I have 2 roosters in with my 15 hens,I set 20 eggs under broodies and only 4 hatched,any ideas why fertility is so low?I see them mating all the time.I had 3 roosters in with them but the fighting got to bad
I changed roosters a while back and got dissappointing fertility. I was using the largest eggs which came from 4 of the oldest hens, then I got to watching and found out my new rooster was mating with the young hens and wasn't mating the old hens. In the mean time I wasted a lot of eggs and incubator time.
Are you sure the eggs were infertile or could it have been an incubation issue? Not all eggs that don't hatch are not fertile eggs. Sometimes it takes a while for the hens to accept a new rooster and the old dominant hens may not. Also I don't hatch the very large eggs as they tend to be double yolkers which have a hard time hatching
Well egg size has no effect on fertility, large eggs are fertile too but if an egg is a double yolk it is extremely rare for the 2 chicks that form inside to actually live, they cannot generally hatch without assistance and knowing when or how to assist them is a tricky situation, I just hatch average sized eggs, you don't want to use overly small eggs either, just normal sized eggs for your hens.
As I asked in my previous post, do you know for sure they were not fertile? Just because the eggs don't hatch doesn't make them infertile, early quitters can look like clears when candling, you really would have to break them open afterwards and see what the insides look like to see if they were infertile or not, it would be highly unlikely to have 16 of 20 eggs be infertile if you have 2 or 3 roosters and see them breeding. All of the eggs could have been fertile and simply died during incubation due to an issue with the incubator or even bacteria getting into the egg.
They are bantam cochins? The only thing I can really think of is maybe the hens and roosters have to many fluffy feathers around their vents that possibly the hens aren't actually getting fertilized. Also I read that a cochin hen's feathered feet can cause eggs to slip out from under them which would cause them not to hatch.