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Science or Old Wives Tales?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Treegod, Sep 7, 2009.

  1. Treegod

    Treegod Songster

    Sep 7, 2009
    Catalonia, Spain
    I'm fed up with hatching males. Out of 14 successful chicks, 11 of those have been males, 1 female and two unknown (so far).

    The plan is to breed our own hens and buy in our cockerels. We're not into culling them (yet), we've tried letting them loose in the wilderness (and there's much wooded wilderness here) but they tend to annoyingly hang around until they "mysteriously" disapear (fox says yum) and we have successfully given them away so far, but I'm sure there must be a limit to that at some point.

    What would be ideal is to avoid hatching males before they hatch.

    I've heard a few things that might work, though they sound a bit dubious. That doesn't matter because I'm into experimenting, to see if they work. I have nothing to lose from trying. So here's a few techniques I'm going to try out...

    1. Temperature. Apparently at a slightly hotter temp you get more females. I think I remember this from college and also someone on another forum was told this too. Problem is this is better with incubators, which I haven't got... yet. Maybe next year!

    2. The Moon. Apparently an egg layed in a waxing (from new to full) moon is more likely to be male, whilst a waning (from full to new) moon is more likely to be female. Next year I shall endevour to only allow "hen moon" eggs to be hatched.

    3. Egg shape. Yep the "pointy" eggs are supposed to be male and the "rounded" eggs are supposed to be female. Next year I shall endevour to only leave rounded eggs to be hatched.

    I haven't really been able to keep track of past hatchings to see the results but just over a week ago we had four eggs hatch, two rounded under one hen and two pointy under another, all of them layed under the "cockerel moon."

    From what I can tell the egg shape doesn't seem to be accurate, either that or I haven't the visual experise to identify the proper egg shape. There are two chicks (one from rounded egg and one from pointy egg) that both had a slight serated "lobe" where the comb will form, which I presume means they will be male (which it was with one earlier this year).

    So, anyone heard of these? Anyone tried these, and if so, what was your result?

  2. Junkmanme

    Junkmanme Songster

    Although there are SOME "Old Wife's Tales" that are reflections of reality, these are BUNK!

    It is a "crapshoot" determined by the hen PRIOR to laying the egg (Science). PERHAPS someday a scientist will devise a way to manipulate this within the hen. To my knowledge, this has not yet been done. There is much manipulation of things of this sort these days, however. Maybe "day-after-tomorrow".

    No sense "wasting" the excess roosters. Butcher them and put in your freezer. Good Food that you've ALREADY paid for!

    just my 2 pesos worth, [​IMG]
    -Junkmanme- [​IMG]
  3. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Can't be done. All false.
  4. journey's end

    journey's end Songster

    Jul 17, 2009
    Prince Edward Island
    Just remember this: If there was a method to determine males from females, hatcheries would have found it. I chalk these all up to wishful thinking, nothing more.
  5. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Here's one thing you can do....use different hens. The sex of the offspring is determined by the hen, which is different than mammals. I have one hen who has never thrown a cockerel and one who throws about 75% cockerels. So, if you know who is throwing the cockerels, dont hatch their eggs. If they are related, get other hens. With sex being determined before the egg is even laid, you have no chance of changing the outcome.
  6. Treegod

    Treegod Songster

    Sep 7, 2009
    Catalonia, Spain
    That's cool. I keep that in mind, though I'm not sure which eggs belongs to who and most of the time the clutches are mixed, so once they're hatched there's no telling which chick came from which egg.

    As much as I love skepticism, I'm skeptical when it shows nothing to back itself up. So, any skeptics ACTUALLY tried any of the above with definite results to prove or disprove?
  7. dancingbear

    dancingbear Songster

    Aug 2, 2008
    South Central KY
    How about this: Choose a hen to hatch eggs from. Separate her from the others. Put a leg-band on her, for future I.D., a colored zip tie works fine. Save up 10-12 of her eggs, and incubate them, see what you end up with, gender-wise. Make a note of the results. About a week before her eggs are due to hatch, do the same thing with another hen, mark her with a different color band, hatch her eggs next. And so on.

