Molting rooster still fertile?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Romoshka, Jan 29, 2016.

  1. Romoshka

    Romoshka Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 15, 2012
    Clemson, SC
    Wasn't sure how to title this one. My question is: is a molting still rooster able and interested in covering the hens...i.e. Is there any fertility loss and does molting make a chicken or just kinda feel crappy. I know I'm not interested when I feel crappy. [​IMG]

    And while I'm asking of this learned collective - what roo to hen ratio do y'all find best for hatching fertility. Both questions relate to a project I'm helping a young and VERY entrepreneurial man with.

  2. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member Project Manager

    Jan 10, 2013
    I have no experience with roosters or hatching, but find your questions interesting.

    But, would think the molt would effect his fertility less than it effects egg production in hens since sperm production should not be the energy drain that egg formation would be. And know that the molt in hens effects each differently, some with slow molts still lay eggs often and act normally. Others molting heavily stop laying all together and if a really hard molt can be less active and somewhat lethargic.

    Will follow to hear the expert opines.
  3. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 11, 2011
    Yes, and maybe not.

    Example 1: Last year, around this time, I collected a huge batch of eggs so I could join in on a hatch-a-long here on BYC. After a week in the incubator, all 42 eggs (as many as my turner will hold) were clear.
    Example 2: this year, that same HAL rolled around on BYC. I decided to try again, expecting the same result since both of the roosters in my breeding pens were molting (again). A week in the 'bator later, ever single egg was developing.

    I don't know why last year was a bust. I had the same 2 roosters in the pens, and neither molt seemed worse then the other. Our weather was much better this year though, so maybe that was the deciding factor.

    The general rule of thumb as far as rooster to hen ration is 1 roo:10/12 hens. But, in my opinion, those numbers can very greatly from breed to breed. I breed Silkies, and they do great in pairs, trios and quads. I have 1 roo: 8 hens in one of my coops and the other has 1 roo: 5 hens. I find if I give my boys a large harem, fertility drops dramatically. But, if you have a flock of active Leghorns or RIRs, it typically takes a lot more girls to keep those breeds happy. And sometimes a rooster will decide they have 1 or 2 favorites and they will only breed those hens. Roosters are weird (bless their hearts, I love them though)!

    Just my $0.02 anyway :)
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    My roosters don't seem as interested in mating when they're molting. It's kind of a natural cycle....the fall isn't a good time to raise babies anyway from a natural standpoint, and all the birds, male and female, are molting and re-charging to survive the winter.

    Spring, on the other hand, brings hormones flowing again. My roosters are becoming much more active the last few weeks, since solstice. I've also used lights in my main coop for the first time, not sure if that effects their desire to mate or not.
  5. Romoshka

    Romoshka Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 15, 2012
    Clemson, SC
    This project involves black australorps. This enterprising young man has a buyer for up to 150 straight run chicks. We plan to build 2 small (4X12) tractors with a roo and 4 or 5 hens in each tractor and incubate every 7 days. If good fertility should be able to fill the order in 3 loads. Any australorps owners out there wanna chime in. My last replacement hatching had 1:3 ratio with 100% hatch on 10 day collect/incubate. Think I'll try 1:4 and 1:5 and see what sort of fertility rates the two different rates give.
  6. torilovessmiles

    torilovessmiles Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 19, 2014
    Central West Virginia
    I thought most roosters quit mating and dropped fertility during molting, but my RIR didn't this year. I had fertile eggs the whole time, and he was the only mating-age male in his pen. It wasn't a mini-molt either, he looked awful. I guess he's just very determined to repopulate my backyard with his offspring.

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