Rooster won't mate with White Hens - advice?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by FuzzyB, Feb 8, 2017.

  1. FuzzyB

    FuzzyB New Egg

    Feb 8, 2017
    I have a flock of 25 pullets and one rooster all the same age (11 months), raised together. All of the hens are good layers.
    The roo is a white leghorn; I have 7 white leghorn hens and the others are all different brown/buff breeds. Do you have any idea why the roo will not mount the white leghorn hens? He’ll mount just about anything else that moves, just not the white hens. Out of approximately 50 eggs gathered for incubation from the white leghorn hens, not one fertile egg. fertility rate for the other non-white eggs is approximately 90%. Too many hens for the one rooster? Should I pen up the rooster with only the white hens? The rooster seems to get along with everybody and is not overly aggressive... Any advice? Thanks
  2. TheKindaFarmGal

    TheKindaFarmGal True BYC Addict

    May 4, 2016
    Somewhere in the Universe
    You've got too many hens for him to cover. You need at least 2 roos for that many hens, preferably more.
  3. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    Perhaps the Leghorns have yet to develop reproduction completely. Sounds funny but in reality this is my second year with unfertile pullet eggs. Happened last year and again this year; less than year old birds with unfertile eggs. We have more than enough cocks for number of hens and the few eggs retrieved from older birds are fertile. Though I don't know exactly what's going on I've decided to lump it in "not mature enough" file and be done with wondering. Come spring I'm sure that like last year they will be fertile.

    Your male is reaching his limits in harem size but I'm sure he's mating a few of the Leghorn girls as well.
  4. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Chicken Obsessed

    Hi, welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    Funny, roosters have their preferences. But on top of that... maybe those ladies aren't willing? [​IMG]

    You could lock them up together if it's important to you... that's what I would do. Well, that's what I do when I want specific matings... I keep my boys in a stag pen with 1 free with the ladies mostly.

    Of course adding another roo to the mix is an option as well. Have to decide what will work best for YOU.

    Or you could hatch a boy from your other pairings and hook him up with your leghorns...

    So many options!
  5. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Chicken Obsessed

    Ah, I recently learned that an egg in and of itself does NOT equal fertility for the pullets... weird concept.. but it's true just being an egg doesn't mean it's actually viable. [​IMG]
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    You’ve received quite a few good responses in a pretty short time. There are several different reasons a hen’s eggs might not hatch, not just fertility issues. Many of them have been covered. A hen carries some responsibility as far as mating goes, it’s not always all on the rooster. I assume your collecting and storage is the same for all the eggs.

    I grew up in a farm with a normal flock of around 25 hens and one rooster. Practically all the eggs were fertile and developed. A fairly young vigorous rooster often can cover that many hens, but some, especially older ones, are a lot less vigorous. Your cockerel is only 11 months old, that shouldn’t be a problem. Your development rate with the other hens kind of shows it’s not.

    Some hens will avoid a rooster and some roosters are not that insistent if a hen runs away. Most roosters will chase but some don’t. What is really strange to me is that it’s only the white pullets. Just by the law of averages he should be fertilizing some of them. Since he is also white it’s obvious birds of a feather don’t always flock together.

    My suggestion is as you mentioned, house him with only the white ones for a while and see if that makes a difference. I just can’t come up with any rational logical explanation as to why it is only the white ones.
  7. FuzzyB

    FuzzyB New Egg

    Feb 8, 2017
    That's what I was thinking..... I do have another rooster, but he is not old enough yet....
  8. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Chicken Obsessed

    Technically they are all called cockerels until they reach 1 year of age. And pullets for the girls. Just FYI, not to be ugly. [​IMG]
  9. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon

    It's not a matter of too many hens for the rooster. A young rooster can easily cover 2 dozen hens and be happy to do so.

    Were it a simple math issue, you'd have non fertile eggs from all the hens, a mixed group. since it's just the Leghorns, there's something else going on.

    How long did you incubate the Leghorn eggs? Did you have a good hatch rate with the mixed breed birds?

    He may have a preference for blondes and not whites, who knows? If that's the case, you may try penning him with just the Leghorns, if you're wanting pure bred chicks. I'd give it a try and see what happens. That will at least tell you if it's his choice, or there's something wrong with your Leghorn hens.
    1 person likes this.
  10. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Chicken Obsessed


    How are you checking your fertility? Hatching, eggtopsy, or just visual inspection?

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