Do hens store sperm?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Gerry2011, Mar 15, 2012.

  1. Gerry2011

    Gerry2011 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 8, 2011
    NW Arkansas
    If so for how long? I've separated my bcm roo with 2 ameracauna hens from the rest of the flock that includes 2 other roos. How long will it be before the eggs that are laid will be from the bcm roo?

    Just found this link that answers my question, plus other interesting things I didn't know about hens and roos.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2012
  2. EweSheep

    EweSheep Flock Mistress

    Jan 12, 2007
    Land of Lincoln
    Yes, for three to four weeks. Best bet to take all the roos out of the hen's place, and reintroduce the roo you want to use back about a month. And wait a few days to a week to make sure the eggs are fertile.
  3. Gerry2011

    Gerry2011 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 8, 2011
    NW Arkansas
    Thanks EweSheep.
  4. Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 10, 2009
    Pendleton County, WV
    Question on this subject:

    If a rooster copulates with a hen once is that enough to fertilize her eggs for the next month or do they need to be together longer? I want a particular roo to be the father of this hens next clutch and she is in the house because she just had a brood of only one hatch a little over 4 weeks ago and now she has started laying again but if I put her out it is too cold for her baby and there is a problem with a hawk that has gotten almost all the other hens however I have 8 roosters left.
  5. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 8, 2008
    I would let them mate for a couple of days, at least.

    It wouldn't have been too cold for the hen and chick if you'd let them outside from the beginning, because they'd both be acclimated to the climate. The chick would run outside in the cold just fine, then scoot back under Mama when it got too cold. Now, however, they're both used to the warm inside air and it will be harder on them both to go back outside. Not impossible, mind you--just harder on them. Make sure that they have a good place to get out of the wind and snuggle into some bedding, and they should be OK outside. Keep an eye on them, but chicks are tougher than you think. We have to brood them because we're not the Mama, but when they have a mama hen they do OK in colder weather.

    Dont' take my word for it--here's a quote from an earlier thread on hatching chicks in cold weather, from a thread about a year ago:

    Last edited: Mar 22, 2013
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Some information that might help with this.

    It takes about 25 hours for an egg to travel through the hen’s internal egg making factory. Fertilization can only occur in the first few minutes of that journey. So if a mating takes place on a Friday, Friday’s egg will not be fertile. Saturday’s egg might or might not be fertile, depending on timing between the mating and when the egg started its journey. Sunday’s egg is almost certainly fertile.

    This is after a mating. Not all roosters mate with each and every hen in the flock every day.

    Hens do store sperm in a tube to fertilize the eggs. This tube is right at the start of her internal plumbing related to egg laying. If you notice, right after a mating the hen fluffs up and shakes. This fluffy shake gets the sperm in the tube.

    How long does the sperm stay viable after a mating? It varies. The health and vitality of the rooster probably contributes a lot to this, but who knows everything that affects it. Some stay fertile for maybe only 9 days, though most people use two weeks and this usually works out. Some have been known to stay fertile for over three weeks. If you want to be absolutely definitely certain, wait four weeks. A lot of people wait three weeks and it usually works out.

    There is something else working on favor of not waiting quite so long. That tube that stores the sperm works on a last in – first out basis. The last rooster that successfully mates with the hen is probably going to be the one that fertilizes the egg, at least until his sperm is used up. The flaw with counting on this is that I don’t know how often the rooster has to mate with the hen to make sure his sperm is not used up.

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