What are the basics of chicken breeding?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by cupman, Dec 13, 2011.

  1. cupman

    cupman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have one rooster and eleven hens. Well I also have 15 others in various brooders but that is my adult stock. I want to hatch out a bunch of mutts but I don't know anything at all about breeding. Will my rooster fertilize all my hens? Do I need to build some type of breeding pen? (They free range nearly every day) How long do I have to stick an egg in the incubator once it's been plopped out? I bought the HovaBator Genesis 1588 a couple months back but I haven't used it yet. Well thanks in advance.
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    You should be ready now if the rooster is free ranging with the hens. You don't need to do anything special other than let him have some quality time with the hens. You can always crack a few eggs and lood for the bull's eye. If you see the bull's eye, that egg was fertile. If most of the ones you crack are fertile, most if the ones you don't crack should be fertile. This thread has photos that can help. With 11 hens with one rooster, the eggs should be fertile.

    Fertile Egg Photos
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=16008&p=6

    I'll give another link that talks about storing eggs for incubating if you want a lot of details. The basics are to store them pointy side down in a reasonably cool location. It needs to be above freezing and below 70 if possible. If you can't do exactly that, just do the best you can.

    You can keep them for about a week just like that. If you keep them longer than a week, you need to turn them a few times a day. When I save them, I take the automatic turner out of the incubator, plug it in, and store the eggs in it. That way I don't have to worry about turning them.

    Texas A&M Incubation site
    http://gallus.tamu.edu/library/extpublications/b6092.pdf
     
  3. Glenmar

    Glenmar Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you want to switch roosters, how long do you have to wait it ensure that the eggs are fertilized by your new rooster??
     
  4. slim1986

    slim1986 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I heard it was at least a week to ensure the other roosters um, "stuff" has "worn off" I'd guess you could say! Lol
     
  5. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    Quote:I would wait up to three weeks. The hens can stay fertile up to three weeks. After that you can be pretty sure the chicks will be from your new boy.
     
  6. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    Quote:The optimum for successful breeding is 1 boy to 10 girls. I have in one coop 2 boys and 24 girls and in another coop 1 boy with 13 girls.
     
  7. Ted n Ms

    Ted n Ms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If the rooster in a flock dies or is removed, the hens continue to produce fertile eggs for up to four weeks, depending on bird species. This is because there are "sperm nest" areas located in the oviduct of hens that collect and store semen for later fertilization of eggs. This is a natural survival mechanism for the production of a series of fertile hatching eggs even after the male is not available.
    The period of time that fertile eggs are produced without additional matings can extend to several weeks. If a rooster is removed from the flock and replaced by another, it may require three weeks before it can be assured that all eggs will produce chicks sired by the new rooster. The proportion of chicks sired by the new rooster increases during this period but some chicks sired by the old rooster may hatch. Birds like turkeys and waterfowl have longer periods during which fertile eggs can be produced without matings.
     
  8. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    [​IMG]

    Quote:
     
  9. Glenmar

    Glenmar Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:That is what I tought. Thanks. This will be my first year hatching my own eggs.
     
  10. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Quote:While I almost always agree with Cmom, my opinion is a bit different in this one. The 10 to 1 ratio is used by commercial operations that produce hatching eggs to insure fertility in pen breeding situations. This is where maybe 20 roosters share an enclosed facitlity with 200 hens. They don't want to feed any more roosters than they have to, but they have determined that in the pen breeding situation, due to the random nature of which rooster mates with which hen and the different fertility rates of the roosters, they need the 10 to 1 ratio. If the fertility rate starts to drop, they take out a few older roosters and put in a few younger more active ones.

    As long as the rooster is active and fertile, I find that the ratio can be quite a bit higher in free ranging flocks. You need to check for the bull's eye because the fertility and virility of the rooster can vary quite a bit, but I find that one reasonably young active rooster in a free ranging flock can usually keep a lot more hens fertile. With eleven hens, you are in great shape. I'd be a bit surprised, provided the rooster was any good, if you did not get real good fertility with one rooster and 15 to 18 hens.
     

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