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when do chickens/roosters start mating?

Discussion in 'What Breed Or Gender is This?' started by karen18, Jul 26, 2014.

  1. karen18

    karen18 In the Brooder

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    I bought 4 6wk old hens that are now 12 weeks. one has started crowing and chasing the others, it looks like a rooster. he's beautiful and I want to keep him, but I also want to have edible eggs. Can anyone tell me what age they start being fertile, is it okay to let them have one batch of chicks (its late summer where I live), how long do they stay fertile? how do I prevent them from mating after that (can he be nutered?). I've read several books on chickens but cant find the answers!
     
  2. CharterChick

    CharterChick Songster

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    Why would your eggs be uneatable? Just because they are fertile eggs doesn't mean you can't eat them... I eat mine every day and when I want some chicks I incubate a few. Just hatched 10 super cute chicks! :). I've never heard of anyone neutering a rooster but I know people who give them away or here we eat them so we don't have too many hanging around.
     
  3. Griffinsong

    Griffinsong Songster

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    Fertilized eggs are edible and will not start to develop into chicks unless a hen sets them [sits on them] or unless they are incubated in an incubator. This is so a hen can save up eggs in a nest and then hatch them all at the same time.
    There is practically no difference between an unfertilized egg and one that has been fertilized but not incubated[the only difference is tahat there is a small bullseye shaped cell on top of the yolk, which is where a chick will grow from if it is set, and in infertile eggs that is only a dot]. So it is safe to keep your roo with the hens, nd whenever you want a batch of chicks you can save up some of the eggs and incubate them.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2014
  4. dheltzel

    dheltzel Crowing

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    Some stores charge a higher price for fertile eggs to eat, though there really is no difference, from a nutritional/taste standpoint. Kind of like egg color, a lot of myths around that too.
     
  5. karen18

    karen18 In the Brooder

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    Thank you for the quick responses [​IMG] I didn't know they could be eaten, emmotionally it just seems wrong, but intellectually it does make sense if they are collected daily and don't get a chance to start developing. I bought them mainly as "pets with bennifits". They are easter-eggers and I was delighted to learn they lay colored eggs! I like the idea of raising a few of them. Should I mark the ones to hatch with a sharpie or something? Also, is it safe to hatch them in the fall/winter, or should I wait until spring?

    Thank you! Karen
     
  6. dheltzel

    dheltzel Crowing

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    It safe for the chickens to hatch anytime you want, but many people prefer to hatch when the weather will allow them to be outside ASAP and have plenty of time to adjust to the cold before winter hits. I bought chicks last October and also in December. They did fine, but I had to keep heat on them longer than if they were hatched in the spring or summer. The hens from both those sets of chicks have been laying now for a few months and we are really happy with them.

    A good roo is really nice to have around. I believe the hens appreciate all of his services also. It really is more natural and eating those fertilized eggs is also very natural. It's a potential chick, but not a real chick, if that helps. No ways could all of our fertilized eggs be hatched, we'd never room for them all.
     
  7. PoultryQueen101

    PoultryQueen101 Songster

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    Yes, a rooster can be neutered, it is then called a Capon. They cut right below the ribs. But I dont know if it makes a huge difference.
    We always eat eggs and we have two roos. We let them sit or inc when we want eggs.
     
  8. CharterChick

    CharterChick Songster

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    I would have never thought to neuter a rooster! Just seems funny to me!
     
  9. dheltzel

    dheltzel Crowing

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    Caponizing is major surgery for a chicken. This is done to let the males grow out longer for eating, not to create a better pet. They can become like cornish crosses, growing too large and fat and getting health issues if kept long term. It is not appropriate or recommended for something like this.
     
  10. PoultryQueen101

    PoultryQueen101 Songster

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    Yep. This resfreshed my memory. This sounda about right xD
     

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