When do rooster stop mating

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Wulfagor, Oct 31, 2013.

  1. Wulfagor

    Wulfagor Out Of The Brooder

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    Hey,I'm kinda new to this forum,this will be my first post..so,the question would be when do rooster stop mating,I mean like what age do they get old and sperms stop to produce and eventually they stop mating,or do they mate(fertilize egg)till they die?thanks in advanced;)
     
  2. rachmickmurphy

    rachmickmurphy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Interesting question I retire them at 6-7. But have a pekin who about that and he had 7 hens in his pen his fertility 100% this year. Hopefully more knowledgable members can give there thoughts. Welcome
     
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I have used roosters older than 10 as sires / breeders. Mine generally are not allowed to breed until they are two which is older than the age roosters in most commercial flocks are retired. Key differences beyond that are number of hens covered / mated and the duration of the mating season. My roosters cover at most six hens and usually only one to three. The mating season I use ranges 4 to 6 months while commercial producers have continuous mating effort. My one year old roosters can do a lot of mating with good hatching when given the chance but by the time they are 3 they start slowing down on the mating part and once a rooster starts getting up around 5 you often start seeing a reduction in fertility / viability of eggs which gets more pronounced as rooster continues to age. The oldest birds start to have trouble actually completing the mating act and the number of quality chicks hatched can approach zero. There is considerable variability on aging process, some of which is genetic, some is environmental. The environmental of greatest concern for me is related to nutrition. Ideally the rooster gets a nutritionally complete diet with just enough protein with adequate amounts of greens. Most folks using roosters are feeding the hens to promote egg laying (higher energy, higher protein and higher calcium) which can be quite a bit more than is optimal for a rooster kept long-term. Finally, diets developed for commercial birds which most people use, are the nutrient dense feeds that have been developed for young birds in their prime without consideration for longevity. Consider the diet of a human teenager versus someone that is middle aged and what would happen to a middle aged person eating a teenager diet.
     
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  4. Wulfagor

    Wulfagor Out Of The Brooder

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    That's a great reply there centrarchid,but when do they exactly stop mating or fertilize the female egg or sexually invective?4 -5years?base on what u said,their sexual drive run faster or slower depending on their nutrition intake right
     
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    There are no exact ages for such any more than exact ages in humans for similar. Some birds burn our at three years of age while others can still be doing at least until they are 12 years of age. If the candle is burning hotter from more work, poor nutrition, excessive parasites, or other stressors; then age of retirement will occur earlier.
     
  6. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote: When they stop mating depends a lot on health, and genetics. Nobody can say exactly when they stop mating or being able to fertilize eggs because this varies to such a massive extent between individuals and breeds.

    Health is tied in with genetics, diet, environmental factors, etc, so breed and strain, etc have a major influence.

    Some roosters have proven fertile in their teenage years and twenties, but most don't get that old, and in general by the ages centrarchid mentioned they're winding down. Most poultry average around 8 to 12 years of life if left to age, but commercial breeds are usually culled far sooner, and even if not culled tend not to live long.

    As for whether their sexual drive runs faster or slower based on nutrient intake: that's a complex question. The answer is both yes and no, depending on the circumstances.

    A healthy young (or old) animal is far more inclined to mate than a sick young (or old) animal. The term 'sickness' covers malnutrition too. Some diseases of malnutrition are caused by over-nutrition. Underweight animals are more likely to breed than overweight ones, generally. An animal can be underweight because it's receiving too much of a certain nutrient, or overweight because it's not receiving enough of a certain nutrient, as counter-intuitive as that sounds. The diseases of malnutrition can leave them looking normal, or cause obesity or obvious emaciation, but in general underfed animals live a lot longer than overfed ones, and breed longer. Some forms of malnutrition trigger population reduction/control instincts, and others can trigger population propagation instincts, so some types of illness (over- or under-nutrition, aka the diseases of malnutrition) can cause lower or higher reproductive drives. Often those most desperate to breed are the very animals that ought not to breed at that time, or even at all, ever.

    You cannot get out of them later what never went into them in the first place, and this is one thing that has a lot to do with reliably estimating what time infertility is likely to develop. Raise them as healthily as possible, and you can expect long and productive lives... Cut corners and you can usually count on early debility and death. It also helps to not use intensive production strains if you want long-lived, long-fertile birds. A rooster raised on chick crumble and layer feed, caged, won't go too far as compared to one raised on some seeds and grains, insects, greens, etc and freeranging. But an intensive production bird won't go far even when given the extra-rich lifestyle and feed.

    4 or 5 years is old for a high production breed but in the prime of life for pretty much any other breed. So yes, a rooster of a high production breed (possessing genetics for high production of meat/eggs) could well be entering early senility and sterility by the mere age of 5. But I think probably the majority of all other breeds would still be very fertile at those ages, and for years to come.

    Off-topic, I personally don't get any quality offspring from hens and roosters under a year old. They might look good, but when compared to the latter clutches from the same parents, had when older, the second clutch always outdoes the first by miles, in every way. Also, older birds produce poorer offspring. Too old, too young, no good, middle aged is best, and the same seems true for canines, felines, equines, ovines, caprines, etc. Crossing a too-old bird with a too-young bird won't cancel the negatives out or equalize them, either. My experiences there agree with Centrarchid --- two years old is when they begin to enter their prime.
     
  7. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    I bow down to the admirable experience and knowledge of the previous two posters. I would just like to add my own personal experience, even though it comes no where close to matching that of these two.

    I let a broody hen sit on ten eggs fertilized by my Cochin roo who was less than one year old at the time. NONE of the eggs hatched. All but one showed any kind of development.

    Later, I let another broody sit eggs fertilized by another roo who was three years old. All the eggs were fertile and developed.

    This later rooster broke his leg, but before I had to put him down, he was still making a noble attempt to get up on that broken leg and go after his hens.
     
  8. Wulfagor

    Wulfagor Out Of The Brooder

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    Wow,that's a very very good information,thx so much,now il work extra hard to keep my rooster good in health and feed em good nutrition and stuff..
     
  9. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Something we did not cover above in a detailed manner is the impact of extreme age on quality after hatch. We often have had some extremely good performing birds in their youth that we want to keep well beyond their show years that ends no later than four years of age. Brood cocks and brood hens will then be kept as long as we can get hatch but I have noticed something that indicates that is not the best practice with exceptionally old birds even though we get some hatch. Chicks hatched from a very old cock or very old hen tend to be less vital than those hatched from older adults. This is really compounded when both parents are of advanced age which is part of logic why we breed old cocks to young hens or even pullets and old hens to young hens or stags. These infirmities of the offspring I suspect are at least partly genetic that will be passed on to their offspring. Not all young from such old birds are of the reduced quality but their occurrence is a lot higher.
     
  10. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Something we did not cover above in a detailed manner is the impact of extreme age on quality after hatch. We often have had some extremely good performing birds in their youth that we want to keep well beyond their show years that ends no later than four years of age. Brood cocks and brood hens will then be kept as long as we can get hatch but I have noticed something that indicates that is not the best practice with exceptionally old birds even though we get some hatch. Chicks hatched from a very old cock or very old hen tend to be less vital than those hatched from older adults. This is really compounded when both parents are of advanced age which is part of logic why we breed old cocks to young hens or even pullets and old hens to young hens or stags. These infirmities of the offspring I suspect are at least partly genetic that will be passed on to their offspring. Not all young from such old birds are of the reduced quality but their occurrence is a lot higher.
     

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