How old should birds be before "breeding"

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by SusanJoM, Apr 30, 2008.

  1. SusanJoM

    SusanJoM Chillin' With My Peeps

    Well, my kids are still in the brooder, so this question is kinda premature, but just for the sake of planning, at what stage can/should their eggs/sperm be really viable/best for breeding????

    As soon as they start laying (which will probably be in mid-August)?

    Next Spring?

    After their first moult?

    What say you?????
    (As in, how long do I have to get some breeder cages built....[​IMG])

    Susan
     
  2. Wolf-Kim

    Wolf-Kim Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think most people breed as soon as they start laying. Breeding isn't much more of a strain on them like it is with mammals. With mammals you have a pregnacy and it strains the female body, but with chickens they are going to lay that huge egg anyway the only difference being whether the rooster 'jumps' the hen or not.

    I've also heard that raising the cockerels with the hens(especially slightly older hens) keeps them a little less aggressive towards hens in the long run. Just make sure the roosters are large enough to fend for themselves if you put them in with larger older birds).

    -Kim
     
  3. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    A cockeral in your flock will mate your hens/pullets long before they are at egg laying age. It is something they do. Wether or not a young cockeral is fertile that early is a guessing game. Usually by the time the pullets are at a point of lay they pretty much have the mating thing down pat. Some roosters are fertile around 5 months and some take a while longer.

    If you plan to raise the pullet and then introduce a rooster make sure he isn't too big for them because he will hurt them. For instance don't put a big orpington roo in with RIR or Buttercup, etc., pullets because he will hurt them severly.

    Pullets mature somwhere between 18 - 24 weeks and start eggs laying. With the right rooster in with them those eggs will be fertile if he is mating them.
     
  4. SusanJoM

    SusanJoM Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thank you ladies !!!!

    I have two young roos that I know of: a cuckoo maran and a bantam salmon favorelle. I have two pullets of each of those breeds, plus 2 pullets each of EE, light Brahma and Black Austrolorp. Then I have 2 black silkies and 1 each silver and golden sebright. The silkies and sebrights were straight run, so I don't know for sure what their sexes are yet. They are all about 4 - 5 wks old.

    I'm probably not ready to breed them specifically yet, anyway, so unless I have more roos than can get along, I may just keep them all in one flock for this coming year. I will however, start work on a way to separate them as necessary.

    I appreciate your information.

    Susan
     
  5. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    As cockerals mature they can become aggressive with one another over their territory. If you keep them in the same pen you will eventually have bloody fights that may be fatal to one of the cockerals. If you keep two it is best to keep them in separate pens.
     
  6. SusanJoM

    SusanJoM Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Okay then.....guess the building plans for this weekend will just have to change to accommodate that reality.[​IMG]

    Susan
     
  7. tataharris

    tataharris Chillin' With My Peeps

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    When is it safe to add young pullets to an already established flock with a mature rooster of the same breed?
     
  8. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Quote:The pullets need to be the about the same size as the other hens. Otheriwse they won't be able to protect themselves from the attacks that will come from the older established hens making sure they know the pecking order. They can also starve them out and bully them making younger pullets cower or hide.

    Put them in a pen inside the run with the older hens for a couple weeks before turning them out. Then go in at night and put the younger pullets on the roost so they all wake up together and none the wiser.
     
  9. tataharris

    tataharris Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the advice! [​IMG]
     

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