    Alternatively, you could use in-the-shell chick dyeing to identify chicks from different hens. Here's a link to instructions: http://chickscope.beckman.uiuc.edu/resources/egg_to_chick/coloring.html If you have, for example, 3 hens you want to test. Put each hen in a separate pen. Collect and mark each hen's eggs, so you know who laid what. Leg band the hens. Use corresponding marks on the eggs, so you know who's who. On about the 11th day, you use the in-shell dyeing method, use a different color for each hens eggs. Hen "A", blue, Hen "B", purple, Hen "C", green...etc. By the time the chicks are beginning to feather out and lose the color, you can leg-band them, or rub more color on them, or something else so you can tell which ones are which. Keep them well marked until you can tell who's a boy and who's a girl.

    I would NOT just turn out the roosters and wait for the fox or whatever to get them. First, it's a waste of good meat, and more than likely a pretty rough way to die for the roo. Second, you're putting out a neon sign for future predation. "Foxes eat here!! Right here, yeah, there's free food right here!!!"

    Never advertise to predators. They're enough trouble as it is, without that.

  8. walkswithdog

    walkswithdog Crowing

    Jul 17, 2008
    DC Region
    Sigh, Cyn's right, certain hens do produce more males... Ponder throughs about 80 males. One of my PRs is throwing about 70 %, another well over 50%, they lay distinctive eggs, so I know those three. It was a rough year here for roos. Wayyy too many.

    Partly because I was shooting for hatching the darker eggs, which... came from those three and three others secondarily. The sad effect being nearly 75% males for the year.

    I am selling those three hens.

    My other hatches ran between 50-60% male. Also not great but better.

    If temp or anything else could make an egg hatch hen, the hatcheries with billions of dollars committed to hatching chickens - of which people generally only want hens, and all cocks represent COST, then it would have been figured out by their scientists already.

    Can't do it. Wish we could.

    Sort for hens producing in the majority, pullets if you can.

    Otherwise, luck of the draw. Hatch sex links and cull early.
  9. Akane

    Akane Crowing

    Jun 15, 2008
    None of it is true and the higher temperatures could get you the reverse since females may die before males when the temp is too high. The gender is determined while the egg is being formed and even before it's laid so there is no way to impact gender. There are only ways to kill off embryos in the egg so that certain ones hatch.

    Trying to find a hen that is more likely to throw females might work to an extent but one hatch won't determine that for certain. It's not uncommon to have one hatch of mostly males and then one hatch of mostly females. Supposedly if you hatch 100 eggs from any one hen you will find you get a 50/50 ratio. Half male, half female. Even if the first hatch is 90% one gender or the other over time the ratio will balance out. It's just luck on what each hatch happens to be. My first 6 hatches I had only 1 or 2 roos for 1-2 dozen eggs. The last hatch I collected eggs from the same hens and roo that gave me a dozen hens and 1 roo previously. I got 8 roos and 2 pullets. It's a game of chance but like I said if you hatch enough eggs you will end up with about half males and half females in the end.
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2009
  10. Treegod

    Treegod Songster

    Sep 7, 2009
    Catalonia, Spain
    I heard about human males producing more of one gender than another (like my uncle with four boys). Apparently the competing sperm can be stronger depending on the genetics of the gender. I don't know how the same would work with hens, but it could.

    Thanks for the info Dancing Bear, I suppose that means I'll have to be more organised lol

    "I would NOT just turn out the roosters and wait for the fox or whatever to get them. First, it's a waste of good meat, and more than likely a pretty rough way to die for the roo. Second, you're putting out a neon sign for future predation. "Foxes eat here!! Right here, yeah, there's free food right here!!!""

    No problem for us there, we've an enclosed coop. Foxes can stand at the fence drooling all they like, they're wasting their time. But you're right, if they were unprotected it would be best not to let them loose and advertise.

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