Practicalities of mating

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by mickt42, Feb 23, 2015.

  1. mickt42

    mickt42 In the Brooder

    Feb 22, 2015
    I have a larger flock of completely free range icelandics and am thinking about this springs mating... How does everyone control mating? Do they lock the hens up for 3 weeks while the semen clears, introduce the cock and then collect and incubate the eggs? I prefer to let everyone run on pasture as much as possible and prefer to work with broody hens. Any help or suggestions?
  2. [​IMG]

    It sounds like you have a good idea already about the birds and the bees as they relate to chickens. It is not currently too cold to hatch biddies or too raise them. And there is a real reason for the old saw about the "Spring Chicken." Spring chickens are healthier and easier to raise. What you really need to think about is if you have the time to gather and store your eggs right now in a fast enough fashion to prevent them from chilling and the embryo dying.

    The next thing is exactly how many Icelandic hens do you currently have and how many of them do you wish to be the mothers of your future flock. Then figure the same thing with your cocks. Do you really want to breed sickly birds, or would you prefer to pick and choose the healthiest chickens to be the dams and sires that your going to breed?

    You will find that hen hatching can be a frustrating business because it always seems that you have many more fresh setting eggs available than you'll have hens ready to set. I guess the availability of setting hens at the time and place that they were needed is what drove the Egyptians to using artificial incubation 4,000 or more years ago.

    As long as you don't have any free range Romeos with access to your hens it may prove more convenient to lock up a smaller number of males than trying to corral your hens.

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