How to set up my flock for breeding

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by aggie2013, Oct 26, 2016.

  1. aggie2013

    aggie2013 Out Of The Brooder

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    I recently bought 9 beautiful ameraucana hens (6 black 3 blue) and one blue rooster. At the moment they are all free ranging together and arent really laying. ( probably because of the move or time of year)

    How would you suggest keeping them so I know who lays which egg? I am trying to begin breeding for show quality so accuracy is extremely important.
     
  2. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Overrun With Chickens

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    Not sure just exactly what results you are looking for. My thinking is if you wanted blue offspring's, then separate the three and Rooster. If you wanted the blue roo and black hens, then I don.t know what the results will be. (I don't breed so not sure). On the question of which egg came from which hen, here is my view. Had 3 Ameraucana hens. ( they were just EE, not breed quality stock) Each laid a slightly different tone of color. I suggest you observe hen laying and keep track of color of egg she produces. With 9 hens, it can get challenging.
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Let me mention a couple of things just to make sure you know them. It might help in your planning.

    It takes about 25 hours for an egg to make its journey through the hen’s internal egg making factory. That egg can only be fertilized during the first few minutes of that journey. That means if you have a successful mating on Monday, Monday’s egg is not fertile from that mating. Tuesday’s egg might or might not be fertile, depending on when it started its journey versus the mating. Wednesday’s egg will be fertile. This I after a successful mating. A rooster does not mate with each hen in his flock every day.

    But he doesn’t have to. The last part of a mating is after the rooster hops off the hen stands up, fluffs her feathers, and shakes. This fluffy shake moves the sperm into a special container where the sperm can remain viable for quite a while. It’s possible it can remain viable for a little over three weeks but most of us only count on her laying fertile eggs for two weeks after a mating.

    If you only have one hen you want to hatch from, isolate that hen with the rooster in a pen. That way you will know which egg is hers. A lot of people in your situation would keep two or three hens in with the rooster, but you won’t know which hen laid which egg. Still the eggs would come from your best hens.

    Another option is to build a pen for each hen you want to hatch from and rotate the rooster through the pens so he can fertilize the eggs.

    I’m sure there are other ways but maybe this will get you started. Good luck!
     
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  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Aggie, Have you taken your ? to the Ameraucana thread? that would be an excellent place to start, as the folks there can give you some education on the specifics of Blue/Black genetics.
     
  5. aggie2013

    aggie2013 Out Of The Brooder

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    I understand the genetics of what I'm looking for :) what I need ideas on is how to track specific genetics from each mating. I bought my hens from an extremely reputable breeder. They all have web holes to designate what line they have come from.

    At the moment it looks like I'll need to set up different pens for all of them and rotate the rooster.
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    How important is it to you to hatch all the eggs from al the hens all the time? Could you set it up to only hatch from half the hens at a time? Or a third? That might keep your pen building costs down and make recordkeeping a little easier.

    You will need a system to keep each hen’s eggs separated until after hatch so you can mark the chicks. This can get really complicated in a hurry if you try to do all of them at the same time. Especially just getting started it might be worth it to simplify it a bit.
     
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  7. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Overrun With Chickens

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    Here is an Idea that may help you keep track of your baby chicks..

    [​IMG]
    I use these on my pigeons They are 8 MM. Fine for chicks. You can remove them when chicken gets larger and band gets tight fitting. There are larger sizes available also. Just search them out on Ebay.
     
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  8. aggie2013

    aggie2013 Out Of The Brooder

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    I didn't know they made a chick version. Awesome. Thank you
     
  9. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I"m with RR. Let them all together, so all the hens are fertile. Then decide which hen(s) you want to hatch from. If you're really tracking lineage, you're not going to be simply tossing eggs in the bator all the time. Pick your 3 or 4 hens to hatch from and separate them for a few days, just long enough for them to lay enough eggs to set. Then return them to the flock, and pull more hens if desired. If you have an incubator and a hatcher both, you can keep a rolling incubation going, setting eggs every week if you want and have the incubator space.
     
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  10. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    Hi,
    A Man I know with Show stock Ameruacanas....Does this...He Keeps all his Birds together..He has a separate pen for his Roosters..When he wants viable eggs he picks out his best hens with the best conformation...Puts them in a pen for breeding for I believe 3 weeks? Then he starts to incubate them...His pet stock is housed the same as any one else would house Chickens...
    Maybe ask the person you bought the Birds from, what works best for them?

    Best of luck...

    Cheers!
     

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