how long does a roo need to be with a hen to get fertile eggs?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by chkinut, Feb 15, 2014.

  1. chkinut

    chkinut Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 25, 2010
    Leesburg, Ohio
    hi guys! i have never had a roo before.....but i have 2 very dear pet hens who are 4 years old. i love them so very much that i want to hatch out and keep a pullet from each of them. i have a question or 2......how old does a roo have to be before he can fertilize their eggs? and how long does he have to be with the hens before i can start collecting their eggs for incubation? also, are my girls too old to have babies?
    thanks for any replies/help!
     
  2. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    Cockerels get sexually active at 18-20 weeks. It only takes 2 seconds for them to inseminate the hen but how long it takes for them to submit to him is another story. Being older hens it will take longer for him to get dominance but the hens will also tame him, abuse him at first but you'll end with a well behaved rooster.

    Hens are capable of providing chicks as long as they lay eggs.
     
  3. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    If they're laying eggs, they're not too old. When they stop laying, they're too old.
    With most breeds, a cockerel will start trying to mate between 15 and 22 weeks.
    It's best not to use one that young though. I wait at least 30 weeks.
    I'd start checking for fertility about 3 days after the first mating.
    Semen is held in the sperm storage gland and when the next egg is laid, some is squeezed out and they make their way to the infundibulum. (I'm not sure how long that takes) Once there, when the next ova is released, it gets fertilized. Then it is laid as a complete egg about 24 hours later.
    Do you know how to check an egg for fertility?
     
  4. chkinut

    chkinut Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 25, 2010
    Leesburg, Ohio
    thanks guys! nope....i don't know how to check an egg for fertility. other than cracking it open and seeing a bullseye. is that what you mean? and isn't the bullseye hard to see? i should look up pics on the internet.
     
  5. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    Last edited: Feb 15, 2014
  6. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Yes that's what I mean. I have a hard time seeing the bullseye because I'm old as dirt. I have to have a bright light and sometimes a magnifying glass. It is distinctive though. Sometimes it is hiding underneath the yolk and has to be turned over. I'd check eggs from each hen before you try to incubate them.
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Realize tho that 1 rooster for 2 hens might be too much for those girls and they could end up over mated.
    Integration of a new bird to any sized flock can offer some challenges.
    Might be a good idea to think about having a separate pen to ease integration and for seclusion if necessary.

    Do you plan on using an incubator to hatch your lovelies clones?
     
  8. rosinsk1772

    rosinsk1772 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Is there a good ratio of roosters to hens for breeding?
     
  9. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    1:8 or 10 is considered normal for heavy breeds, a few more hens for light breeds. Sometimes the roosters will have favorites that keeps him off of others so with 1:5 or 6 should get them all done. Keep in mind, he only has to successfully breed a hen once every 2 or 3 weeks for her eggs to stay fertile.
     

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