Possibly breeding some chickens for the first time, some questions.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by 1maria100, Aug 7, 2011.

  1. 1maria100

    1maria100 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 30, 2011
    Washington
    Back in April I bought 4 baby chicks. 2 Americana, and 2 Barred Rock. It turned out we had two roosters so we sold the Americana. About 4 days ago I bought 2 Rhode Island Red hens, both about a year old. One hen gave me 2 eggs the first day I had her, and then another egg 2 days later. The other hen gave me one egg today. Then hen that has given me 3 eggs is very broody, and she is a very pretty hen too. I have a fake egg in the nesting box and she is constantly sitting on it. I've heard of RIR and BR being crossed before, I think they call them Red Rocks, and I would love to breed my BR Rooster and RIR Hen. I have seen them mating a few times, but I don't think there are any fertilized eggs yet. I don't want to spend the money on a incubator, and the hen would make a great mamma so I'm thinking I'm gonna let her naturally hatch her eggs. I want to raise the chicks for either 4-H or FFA and sell them next spring.

    So here are my questions:
    -Should I breed them?
    -What am I supposed to do when letting the hen sit on the eggs?
    -How do I tell if the eggs are fertilized?
    -When the chicks hatch do I need to get chick feed and grit for them or can they have what the full grown chickens have?
    -Any other important things to know before hatching?

    I live in Eastern Washington so its normally about 80-90 in the summertime.

    Thanks guys!
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Should I breed them?

    If the hen spends two consecutive nights in the nest instead of on her favorite roost, she is probably broody and can be trusted with hatching eggs.

    I don't know what your FFA or 4-H rules are, so I can't tell you if you need to breed them or not. I suspect they have a production category since these are not purebreeds so you could possibly show them.

    -What am I supposed to do when letting the hen sit on the eggs?

    Try reading my post in this thread. It will not answer all your questions, but it may help get you started.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=213218

    -How do I tell if the eggs are fertilized?

    This thread has pictures.

    Fertile Egg Photos
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=16008&p=6

    -When the chicks hatch do I need to get chick feed and grit for them or can they have what the full grown chickens have?

    That is actually a complicated question. The simple answer is do not feed the chicks Layer. Layer has excess calcium that can harm growing chicks. About anything else will be OK. You have time before you have to worry about that and make your decision. The easy way is to feed Starter, Grower, or something else and offer oyster shell on the side for the laying hens.

    With a Barred Rock rooster and a RIR hen, the chicks will all look a lot like the Barred Rock. If it were reversed where the rooster was RIR and the hens were BR, then the chicks would be Black Sex Links, but that is not your case.
     

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