Egg / breeding questons..

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by hd_darcy, May 24, 2010.

  1. hd_darcy

    hd_darcy Songster

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    Apr 28, 2010
    Wisconsin
    Please bear with me as I try to learn a bit here [​IMG] I'm new to chickens, but totally loving it. I'm trying to understand the breeding / egg-laying part of it. My question would be:

    1) If I left my roos in with my hens all the time, how often would I have fertile eggs? Do they mate all year round?
    2) If I were interested in having baby chicks, would I have to candle them to find out if they are fertile?
    3) If I found out they were fertile, I could possibly just put them under a broody hen, instead of incubating?
    4) Can they become fertile as soon as the hens start laying or does it take longer than that for them to produce fertile eggs? OR is that all up to the roosters and when they start to breed?


    I'm sure #1 depends on how many chickens I have... I'm unsure right now how many are hens, and how many are roos. I, for sure, will have 3 females, 1 roo. then I have 7 more that I'm not sure the sex yet (silkies, and some babies I had just ordered).

    Please school me! Thank you so much!

    Darcy
     

  2. lauralou

    lauralou Songster

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    Dec 10, 2007
    Central Virginia
    I'll try to answer your questions. [​IMG]

    1) Chickens do mate year round. They tend to mate more in the spring and summer, but you could get fertile eggs all year in theory.

    2 and 4) If you want to find out whether or not your eggs are fertile, you can't really tell that by candling. Not until you've incubated and seen development, anyway. What you can do is to crack some of your eggs and see if you see a "bullseye" on the yolk. It's just a small white thing, but definitely looks like a bullseye. Sometimes you have to flip the yolk with a fork, because the bullseye is on the bottom. If the egg is infertile, there is no bullseye, just a white dot. I've noticed that when roosters first start mating, the eggs the hens lay are infertile for a while, then it goes to sporadic fertility or only the eggs of certain hens are fertile, then the next thing you know, every egg you crack has a definite bullseye. At that point, you can start thinking about hatching.

    3) You don't have to have an incubator to hatch eggs. I don't have one. I use broody hens exclusively. But you have no guarantee that you will get a broody hen. You have a good chance with your silkies though. They are known as a very broody breed. It's so very easy to hatch eggs and raise chicks using broody hens. They do all the work. The only problem is convenience. Sometimes you don't have a hen who wants to be broody at the exact time that you want to hatch eggs.

    I hope that helped you. I also hope someone will link you to the post where pictures of fertile and infertile eggs are shown. I'm terrible at finding things and linking to them!

    Good luck!
     
  3. hd_darcy

    hd_darcy Songster

    395
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    Apr 28, 2010
    Wisconsin
    Of course that helped! Thank you so much!! The only question I just want to confirm is when they usually start breeding? Is it around the time they start laying, or does that vary? Thank you!

    Darcy
     
  4. At about the same time if you think in terms of weeks or a couple months. It will not happen that the hens are ready one year but it takes two years for the rooster to want to do his job, or visa-versa. Timing I'd guess is not too long after they start laying. I had two hens start laying the first week in Feb who were born the first week in Aug last year who have both gone broody, and hatched chicks this Spring. They could have been bred by one of two roosters..one is two years old, and one is the same age as they are.
     

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