When are hens ready to mate?

joebryant

Crowing
11 Years
Apr 28, 2008
5,542
42
271
SW of Greenwood, INDIANA
I'm hoping that when the bigger hens are ready to mate that my rooster will leave my little silkie alone. Can I know that they're ready when they lay their first egg, or are they ready before they begin laying?
I have three hens and one rooster (all siblings) that are 23 weeks old. The rooster never tries to mate with any of them; evidently he can tell that they're not ready. Last week I started letting my little silkie hen and her chick go out to free range. He attacks her repeatedly in spite of his being six times bigger than what she is. I really don't think they're really mating because the body parts don't seem to be connecting correctly. She's terrified of him, but she has no place to hide when he finds her. I'm afraid that his weight can cause her permanent physical harm. Does that ever happen to small hens that get mated by very large roosters?
 
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Buff Hooligans

Scrambled
12 Years
Jun 11, 2007
12,148
344
311
Quote:Joe, time for you to be the hero and save her little helpless self. Keep that stupid roo away from her.
 

joebryant

Crowing
11 Years
Apr 28, 2008
5,542
42
271
SW of Greenwood, INDIANA
Quote:Joe, time for you to be the hero and save her little helpless self. Keep that stupid roo away from her.

He's in a coop all by himself now because of that, his bullying the other hens, selfishness, non-stop crowing, and several other reasons. Actually that's why I asked the question. I don't want him out until he can mate with the big hens and hopefully lose all interest in the silkie. I hope that's soon because I know he hates me for picking him up the second time. He's like a horny teenage boy who doesn't know what to do with himself.
 
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MissPrissy

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
May 7, 2007
24,434
102
371
Forks, Virginia
How old is the roo? How old are the hens?

A roo will mate a pullet any time he feels like it. If your hens are 16+weeks you can put him in with them. They'll be fine and settled by the time egg laying begins.

What we humans see as bullying, aggressive behavior is a young roo finding his place and taking command of his flock and responsibilities.

He may never loose interest in the silkie. She is way too small to be in with him. You do know if he mounted her he could kill her from his weight and internal injuries? Not to mention break her bones? She needs her own little coop with silkie friends.
 

joebryant

Crowing
11 Years
Apr 28, 2008
5,542
42
271
SW of Greenwood, INDIANA
Quote:He and the three large hens are all 23 weeks old, and he has NEVER mounted any of the three large hens. Sounds like I might have to make other arrangements for the silkie.
 

MissPrissy

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
May 7, 2007
24,434
102
371
Forks, Virginia
I would have had him in the pen with the pullets long before now. My roos are raised with the pullets. Put him in with the pullets. He has to learn. The longer you wait the more set in his ways he will be. Give those hens a chance to bite back and straighten him out as much as he needs to get those hens in line. He can't learn to mount them if he isn't in the pen with them.

Silkie needs her own place and a few friends.
 

joebryant

Crowing
11 Years
Apr 28, 2008
5,542
42
271
SW of Greenwood, INDIANA
THANKS AGAIN, MISS PRISSY. DON'T KNOW WHAT WE'D DO WITHOUCHA.
Until Sunday, he'd been with the hens since hatching. It's supposed to turn cool Thursday. I'll put the silkie back in the coop where she'd been since she began setting on the eggs that resulted in the chick. I'll section off a small part of the run for just her and the chick and forget about letting them free range. Meanwhile, he'll go back with the hens permanently, and I'll just hope he starts mating and they start laying soon.
 

MissPrissy

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
May 7, 2007
24,434
102
371
Forks, Virginia
Right there with you! Waiting for my 23 week old blues to start to lay too.


What will you do with all the eggs??
 

cloudlet

In the Brooder
11 Years
Jul 4, 2008
41
0
22
Loveland, Colorado
Hi,

I have a very newbie question related to this.

I have three pullets and a roo (they were all supposed to be girls, but nobody told him that.) Anyway, I haven't decided what to do with him yet, and the idea of hatching some chicks is interesting. My question actually stems from the eggs for eating. If I want eggs for eating, should I separate the roo from the group? Or do I just collect eggs as per the norm and put them in the fridge to stop development? I really have no idea if folks eat fertilized eggs that didn't go very far. The chickens are all happy together and I'd like to leave them that way, but when the girls start laying (they are about 18 weeks now) I'd like to have eggs and decide later on chicks.

Thanks for any help. I know this is a basic question, but it's all new to me!
 

MissPrissy

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
May 7, 2007
24,434
102
371
Forks, Virginia
Nothing will develop in your eggs without some type of incubation - be it hen or incubator. Collect your eggs daily, put them in the fridge and carry on as usual. Eating and hatching eggs - no difference except one has the potential to develop a chick. Enjoy the rooster and the eggs.
 

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