To rooster or not to rooster

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by flying8farms, Mar 25, 2016.

  1. flying8farms

    flying8farms New Egg

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    Mar 25, 2016
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    So this is my first year raising laying hens. I decided not to have a rooster at this time. But I am quickly realizing that eventually after more coops are built I want to start breeding certain types of chickens. So I have a few questions about Roosters for those who have them.....

    1. If I just borrowed a rooster to breed my hens, do I have to do a slow integration to the flock or van I just put him in with them
    2. I have a mixed flock...with the rooster try to breed all of them? Or will I have to pen him with the Hens I want bred away from the ones I don't
    3. If I decide to keep a rooster how will I know which eggs I gather are fertilized or not. I don't want to send a fertilized egg to someone for eating.
    4. For those of you who keep roosters do you still eat the fertilized eggs?

    Sorry if this all sounds silly
     
  2. chicklover 1998

    chicklover 1998 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Welcome to BYC, as any new bird to the flock you need to do a month or so of separation to check for an diseases, The rooster will breed all of them regardless but if you have a large flock the best way to ensure fertilization is to keep him with about 8-10 hens, eggs that have been fertilized will have a bulls eye on them, I'm sure you have noticed the white spot on your eggs that is the blastodisc it is where the fertilization spot will be too-that is where the chick will develop there will be a ring around that white spot if it is fertilized you have to crack the eggs open to see it obviously, but if an egg is fertile you should be able to see veining in about 4-8 days of incubation the only time a fertilized egg will develop is if you incubate it, fertilized eggs are fine to eat. I hope that helps.
     
  3. CascadiaRiver

    CascadiaRiver Chillin' With My Peeps

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    2. The rooster (as long as size doesnt play part) will breed all of the hens available to him.
    3. Fertilized eggs are perfectly fine to eat as long as they havent been incubated at 100 degrees for Weeks :3
     
  4. Greg88

    Greg88 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    follow up questions
    1) How soon after the hens have been bred will their eggs be fertile?
    2) For how long after the rooster is removed will the hens be fertile?
     
  5. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    They can start laying fertile eggs the very next day. And they can continue laying fertile eggs for about 3 weeks.
     
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  6. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    [​IMG]

    Welcome to the wonderful world of chicken-keeping! There are many different ways of flock management, it all depends on your goals for your flock. My answers to your questions are based on my experience of raising chickens, and how I manage my flock.

    1. I would not "borrow" a rooster. That's a good way to introduce disease and parasites into your flock.
    2. As stated above, your rooster will breed any hen he has access to.
    3. In the Learning Center of the forum, there are good pictures of what a fertile vs. infertile egg looks like. Whether they're fertile or not shouldn't be a problem for eating as long as you collect the eggs daily.
    4. Yes. Again, it's not a problem as long as you keep up with egg collection and they haven't been incubated for any amount of time.

    Before you even get a rooster, I would encourage you to think strongly about your management plan after you start hatching out chicks. Mostly, what are you going to do with the extra roosters that you will inevitably wind up with? There are way too many threads here on the forum from people who end up with too many roosters, can't find anyone to take them, but can't bear to put them in the freezer. How about your lower quality hens? What are your plans for your old hens who aren't producing as well anymore? Will they be pets or livestock? (That will play a huge role as to how easy or difficult it will be to thin the flock if needed.)

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/16008/how-to-tell-a-fertile-vs-infertile-egg-pictures
     
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  7. chicklover 1998

    chicklover 1998 Chillin' With My Peeps

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  8. flying8farms

    flying8farms New Egg

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    Thank you for the response
    One more question. What constitutes incubating. If they are put on the shelf at room temperature is that fine?

    Also I plan on culling roosters that I end up with. We raise meat rabbits so it won't be a difficult thing for me to do.
    Now the older laying hens that just aren't producing as much. I think I will just let them live out in a "retirement "pen
     
  9. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    I commend your keeping just hens the first year. It really does give you some experience. Roosters take a bit of experience. Roosters are a crap shoot, some are fine, some are awful, some go from being the darling to a nightmare in an instant. If you have small children, I would recommend waiting on getting a rooster.

    If you have different kinds of chickens, you probably have different colored eggs. Just hatch the eggs of the chickens that you want. As you cook, keep a tally sheet, and check each egg to see if it is fertilized or not. When you are getting 95-100% with the cooking eggs, you can bet that the ones you want to hatch are also fertilized. Don't be surprised if you find it a bit difficult at first to tell which egg is fertilized.

    It is a marvelous hobby, good luck.

    Mrs K
     
  10. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Incubating = keeping an egg at a near constant 99.5 to 100 degrees for 21 days, in a humidity controlled environment.
    Eggs on a shelf at room temp won't start developing.
     

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