get them to start laying now or am I pretty much SOL until spring at this point?
Maybe. Most of them are probably old enough but Brahma's have a reputation of being slow. I'm not sure where you are located. I'd guess north of the equator so your days will start getting longer pretty soon anyway.

Length of day is not what triggers them to start, its the days getting longer. I don't know how long your days are now but adding 15 minute increments twice a week until you get 1-1/2 to 2 hours longer is usually enough. They don't immediately start laying. They have to make changes to internal plumbing to switch from not laying to laying. That can take a little while, often weeks.

What triggers them to molt and stop laying is the days getting shorter. If you extend them and then shut off the extending with the days still shorter you risk sending them into a molt. It doesn't happen all the time but it is a risk.

Good luck!
 

ChickenLeg

Crowing
9 Years
Feb 15, 2012
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Oh awesome. That's was my plan to get them on some lights with a timer but I wasn't sure if it would work since they hadn't started laying before winter hit. I'm gonna go ahead and order everything then, thanks!
And chickens need very little light to help with laying,, 9watt led or 14 watt flouresent for 200sq ft of floor space is sufficient but more wont hurt them its just extra electricity. Same as having a light on all day, it wont hurt their laying its just extra electricity 🤟
 

BLG0617

In the Brooder
Jul 8, 2021
26
37
44
Yes, very normal. At that age it is not about fertilizing non-existing eggs. It is about flock dominance. The one on bottom is accepting the dominance of the one on top, either willingly or by force. At that age it is usually by force. The cockerel's hormones are telling him to dominate the girls. The girls aren't mature enough to know exactly what is going on but they know they don't want to be dominated. Occasionally it isn't that bad but it can easily get really physical. I've never had a pullet injured during this phase but it can be physical. Injury is a possibility. As someone on here once said watching pullets and cockerels go through puberty is often not for the faint of heart.


Maybe. Most of them are probably old enough but Brahma's have a reputation of being slow. I'm not sure where you are located. I'd guess north of the equator so your days will start getting longer pretty soon anyway.

Length of day is not what triggers them to start, its the days getting longer. I don't know how long your days are now but adding 15 minute increments twice a week until you get 1-1/2 to 2 hours longer is usually enough. They don't immediately start laying. They have to make changes to internal plumbing to switch from not laying to laying. That can take a little while, often weeks.

What triggers them to molt and stop laying is the days getting shorter. If you extend them and then shut off the extending with the days still shorter you risk sending them into a molt. It doesn't happen all the time but it is a risk.

Good luck!
Oh sorry that probably would have been helpful. I'm in Michigan, we are only getting about 10 maybe 10.5 hours of daylight right now. Daylight savings ends in March then our days will start getting longer.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 27, 2012
101,592
147,336
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SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
16hr of light
That would be a max, 12-14 is plenty.
Here's a pretty good article on supplemental lighting.

Daylight savings ends in March then our days will start getting longer.
Changing the clocks does not change the length of daylight.
The days will start to get longer on ~Dec 21(Winter Solstice).
They will start to get shorter on ~June 21(Summer Solstice).
 

BLG0617

In the Brooder
Jul 8, 2021
26
37
44
That would be a max, 12-14 is plenty.
Here's a pretty good article on supplemental lighting.


Changing the clocks does not change the length of daylight.
The days will start to get

That would be a max, 12-14 is plenty.
Here's a pretty good article on supplemental lighting.


Changing the clocks does not change the length of daylight.
The days will start to get longer on ~Dec 21(Winter Solstice).
They will start to get shorter on ~June 21(Summer Solstice).
Correct but it still gets dark early until then, meaning they would still need supplemental light at least until then if not longer.
 

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