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Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by sesa, Feb 1, 2011.
How old does a rooster need to be before he starts fertilizing the hens eggs?
How old does he need to be? That depends on several things. They mature at different ages. I've had roosters as young as 13 weeks try to mate with a hen. I don't know if he would do any good if he were successful, but I've seen them try. I've also seen some quite a bit older before they first tried. So the maturity rate of the individual rooster is part of it.
The other side of the queston is, when will the hen let him? Many hens strongly resist allowing an immature rooster to mate with them. Some will whip his butt if he tries although most just run away. The hen has to appreciate his magnificent personality before she willingly submits to him, and many young roosters don't really have a magnificent personality. That comes with maturity. I have had mature hens willingly mate with a 15 week old rooster, but not many. Then some roosters are bigger than the hens, even at a fairly young age, and will chase them down and force them. That is mainly a matter of youth and hormones. Many roosters grow out of that phase as they mature and as the hens stop resisting. Not all, but many.
I cannot give you a clear answer. This thread tells you how to check if he is doing his job or not. Good luck!
Fertile Egg Photos
As a general rule of thumb the lighter the breed the more rapidly they mature. For me it appears that once they are able to make contact-not just go through the motions- they are capable of fertilizing eggs. It definately varies from breed to breed and from rooster to rooster within a breed.
I remember reading on here recently of one who was well over a year before producing fertile eggs, although he had been crowing and mating for some time.
In the end, Ridgerunner is right, you need to crack an egg and check for the bullseye.
LOL at Ridgerunner: "...many young roosters don't really have a magnificent personality..."
Yeah, they tend to take a while to develop that imperious strut, don't they.
My hens go for looks over personality. Until my roos have got all their fancy plumage my hens won't give them the time of day.
My rooster has been mating since he was about 15 weeks (he's 18 weeks now). My, now 18 week old, pullets have been laying for about 3 weeks and I have had fertilized eggs already. I posted a PIC here on the 28th.
OK. I guess I'll just have to wait and see what he does. He's 17 weeks old and the hens still chase him around.
Yeah, it definitely depends on the roo.
I had one Rhode-Island Red rooster who didn't try mating until he was almost ten months old! But he eventually gained some confidence and got into the swing of things easily.
However, on the opposite end of the spectrum, I had a four-week old RIR cockerel try to mate with my hand while he was perching on my arm! (I guess he was confused!)