What is the least amount of time to seperate breeds before hatching?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by mississippifarmboy, Dec 25, 2010.

  1. mississippifarmboy

    mississippifarmboy collects slightly damaged strays

    Ok, don't give me a hard time on this one, I just need to know.

    What is the correct amount of time to be SURE your hens are fertilized by the roo in a breeding pen, and ONLY the roo in the breeding pen, after you separate them from a mixed flock?

    I run most of our breeds in a huge (2+ acre) pen or totally free range most of the year. I just like the idea of them being free range and it's a heck of a lot easier to fill just a few large feeders every day than to fill 30 small ones, plus when they are running loose I fill water troughs up by the barn and they have the pond to drink from instead of all those individual waterers. I have always separated the breeders of each breed I was going to raise from into breeder pens on January 1st each year and started collecting eggs to hatch out on March 1st. That's two months in the breeder pen before hatching any eggs from that breed. Any eggs laid before then are just ate or sold as eating eggs. I've never sold hatching eggs, just hatched out my own replacement stock (I do give a few hatching eggs away if anyone asks, but it's been rare as most people around here prefer started birds).

    My thing is that this next year I would like to start hatching a bit earlier in the year, but as of now most of our flock is still free ranging. I've researched it and the numbers are all over the place - from a week up to three months! I'm confused! What do those of you in the same situation think is enough time?

    Nothing against mutts, but I've got plenty of those without raising more. [​IMG]
  2. NonnasBabies

    NonnasBabies Muddy Acre Farms Premium Member

    Sep 20, 2009
    On the Farm!
    On every post I've seen it's been recommended no less than 2 weeks!!

    Hope you get a straight answer from a breeder!! [​IMG]
  3. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    A hen can store sperm up to about 3 weeks and you can still get viable eggs. So to be certain you don't end up with mutts, I'd give them a full month turn over.
  4. mississippifarmboy

    mississippifarmboy collects slightly damaged strays

    Thanks Silkiechicken! That's what I was needing to know!
  5. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    I have been wondering this too! Thanks for the thread!
  6. BarredBuff

    BarredBuff Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 6, 2009
    I have been wondering also.................
  7. Sir Birdaholic

    Sir Birdaholic Night Knight

    Yep, 1 month is totally safe. 3 weeks is ALMOST safe, 2 weeks, you'll probably get chicks from both roos
  8. Cindiloohoo

    Cindiloohoo Quiet as a Church Mouse

    Dec 19, 2009
    Southwest TN
    I always go 4 weeks out as well.
  9. mississippifarmboy

    mississippifarmboy collects slightly damaged strays

    Thanks everybody. Looks like four weeks it is!

    Now to get them all caught. [​IMG]
  10. shellyga

    shellyga Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 23, 2010
    I asked the same question a little while ago and got this advice:

    Hens that have been locked up for a month are easier to put back with the flock than a roo -- so lock your hens up for thirty days.. put your rooster in for two days.. and then let him back out. Keep in mind that my hen to rooster ratio is going to be 4 to 1 for my situation. Keep the hens locked up until you get the desired number of eggs (no more than 3 weeks to a month).. then reintroduce.


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