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Low fertility.

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Newbreed, Sep 15, 2010.

  1. Newbreed

    Newbreed Out Of The Brooder

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    I have just started with Chickens a few month ago.
    I have two cocks and six female chicken.
    After about one month one Hen started incubating her eggs and hatched 9 out of 10 eggs.
    A few weeks later four other hens started to Incubate.
    I candled the eggs and only two of ten eggs where showing development.
    What could be the cause of this low fertility in so many hens?
    Could it be that I fed them something that is not good for them?
    Or could it be that the Cock is the Problem?
    I noticed that there is a big spot at the underside where there is no feathers.
    New feathers are developing but very slow, and the skin in that area is read.
    Waiting to hear what others have experienced.
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    [​IMG] Welcome to the forum! [​IMG] Glad you are here! [​IMG]

    It could be different things. What breed are your chickens? Some thick-feathered breeds can have trouble with fertility, Orpington and Cochin being two. The feathers around the vent on either the hen or the rooster can cause him to sometimes miss his target. It is not that he misses the target all the time, just sometimes. Some breeders trim or pluck the feathers around the vent of the rooster and hens if this has shown to be a problem.

    Poor nutrition can reduce fertility. If they are getting a regular balanced diet it should not be a problem, but it is possible. Unless the nutrition is really bad, I would not expect fertility to go from 9/10 to 2/10.

    Older roosters have less vitaity. It does not sound like this is your problem.

    Hen to rooster ratio plays a part. The normal ratio to assure the eggs are almost certainly fertile is 1 rooster for each 10 hens. One rooster can normally keep more hens than this fertile, but it is the ratio the commercial operations use to ensure fertility.

    If they have a lot of mites or lice, especially in the vent area, their fertility can be reduced.

    If they have worms, this might reduce fertility. It sort of goes back to the nutrition one.

    Some diseases can reduce fertility.

    It might not be fertility but that they are just not developing. Improper storing the eggs before you set them under the broody can reduce development, either too hot or too cold. It is best to not store them below 45*F or above 75*F. Some will still develop if you do, but not as many.

    Usually you can store them for at least a week and usually two weeks without a big drop in development rate, but the longer you store them the poorer your hatch can be. With a lot of this stuff, it is not that none will develop or hatch, just that not as many may hatch.

    There are probably other things that might affect them developing. That's all I can think of at the moment.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2010
  3. Newbreed

    Newbreed Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks
    I have a mixed race of chickens that grows in the north of Namibia I don't know what I should call them.
    The feathers are definitely not the problem.
    While I gave them some Low quality feed the fertility rate was high.
    Now that I give proper chicken feed the fertility rate is low.
    The Rooster that is the alpha is mating the chicken very often their feathers are damaged.
    I did not find any mites yet. But when the first chicken was breeding they had leg mites which we treated.
    I gave one hen a Cardboardbox for breeding in but some chickens started to eat the box.
    If a chicken starts to eat cardboard could this affect Nutrition?[​IMG]
     
  4. PunkinPeep

    PunkinPeep Chillin' With My Peeps

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    RidgeRunner has great advice.

    I just want to add, that you can check yourself and find out if fertility is the actual problem by cracking open the eggs you've given up on. You might want to refrigerate the egg for a bit to help it hold together - and the you can crack them open and look for that bullseye. If you find fertile eggs, then you'll know that your problem has to do with something else.
     
  5. Newbreed

    Newbreed Out Of The Brooder

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    I put one in in the fridge and will check.
    What does a bullseye look like?
     
  6. Cloverleaf Farm

    Cloverleaf Farm Bearded Birds are Best

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    Quote:On the surface of the yolk, there is a tiny lighter yellow spot, that if it is just a blob it's not a fertile egg, if it is perfectly round, with a dot in the middle, it is fertile.

    Here's a link to a website that has a pic of a fertile egg...it's really hard to see in photos, much easier to tell in person...

    http://www.smart-inter.net/roseawen/eggs.shtml
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2010
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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  8. Cloverleaf Farm

    Cloverleaf Farm Bearded Birds are Best

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    The link from Ridgerunner shows it much better...
     
  9. Newbreed

    Newbreed Out Of The Brooder

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    I opened two of the eggs who did not show any development.
    When I opened them the where actually small development in them.
    And they had a bad smell.
    So I guess the problem is with the hens.
    Sometimes after getting off for eating they had a competition who can sit on the nest with the most eggs, maybe the eggs where not covered at some times and cooled down.
    I also noticed that some hens don't cover all the eggs when it is hot. Could this be a problem?
    They have been sitting on the eggs for 26 days now, is it safe to say that nothing will come out of them?
     
  10. PunkinPeep

    PunkinPeep Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't think there's a problem with not covering some while it's hot. She's just rotating them. Mine did that when she was setting in 100 degree heat.

    I don't know exactly what the problem might be, but i know that i have much better success when i let my hens brood in isolation with their own food and water, so that we avoid the competition issue.
     

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