They begin to be fertile at around 1 year of age, but starts mating at around 5-months old. When they're 5-months old and starts to mate they still can't fertilize the eggs but once they're about a year old they can now fertilize them.
Quote:SillyChick, I passed your information on yesterday to my nephew who asked me. I got to thinking about it and Googling, and I do not find any source that agrees with you. Actually, most sources say that a rooster's most potent/verile/fertile age is between 40 and 50 weeks and that it's all downhill for him after 12 months.
I'm guessing that they're capable of fertilizing eggs much earlier than 40 weeks, but I haven't seen any literature that discusses that.
Other members, any comments/information on the subject that you can pass on?
Roosters tend to begin mating at around 16 weeks of age (although individuals may vary). They are fertile almost immediately, but they may not provide good coverage. They may not have the proper technique mastered, and they may not cover all of the hens, so total flock fertility with a youngster may be rather low at first. But it can just as easily be fine. My cockerel is 18 weeks old, has been mating the hens for about 3 weeks, and I have nice bullseyes in most of my eggs right now.
As others have said,, as soon as they are going through the motions and mounting the hens they are pretty much ready to go,,, they may not be quite as potent yet but they will be getting the job done to some extent. I have a Black Minorka who started at 9 weeks and was most definitly potent at that age (about 50% with first hatch)
Another thing is generally the lighter the breed the faster they will mature,, I have read cases (documented,, not just word of mouth on a forum) where Egyptian Fayoumis can start breeding in as little as 6 weeks,, larger breeds tend to start closer to 16-20 and cochins,, well those bad boys take their sweet time
As far as loosing it,,, it is pretty much agreed that they hit their peak their first year and it's pretty much downhill from there,, i keep my breeders for 3, but toward the end of the third year you can see significant loss in fertility rate.