Last year I hatched out some marans April 29-30 and they are now in the breeding pens with their rooster. They started laying in October (I was surprised) . Their eggs are averaging 65-75 g.
I have two unrelated roosters and 3 unrelated hens.
I realize it is strongly recommended to wait til after 1 year and even 2, but when you are starting out and they are so hard to find here, its impossible to wait so long.
Should I breed all 3 hens to rooster 1, then all 3 hens to rooster 2?
Their eggs are all acceptable colour. They all have issues but I need to start somewhere. Ideally I would only have 1 rooster and 4 or 5 hens. (I have other varieties of chickens and would like to keep my "winter flock" to around 30-35. I am just breeding for myself, not to show or do anything fabulous. I just want to try and have the best looking and producing flock I can, working towards SOP.
Do I always need to have two roosters? I'm a bit confused how to start. And if I replace my rooster (s) every year, or only if I hatch out one who is a better specimen. Do always breed line 1 to line 2? and then what does that become line 3?
Also- as a side question- out of the 5 marans I own, one is blue. I am not especially a fan of blue. I wouldn't consider keeping any blue roosters. Will crossing a blue and a black produce 50% of each, and will I be able to tell at hatch which are blue? If I only keep black ones, will those black one be able to produce blue if theiy are only bred to a black? Do you think I should remove that hen from my breeding pen ?
You should keep at least two (2) Cocks, at a minimum, in case of death or injury and to also give your line some genetic diversity. Even though the Cock Birds maybe related their genetic make up is slightly different. I have a small flock but I prefer to keep at least four Cocks because you never know what may happen. In 2018, I only kept 2 Cocks and both died over the winter so I had no way of continuing that line of BCMs when the hens came back into lay. As for a Black x Blue pairing you will get 50% each black and blue and the color difference between the two varieties should be noticeable at hatch.