Prime age for breeding?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by jeslewmazer, Jan 9, 2011.

  1. jeslewmazer

    jeslewmazer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 24, 2009
    Mississippi
    I would like to know the prime age for breeding for poultry from hatcheries and individual breeders.

    I did raise American Games (from reliable breeders) but decided to switch to "Standard" Poultry (mostly common varieties form hatcheries). My Games prime age for breeding was 2+years old.

    What is the best age to start breeding for offspring in hatchery birds, and is it the same for birds from individuals?
     
  2. mississippifarmboy

    mississippifarmboy collects slightly damaged strays

    I think most production breeds would be around 1 year to 1 1/2 years, old standard breeds around 2 years old. I'm no expert, that's just my way. Some of the very large breeds don't mature fully until 2 to 3 years old, so hard for me to do a final cull until two years on the giants and a few other breeds. I've had roos that were breeding and fertile at 5 years old or so...maybe older.
     
  3. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

    5,381
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    Aug 13, 2007
    North/Central Florida
    I prefer to breed only after the hens have completed one full laying cycle and using roosters that are at least one year old. Part of what I'm selecting for is survivability in Florida outdoors conditions.
     
  4. jeslewmazer

    jeslewmazer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 24, 2009
    Mississippi
    Thanks mississippifarmboy and A.T. Hagan. I was just wondering if I was doing something wrong by waiting so long on mine. I tend to come across people who breed pullets that just started laying, but I don't know about their roosters. Not saying this is right or wrong. I just want to have strongest and healthiest chicks I can. Survivability might be the better word. In MS the weather goes from in the teens in the winter and in the hundreds in the summer.
    Also, is there a cap on fertility in males? As in how long they will stay fertile? The Games I raised stayed fertile almost (or in some cases the whole) lifespan. I know some breeding roosters have lived longer, but the average would be 15yrs old. So, minis the 2yrs to grow.....that's 13yrs of fertility (if nothing bad happens). Could this be the same for other breeds of poultry?
     
  5. mississippifarmboy

    mississippifarmboy collects slightly damaged strays

    Most production birds and hatchery stock will start shooting duds or just lose interest in around 5 to 6 years in my experiance. Pure bred birds of the old heritage breeds and Orientals stay fertile a LONG time. We've had some mixed breed mutts who hatched off broods when I thought they were too old to even lay.
     
  6. jeslewmazer

    jeslewmazer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 24, 2009
    Mississippi
    Thanks a lot!! That is what I was wondering. Currently I have mostly hatchery birds (which was all I could find) and they are getting close to reaching that mark. I have noticed about a 5% decrease fertility in some of my incubated eggs and know I know why.
     

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