1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Will a hen breed if going through a soft molt?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by RunningRabbit, Nov 23, 2015.

  1. RunningRabbit

    RunningRabbit Chillin' With My Peeps

    157
    13
    93
    Oct 10, 2012
    I have found a devilishly handsome EE roo, that I'll be purchasing soon. I want to pair him and my Abigail, to produce some beautiful little EE chicks. Abigail is going through a very soft molt. She stopped laying because of it. Would she breed with the roo, even though she's going through a molt and an egg strike? I absolutely do not want to do anything that would harm her, but I couldn't find an answer to this. Should I wait to get the roo? Or if I do get him, will they just not bother having chicks until spring or the molt is over with?
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    19,687
    2,748
    456
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    No matter how much they mate you will not get chicks unless you first get eggs. If she has stopped laying due to the molt, she is not likely to lay any eggs until after the molt is over. She may start laying soon after the molt is finished or if you are north of the equator she may wait until spring and the days get longer.

    If the EE rooster is an adult, he will probably mate some with the hen to establish his dominance, whether she is molting or not. What happens could also depend on whether you have any other hens in there, or even another rooster. What other chickens you might have can have an effect on what happens. If he is an adult rooster they will probably get along great. Hens send out signals that they are ready or not ready for mating and adult roosters usually respect that. An immature cockerel is another creature entirely. Things could get pretty wild if you put an immature cockerel with her or other hens.

    Once she is laying, it is not a case of if “they bother having chicks”. To hatch the eggs you either have to have a broody hen or an incubator. Not all hens go broody and they certainly don’t go broody at a time convenient to you. If you have other hens and one goes broody you can give her the eggs to hatch. Hens will attempt to hatch other hen’s, turkey, duck, or pheasant eggs or door knobs. All some need is an imagination. It does not need to be her own eggs.

    Having a rooster around has no effect on whether a hen goes broody or not. The only way you can control when eggs hatch is to use an incubator. Other than that, you are just depending on blind luck and that usually doesn’t work with chickens going broody.
     
  3. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,277
    395
    221
    Apr 12, 2013
    Boulder, Colorado
    An EE roo is no guarantee that you will end up with green or blue egg layers. Yes, the chicks will be EEs but you will end up with 50% brown egg layers. You are better off finding an ameraucana, araucana or cream legbar rooster.
     
  4. RunningRabbit

    RunningRabbit Chillin' With My Peeps

    157
    13
    93
    Oct 10, 2012

    I don't mind having brown egg layers. It's the disposition that I adore. She's so darn sweet, that in hoping to keep that sweetness going. Sometime down the road, I might breed for egg color specifically. But until then, I'll be happy if even half the possible chicks turn out as loving as her.

    The roo is an adult male, and she was laying before egg strike. I figure from what I've read, that EE don't really go broody. I do have an incubator for the eggs. I just wanted to ensure that she would be okay and not harassed by the roo, because she wasn't laying, and she was in a soft molt. Supposedly, the roo is a very sweet guy. Perhaps I would be better off waiting for spring, and egg production to resume?
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    31,073
    3,891
    516
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    How old is the potential new to you EE cock and how old are your existing birds?
    Have you ever had a cockbird...do you have any now?

    Integrating a cockbird to a flock of pullets/hens can be the easiest integration.....
    ......depending on all their temperaments and the amount of space/housing you have.

    Lots of things to consider other than mating and hatching new chicks....including bio-quarantine of new bird.
     
  6. RunningRabbit

    RunningRabbit Chillin' With My Peeps

    157
    13
    93
    Oct 10, 2012

    I currently have a single, 9 month old hen. It'll be two the first week of December. The cockerel is only 6 months old. I've had cockerels before. They were Seramas. Plenty of housing space. I converted a shed to the coop, and they'll be free ranging on half an acre of land. The new birds will have been vaccinated, wormed and health checked. But I do have a separate area for them, to stay during the first few weeks.
     
  7. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,277
    395
    221
    Apr 12, 2013
    Boulder, Colorado
    I wouldn't be considering a cockerel with only 2 hens. Also, he might be "sweet" at 6 months but sexual maturity has not set in yet. Work on building up your flock than add a rooster in the spring. Good roosters are a dime a dozen.
     
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    19,687
    2,748
    456
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Breeders often keep one rooster with just one or two hens throughout the breeding season without problems, but the trick is that they use mature birds, not adolescents. Cockerels and pullets are not roosters and hens.
     
  9. RunningRabbit

    RunningRabbit Chillin' With My Peeps

    157
    13
    93
    Oct 10, 2012
    Would a 9 month old hen be considered mature? She was already laying when I purchased her. How old does a cockerel need to be before he's mature enough for the hens?
     
  10. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    19,687
    2,748
    456
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    They mature at different ages, male and female both. I’ve had males mature at 5 months, though that is really rare. I’ve had some take a full year. Most females hot something close to maturity pretty soon after they start to lay, though again I’ve had some take oven ne months.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by