Nutrition and gender, and inducing broodiness

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by lazy gardener, Mar 10, 2015.

  1. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    I've started this thread to document my experiment with this year's hatching.

    Gender: There's an "old wive's tale" regarding egg shape related to chick gender: Does egg shape give an indication regarding the gender of chick that will hatch from it? I read a study that stated there MAY be a correlation, with smaller and more rounded, less pointy eggs being more likely to bear a female chick, while pointed and larger eggs are more likely to bear a male chick. The study results were a bit vague. So, since I have way too much time to think, and an abundance of eggs, I decided to do my own test. I'll gather a week's worth of eggs, and sort them according to shape and size. I'll document the 2 groups with photos. The smaller, rounder eggs will go in the incubator, the larger and pointy eggs will go in the skillet. My past hatches have yielded > 60% roos.

    Nutrition: Today, I started "conditioning" the flock to possibly improve the nutrition in the hatching eggs. My flock has been on FF layer with some added spent grains. I've recently switched to multi-flock which is 22% protein. They also get sprouted wheat, barley, and BOSS, and free choice oyster shell. The ground is still covered with 3' of snow, so no foraging opportunities, though there are some patches of mud showing up in the snow blowed paths. So, starting today, I'm giving them just a bit of crushed multi-vitamin mixed into their FF. I do realize that multi-vitamins are formulated for human consumption, but chose this route, just because. There are plenty of formulations out there designed specifically for poultry, but I chose this route, because the average home is likely to have multi vitamins, and some flock owners may be on a tight budget.

    Inducing broodiness: No signs of broodiness to date. So, I brought up my box of golf balls, and have bought some plastic Easter eggs. This week I'll put half a dozen golf balls in one nest box, and half a dozen weighted Easter eggs in an other.

    Too many variables at once? You bet! So, in no way is this intended to be a scientific study. It's just my way of having fun, and tweaking things with the flock a bit, to see what will happen.

    Flock members: 3rd season birds: 2 EE, 1 RIR (Alpha hen), and 1 home bred BSL. Coming into second season birds: Jack the EE roo, 3 home bred: green egg, pea combed BSLs, 3 Dominiques, 3 RCBL, 1 SLW, 1 Pioneer.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2015
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  2. rainbowrooster

    rainbowrooster Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think if there was a way to sex chicks by the shape/size of the eggs the hatcheries that supply the commercial laying farms would have figured it out several decades ago. At this point they must cull 50% of their hatch since there is no viable market for these type of male chickens. If possible, they could then cut their hatchery cost in half and sell the males eggs. That would be many millions of dollars in their pocket but as of yet they still haven't got the answer.

    The extra and unnecessary protein will just come out the back side of the birds. Its your money to spend but you would be better off with a breeding feed formulated for chickens. There is a lot more to poultry feed than the protein content and more protein does make it a better feed for all purposes.
     
  3. RachelLeigh

    RachelLeigh Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi. My varying two cents... I saw that aricle. If it were true, the poultry farmers would be in hen haven. All of us would, we all get too many roosters lol. I have silkies so I can only speak of my silkie experience. I only have 8 hens so I have observed closely. One by one they layed their first eggs. I got to know exactly which hen was laying what egg because each egg shape was specific to that hen in some way or another. If I had gone with the idea of rounded versus pointy, and culled the pointy, that would have been the eggs from one particular hen. Their egg shape and make up is almost like a fingerprint. One hen always has little spots of calcium over the whole shell. They are subtle but there every time. My smallest buff hen has the biggest egg. My black hen's egg is always pointy, and blue hen is very round.
     
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Yes, what you say is true, hens DO have distinctive egg shapes. But, I can look at the eggs from some of my hens, and some days they'll be more pointed, other days, have a bit more round ness to them. I'm just playing with this for fun. So while I'm sure 90% of the readers agree that shape does not indicate gender, feel free to read along. You all don't have to tell me that shape is irrelevant, because, I'll honestly be surprised if this hatch does lean towards a higher percentage of females. If nothing else, this little un-scientific experiment will lay the theory to rest.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2015
  5. RachelLeigh

    RachelLeigh Out Of The Brooder

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    I didn't mean to sound like a know it all nay sayer. Sorry for the way it seemed. When I read that article, I looked very closely at my own eggs. I was wondering if it WOULD be true for breeds like what is grown on farms when its mass production scale and every bird is identical in most ways. I like experiments of all kinds. I love scientific findings and there aren't near enough articles of "chicken science" My next experiment is going to be hatching with out turning rates :)
     
  6. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Rachel, no offense taken. I'm just doing an informal little experiment here, and will post my results. The one thing I don't want this thread to do is turn into a debate. Happy to have you following along, if you want to!
     
  7. Peep-Chicken

    Peep-Chicken Overrun With Chickens

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    I was thinking of doing something like this.

    Can't wait to see results from yours! Even though it's proably false, it's still interesting :).

    I think you should refrigerate eggs and then test those hatch rates.
     
  8. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Why don't you tackle that one?
     
  9. Peep-Chicken

    Peep-Chicken Overrun With Chickens

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    I have too many chickens, once I see the chicks they won't be leaving! :lau But maybe I will... ;)
     
  10. RachelLeigh

    RachelLeigh Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks.! I AM actually testing the fridge first no turn hatch rate. It just got brought up in another thread too. Doesn't make sense to me why NOT put in fridge if you want them to last longer. The air cell stays small in fridge versus out on the counter where moisture is lost. I've always put in fridge if I'm collecting eggs longer between sets with great hatch rates but never kept it up long enough to record lots of info.
     

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