Eggs with no chicks

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by biscuit7, Nov 17, 2016.

  1. biscuit7

    biscuit7 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Recently the last few batches of chicks I've attempted to hatch (by hen) have been failures. Most of the eggs don't have any chicks at all. Could the problem be my older hens? Or is my rooster shooting blanks? Our youngest hen just turned 1. The others are at least 1.5 all the way to about 4. I think the much older hens aren't laying anymore so doubtful that any hatch eggs have been theirs. Our rooster will be 2 in February. I have a neighbor friend who also has a flock and she has young roosters that she needs to get rid of by next month. Our rooster is not aggressive at all towards us or small kids, which I love. He is good with the hens besides one who went broody a few months ago and hatched 3 chicks (out of 10 eggs). I sent her to live with her chicks in my friends chicken tractor for a month and when she returned he would chase her away from food and at times attempt to attack her. That's the only reason why I'm considering replacing him but am really not sure what to do. I would hate for one of the young roosters to end up aggressive once they take control of our flock. Also, if I would replace him, do we give him away/cull him and then bring the younger one in, or have them together for a brief time? I appreciate any help! Thank you!!
     
  2. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    Can't answer your question about the fertility issues....Older hens can indeed lay fertile eggs (if they are still laying, of course) and hatch them successfully, so I don't think their ages has much to do with it.

    As I see it, your problem with the hen you brought back into the flock isn't an aggression issue with your rooster. After time away from the flock she's now a stranger to them. He sees her as an intruder and feels the need to protect the flock, the food and the shelter from her. So it's not that he's being "bad" - in fact he's doing exactly what you want a good rooster to do. When you brought her back, did you quarantine her at all? Did you then put her in a pen close to the others where they could see her and get accustomed to her all over again? Or did you just put her in with the others because she used to be part of the flock? They don't see things the way we do, and they definitely don't like change. Getting rid of him is kinda backwards, especially if he's doing all the right things and isn't people or flock aggressive. Too hard to come by roosters like that.

    Make up a wire enclosure of some sort, in the run if you can, and put her in there. Let the flock see but not touch. Spread a line of scratch or treats at the edge of the enclosure, some on her side, some on theirs, so that they can feed head-to-head but not hurt each other. It may take awhile. Integration can be tricky, or simple. Just dropping another chicken in is tricky. Starting slowly and building up is simple. Only when he no longer sees her as a threat will he accept her. Good luck!
     
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  3. Pyxis

    Pyxis Dark Sider Premium Member

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    Is your rooster a fluffy breed? Like orpington, silkie, cochin, etc? If so he might need a feather trim around the vent so he can get contact with the hens and actually fertilize them.
     
  4. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    Ooh, good point! I didn't think of that, but then I ain't always the brightest crayon in the box! [​IMG]
     
  5. rebrascora

    rebrascora Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Another possibility, if you are in the northern hemisphere, is that fertility can naturally drop temporarily along with male virility at this time of year. Chickens over a year old usually moult in the autumn and lose condition. They are uncomfortable and don't like to mate. Combs usually go pale which is a sign to the rooster that they are not in mating condition and he too may feel rough if he is moulting. It is just not a natural time of year for them to be raising chicks.
    I would keep him until the spring and see if fertility improves then rather than cull a bird from your flock that has a lot of good attributes.

    Of course, if you are in the southern hemisphere, disregard the above.....NB. It really helps if people fill in their location on their profile page, so that we can see at a glance where in the world they are and tailor advice accordingly, rather than having to cover all bases.

    Regards

    Barbara
     
  6. biscuit7

    biscuit7 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No he's not fluffy, he's a rhode island red (mix?). He mainly looks rir but I'm pretty sure he's not full blood. Also we are located in central Missouri. Thanks for all of the great points! I hadn't thought of any of these things!
     

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