When mating first begins

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Werforpsu, Aug 27, 2016.

  1. Werforpsu

    Werforpsu Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Okay. I had no idea what to name this thread. ...when a 'man' loves a 'woman' came to mind. Lol.
    My 20 week old BSL hens are not laying yet that we know of. They free range a lot during the day but this week I kept them in the coop for 48+ hours and there were no eggs so I was still feeling confident that we werent getting eggs. It's been so hot and even though i have 10 hens in 96 sq feet, I know that they like to get out and strech their wings etc. I understand I might have an egg or two lying around in the woods but I'm fairly confident that we are not getting consistent eggs yet.

    Then tonight, I watched 2 of our 4 roosters mount 2 different hens. These two roosters are our #1 and #2 boys. The others don't even crow (they are 22 weeks). This is the first mounting that I have seen and I was curious if this means that the hen is laying or will be laying in the next few days.
    The hens seemed to protest quite a bit and I'm even thinking that rooster #1 fell off without 'doing the deed'! Lol.

    Also when rooster #2 tried to mount the hen, rooster #1 had a fit and tried to stop them.

    So is the mounting a sign of the hens sexual maturity or are the roosters just randy little buggers?
    Will the hens submit once they do it a few times? The hens didn't look happy at all.
    I know I need less roosters but we just havent gotten around to culling yet. I'm worried that if one rooster protests when another mates, that will cause all sorts of problems.
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Now is the time to remove all extra roosters. Your hens are close to beginning to lay. Too many roosters can cause stress, as well as being repeatedly mated by multiple roosters. Most hens don't like being mated, so protesting is normal. Most learn to accept it.
     
  3. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    Cockerels mature faster than pullets..So your probably safe in the no eggs yet department.....
    Watch your pullets for red wattles and combs...That is a sign of getting close to egg laying.
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    So you have 10 pullets and 4 cockerels all about 20 weeks old?
    (BTW.....they won't be hens and cocks until 1 year of age)

    Agrees that it's time to get rid of the extra males, keep 1 male.... or none.
    Those poor pullets are going to be really stressed with too many males and may get injured.

    Young cockerels will mate anything, haha, and yes, they reach sexual maturity before the pullets.
    An mature adult cockbird will not mate a pullet that has not reached sexual maturity, so that situation would indicate the pullet will lay soon.

    Signs of onset of lay---I've found the pelvic points to be the most accurate.
    Squatting:
    If you touch their back they will hunker down on the ground, then shake their tail feathers when they get back up.
    This shows they are sexually mature and egg laying is close at hand.

    Combs and Wattles:
    Plump, shiny red - usually means laying.
    Shriveled, dryish looking and pale - usually means not laying.
    Tho I have found that the combs and wattles can look full and red one minute then pale back out the next due to exertion or excitement, can drive ya nuts when waiting for a pullet to lay!

    Vent:
    Dry, tight, and smaller - usually not laying.
    Moist, wide, and larger - usually laying

    Pelvic Points 2 bony points(pelvic bones) on either side of vent:
    Less than 2 fingertip widths apart usually means not laying.
    More than 2 fingertip widths apart usually means laying.

    Free range birds sometimes need to be 'trained'(or re-trained) to lay in the coop nests, especially new layers. Leaving them locked in the coop for 3-4 days (or longer) can help 'home' them to lay in the coop nests. Fake eggs/golf balls in the nests can help 'show' them were to lay. They can be confined to coop 24/7 for a few days to a week, or confine them at least until mid to late afternoon. You help them create a new habit and they will usually stick with it. ..at least for a good while, then repeat as necessary.
     
  5. Werforpsu

    Werforpsu Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I said that wrong actually. Lol. I have 10 birds: 4 cockerels and 6 pullets. I have 2 cockerels. which are displaying "male" characteristics (crowing, protecting the pullets from what they consider threats etc) and 2 that don't seem to care at all about being "male".

    I was able to pick up a pullet and check her vent last night. It was large and moist but pink. I read that the pink would fade when she gets into laying. She is 1 of the girls who got jumped last night by the cockerel.

    Do we NEED to get rid of the cockerels now who arent crowing or anything? I understand getting rid of cockerel #2 but if they aren't causing a fuss will they still stress out the pullets?

    Thanks for all the advice!
     
  6. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Are you looking to keep any of them? I would definitely remove both troublemakers and than go from there. If you weren't going to keep any than there's no reason to leave them with the hens.
     
  7. Werforpsu

    Werforpsu Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, we were going to keep #1. He is the kids favorite, plus he seems to be learning to take care of the pullets. He calls them over to him when he has food and he breaks up disagreements between any other chickens. He is not aggressive towards us (I know that might change in the future). He tends to herd the flock. You shoold have seen him the evening he spoted a groundhog in the garden. He was comleyely on guard and in minutes had the flock where he wanted them to be.
    He is the last in the coop every night. He walks around outside for a couple minutes after all the rest are in and on the roost.

    I dont know a ton about chicken behaviours yet, but that sounds like some qualities of a good rooster to me.
     
  8. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    He does sound like a good choice to see if he will work out. It can be easy to put up a temporary pen somewhere to separate out the other extra roosters for a bit to see how it goes before making any permanent decisions. It doesn't need to be elaborate.
     

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