newb with rooster seperation question

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Smithingell, Aug 10, 2013.

  1. Smithingell

    Smithingell New Egg

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    Aug 8, 2013
    Hello all. First off, I apologize if this has been covered on here before. I searched but cant find an answer.
    I'm very new to raising chickens. I have 8 amber link (amber white, amber star?) and 4 new hampshire. My wife got 2 ducks at the same time, but those are really just pets. My initial purpose was just eggs, so I bought what should have been all hens, but got 1 amber link rooster in the mix. So I ended up will 11 hens and 1 rooster, which seems to be a good mix.
    Well, since I have him already, and that in itself does not present any problems (like with neighbors), I figured I would keep him and raise some chicks as well. My thought is that I'd raise the chicks for meat, and keep the originals as breeding stock and egg layers. My problem is that my wife is a bit sqeamish, and cracking an egg and finding a partially developed chick would be enough to put me and the chickens in the doghouse.
    I know I can seperate the rooster from the hens, and to keep him from seeing them, but how long can he be seperated and how far away? Is it just a sight thing, and they can be seperated by jusst a single wall? Should I seperate him for 3 weeks, then let him back in with the hens for a week, or should it be more like 1 week apart, 1 week togethor?
    BTW, they are about 6 months old now, and all are doing great. Have actually already seen 2 eggs just the other day.

    Thanks for any help.
    Bill
     
  2. appps

    appps Overrun With Chickens

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    Lol unless you start bringing in eggs to cook that have been sitting under a hen for a week or two she won't get chicks. I don't know bout you but I wouldn't eat one sat outside two weeks even if it wasn't under a hot hen all that time :)

    Collect the eggs everyday and you will never even know you have a rooster. The eggs look just like normal eggs. And the poor rooster doesn't have to be seperated from his girls. In fact truth be told they will look just like the ones you have already eaten.

    You want to hatch eggs its a lot easier to mark the eggs you plan to leave to hatch than seperate the rooster
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2013
  3. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    It would be better to plan to add chicks to your flock each year, ideally, (remember though, I seldom get this perfect) one should add new pullets each year to the flock, and cull out 1/3 of the flock, so that for layers you will have - new pullets they will lay through the dark days of winter, allbeit smaller eggs. Hens that will be two come spring, these will probably molt near the dark days of winter, and won't lay much, but should start up with nice large eggs in the spring, and lays steady, and hens that will be coming 3 with the spring.

    When you hatch your own, you get roosters, those you eat for tender birds - roasting and frying, and the older hens for stewing.

    This will keep your flock from getting old and will keep it the most productive for egg laying.

    And the above poster is right, eggs do not start to develop, until they are triggered by being kept at near 100 degrees for about 24 hours. If you gather daily, you need a sharp eye to tell if they are fertilized.

    Mrs K
     
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I say leave the poor rooster in with the ladies. Your wife will never be able to tell a fertile egg--it takes quite the trained eye. As stated, with the number of hens, those eggs you've already gotten have been fertile, most likely.

    I've kept roosters with my layers for 20 years and never had a nasty surprise in an egg. Collect eggs every day (or even every other day if I'm lazy) and they won't start to develop.

    The chances of your stated breeds going broody are pretty small, though, so if you want to hatch your own eggs you'll probably need an incubator or another breed of hen that tends to go broody more, like a silkie, game hen, cochin, etc.

    Also, as stated, when you hatch your own, you get average 50% roosters. You state you want to raise them for eggs and meat, would your wife eat a bird she knew?
     
  5. Smithingell

    Smithingell New Egg

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    Aug 8, 2013
    Thanks for the replies. I dont know why I didnt realize that on my own, but asking questions is how we learn, right? After I showed her this thread, she agrees to. That makes things alot simpler for me!

    As for an incubator, I've been looking into it and just havent made a decision yet. I dont want to spend a bunch of money on one, so was considering building one. That brings a few more questions, so I need to do some more research on it.

    As far as her eating a bird we raised (by we, I mean "I"), we already discussed that, and its not an issue. Its not like she doesn't know where meat comes from.

    Last question (for now): What should I use to mark the eggs? Would a sharpie leak through and cause problems? Or should I just move htem right to an incubator and keep the eggs for hatching seperated that way?
     
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I'd check with the folks on the incubating thread. I've used a sharpie with no problems, but I think most of them prefer a pencil.
     
  7. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    Keep any eggs that you want to hatch on the counter, (actually you can keep eggs you are going to eat on the counter too, only in America do we refrigerate eggs, they are more stable than people think) Fertilized eggs can sit in a state of suspension for up to 10 days, course you probably get better results with fresher eggs, and regardless, not all of your eggs will probably hatch.

    A couple of years ago, they ran a thread, where people wrote in how many they incubated or had under a broody, and how many hatched, one just add their numbers to the total and divided. Perhaps not perfectly scientific, but relatively quickly the average hovered around 50%. Of course there were some that had higher counts, and some that had lower counts but overall around 50%.

    As to marking the eggs, I use a pencil and write the date I collected the egg and place this in a dish that is clearly marked to all that these are being saved. If you do use a broody hen, it is good to mark the clutch of eggs, as if you keep her with the layers, some layers are pretty sure it would be good to add eggs to the clutch. Under a broody hen, I would use the sharpie, as the pencil marks will wear off from her rubbing against them.

    If you use a broody hen, wait until she has been broody for a couple of days, place a clutch of marked eggs under her all at once. If more eggs show up inthe nest, remove those. Too many eggs in the nest will dramatically reduce your success rate, and very well may lead to no hatching, as the eggs on the outside edge get too cool and die, and the hen naturally moves the inside eggs out, and the outside eggs in. One wants the eggs to be all in the same stage of development so that they will all hatch within 24 hours. Otherwise, once some of the eggs have hatched, she may leave the unhatched to care for the hatched. Even if you are using an incubator, you have better luck if all the eggs are in similar stages of development.

    If you are doing research, you probably have come to the information about waiting until chicks are full grown before integrating into the flock, so that you need a separate grow out coup/run, unless you have raised them under a broody hen that stayed with the flock.

    Mrs K
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2013

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