How can roosters tell a hen is fertile?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by azygous, Dec 24, 2012.

  1. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

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    I don know how he does it, but my rooster seem to know when a hen is fertile, from pullets just days from point-of-lay to my seasoned layers.

    Since the entire fleet of layers have been molting, just one hen was still laying. She was the only one who got "attention" from my rooster Penrod. She quit laying a few weeks ago, and he has ignored her since.

    The last few days, Penrod has been honoring one hen with his favors, no one else. Behold! Today, she laid her first egg in three months!

    How does he do it? I'd sure love to know! I thought it might be the color of their combs, but his current "interest" has a pale pink comb same as before.
     
  2. WaterFowl209

    WaterFowl209 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would think the hen emits a scent or secretion giving the roo the signal that it's time
     
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Hen in lay or approaching it tend to hold body feathers so they look kind of boxy and tail feathers are pinched at a 45 degree angle from horizontal. To me they try to look fat. Wattles and comb tends to be bright red but that changes as egg production commences. In some birds with white to whitish earlobes, they become whiter. Also some differences in vocalization but I am not comformtable trying to describe that. Such hen also acts differently when rooster talks to her. Somehow rooster also knows when hen is nearing point-of-lay causing him to indicate potential nest sites.
     
  4. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

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    Thanks! I was hoping you'd respond, since you study chicken behavior more closely than most here.

    I'm going to watch for those signs and see if I can see what Penrod is seeing.
     

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