Low fertility rate

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by ButchGood, Dec 31, 2012.

  1. ButchGood

    ButchGood Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a big black Australorp rooster. He's almost 1 year old. All his hens are the same age. He has 6 Australorps, 6 Buff Orps, and 1 production Red. I had a Buff Orp hen go broody last month. Couldn't break her so I decided to let her set and gave her 8 eggs. They all failed. I had another go broody when the other was at the 14 day point. I let her have 7 eggs, all but one failed and she is still setting on that 1. Yesterday I cracked some eggs. First set I got 1 in 3 fertile, I broke 5 more and 2 were fertile. Is my Roo still to young, Are the hens still to young? Is 14 hens too many for him to service, I know 12 is about right, he's only got 2 more. I'm thinking about raising 1 more Roo and add maybe 3 more hens. Any thoughts? Thanks

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  2. ramirezframing

    ramirezframing Overrun With Chickens

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    this time of year (winter) lots of people have low rates
     
  3. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

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    Go to Tractor Supply and buy Plotspike Forage Oats. Sprout them in mason jars and feed 1 cubic inch per bird per day. or to bowel tolerance. For breeding issues, feed as "green feed", that is, sprouts 4-7 days old. These sprouts will make more robust sperm in the rooster and help bring your girls into lay. For a fuller explanation and How-To , please see BYC thread,
    "anybody raise sprouts to feed the chickens?" , pages 24 thru 29.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2012
  4. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

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    What are you brand of feed are you feeding, and what is the protein amount of your feed?

    Chris
     
  5. cgmccary

    cgmccary Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote: IMHO, 14 hens are too many to expect him to cover. With Large Fowl, 8 hens is my max and less is better. Likely, he will have his favorites and will cover them in such a large group and not the others. Perhaps, put him in a pen and rotate smaller groups in with him for a couple of days at a time, such as 4 at a time.
     
  6. ButchGood

    ButchGood Chillin' With My Peeps

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    All good information, thanks. My rooster eats what the hens eat. Purina omega 3. They free rage all day everyday. The only time I see them eating chicken feed is in the morning when they first come out of the coop, and in the evening when they are going to roost. Ive never tried feeding sprouts. Something to look into.
    Yes it's winter time but he seems to stay busy chasing hens. Maybe things will pick up in the spring.
    I think I will get another Roo. Ill go get 6 or 8 chicks and raise them up. I'm thinking 18 hens and 2 roosters. They can have 9 apiece that way.
     
  7. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

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    I would either (1) Get another Rooster to help cover the hens or (2) pen him in a breeding pen with 6 or 8 hens.
    Either way I would get them off the Purina Omega 3, it's ok if all you have are hens but that's about it.
    If you want to keep your birds on the Purina feed then try Purina Game Bird Flight Conditioner, It's a 19% protein feed and contains both Animal and Plant proteins.

    The problem with feeds that's a vegetarian type feed is (1) there not a "natural" feed for chickens which are Omnivores and (2) vegetarian type feed has a lot of soybean meal (SBM) in them to bring the protein up and the high amounts of SBM can lower fertility.

    Chris
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2013
  8. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    Not really. I grew up on a farm with free ranging chickens. One rooster had no problem covering over 20 hens. Where those lower ratios come from is that in the commercial pen breeding situations, due to the random nature of breeding, it takes about 1 rooster for every hen to keep fertility up. This is where you might have 20 roosters with 200 hens. In a small flock, one rooster can cover a lot more hens. He only has to mate with a hen once every two weeks to keep her fertile.

    Of course this depends in the virility of the rooster and the behavior and health of the entire flock. There are a lot of different things that can affect fertility. The rooster has to have the personality to dominate the hens. The hens have to play their part too in the mating process. It takes two with both doing their part for him to be able to hit the target. Health and nutrition play a part. Some thick-feathered chickens even have problems with the feathers blocking the vent. Some Cochin and Orpington breeders trim the feathers around the vent to make it easier for the rooster to hit the target. Cold or hot weather can affect fertility. As someone mentioned, some people report problems with fertility this time of year.

    How and how long you store the eggs can make a difference. You can normally store them a week without any problems. Even two weeks isn’t too bad but turning, temperature and humidity during storage becomes more important. Don’t let then freeze or get them too hot.

    Your rooster and hens should not be too young. I don’t know what is going on with yours. You should be getting a better fertility rate. There are just too many variables for me to make a good guess.
     
  10. ButchGood

    ButchGood Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Its a very healthy Flock. The have a very well rounded diet. Like I said, They free range all day every day and do have feed in the feeder that they only eat that in the morning and at sunset. He 'Big Black" stays fairly active sexually with his hens. He's more active in the morning. The hens are laying excellent. I do have the Fluffy Butt breeds. Both Orpingtons and Australorps have the fluff. This spring I'll give the girls a trim and give Big Black some "manscaping". I'm really wanting to have a self replenishing flock and I would like to see a bunch of chicks following broody mamma's this spring.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2013

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