Surprise! It's a rooster!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by mimsky, Jan 4, 2015.

  1. mimsky

    mimsky Chirping

    Jan 25, 2014
    I guess this is a common problem. Thought we got six new hens (to add to our existing four layers) but one is starting to crow. I'm a newbie and am wonderful what this will mean to our eggs. We're not interested in hatching at this time, just in having eggs to eat. How is the rooster going to change things? How will our eggs be different, if he mates with the girls?

    Question #2--I think one of our older girls (1-year-old) is trying to brood. She has laid a single egg in a bag of bedding and is acting aggressive toward our lab, whenever she happens by the bag. How can I discourage her from brooding (without breaking her little heart)?
  2. Jajika

    Jajika Songster

    Dec 24, 2007
    Northern California
    I had that rooster surprise twice when I thought I bought six new baby chicks. Broke my heart as we live too close to neighbors to have a rooster and I worked really hard to find "Zoe" who became Zoro, a new home.

    Anyway, I think if you grab the eggs right after laying and refrigerate them, you won't have any issues.

    In terms of not letting your hen brood, others on this board have "brood breaking" methods, although I don't have the heart to do any of them. I'm thinking taking the eggs away right away will help, but the rest is up to you. I just let my hens brood. I don't care if they slow down laying. I have others that are laying and that is enough for me.

    Good luck.
  3. krista74

    krista74 Songster

    Jun 4, 2014
    Victoria, Australia.
    You won't be able to tell any difference in the eating, the eggs will taste exactly the same. They will look similar too, the only difference being that the little blasto spot will develop into a bullseye, but most people don't even see the blasto spot anyway unless they are looking for it. Make sure you collect your eggs at least once a day so you know they are fresh though.

    The only real difference is that the eggs will be fertile, so if you wanted to hatch chicks you will be able to. A broody hen will sit on the eggs for 21 days, at which point - all being well - you get chicks! To break a broody you can use a broody buster cage like this one:-


    The cage should have a fine wire base, feed and water inside, but no bedding. Pop her in here for 24-48 hours (including overnight), then let her out and see if she runs for where she had her egg. If she does go back, return her to the broody cage. If not she can re-join the flock. Be careful to ensure the cage is in shade and she is protected from the sun and the rain. If it's cold where you are, put the cage in the garage so she doesn't suffer from the cold. It takes about 5 days to bust a broody.

    Good luck!

    - Krista
  4. rebrascora

    rebrascora Crowing

    Feb 14, 2014
    Consett Co.Durham. UK
    Quote: From someone who has cockerels running with my hens and mating them I can tell you this is not necessary. Even experienced chicken keepers are often unable to tell if an egg is fertile or not, so don't worry that the eggs will look or taste any different. As regards collection and storage, just treat them as normal. Personally I don't refrigerate my eggs. They sit on the counter top until I use them and I have eaten eggs(even fertile eggs) kept at room temperature for over a month and they have been perfectly normal. It is always best to collect eggs daily, but I just recently found a secret nest that 2 of my hens have been laying into for some time and I am in the process of working my way through those (all 43 of them!!!) starting from the ones in the bottom, which I can only assume are the oldest. They are perfectly edible and normal, albeit not as fresh as ones laid today, but still look and taste fine..... and I know that one of the hens laying them is a favourite of my prime cockerel and gets mated very regularly and is fertile because she hatched and raised 14 of her own eggs/chicks last summer, but these eggs have been sitting in a nest for maybe 3 weeks with 2 hens climbing on top and laying another one each day and they have not developed.
    Basically, having a rooster makes no real difference until you have a hen that goes broody and even then, it takes a couple of days of a hen's CONSTANT warmth(ie day and night) to effectively "trigger" development.

    As regards your other question, I would not leave a hen sitting on eggs that have no hope of hatching or golf balls/fake eggs. Brooding takes a lot out of a hen and if she is committed, she will often set until something hatches....not just 21 days and then give up. It may therefore be kinder to break her of it than let her set for a long time with no chicks at the end of it.

    The usual method to break them is to place them in a cage with mesh or slats on the bottom and chock it up a few inches off the ground with no nesting material, so that she has nothing to snuggle into to keep her breast warm and there is air able to circulate underneath her. Make sure she has access to food and water and a roost bar to stand on, especially if you use wire mesh as this can cause sores and frost bite on the feet at this time of year. This should break her of it in a few days.

    Best wishes

  5. Jajika

    Jajika Songster

    Dec 24, 2007
    Northern California
    Wow----that was really good advice. I learned a lot.


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