Some of you out there might be wondering, "How can I breed my own chickens?" Today, we thought we would help you out by providing some simple tips for chicken breeding.
Assuming you already have a flock of chickens ready to breed, there are little things you can do that will affect the end result.
1. Don't Be Afraid of Being Selective
You might want to consider choosing breeds that have desirable characteristics such as their comb, colors, egg color and egg laying average. You can also breed the same chickens if you want to build up your flock of that breed. No matter what your reasons may be, the chickens should be healthy, decent layers and have good temperaments.
2. Spring Breeding
You'll want to plan to breed your chickens during the spring. The reason being, is because although your hens can lay fertilized eggs year-round, they lay much more during the spring months than during the winter months.
3. Chickens Ratio
You're going to want to make sure you have a good rooster to hen ratio. This is because if there are too many roosters in your flock, they will fight over the hens. A good rule of thumb is 1 rooster for every 4-5 hens.
4. Keep the Rooster With the Hens
As soon as you've picked which rooster you want your hen to mate with, keep them together and remove all other roosters. The rest is pretty self-explanatory.
5. How Long Does it Take?
Your hens will lay fertilized eggs for about 2-3 weeks after your rooster has fertilized them and you've removed the rooster from the coop. However, if you just put the rooster and hen in the coop together, don't expect to see any fertilized eggs for about 2 weeks. It takes time to get those fertilized eggs.
6. Monitor Behaviors
Sometimes, roosters can be aggressive and you don't want them to accidentally hurt the hens, so make sure you're keeping track of their behavior. If you see any hens bleeding, then the rooster is a little over-broody and aggressive and you'll want to remove him from the coop.
7. Check for Fertilized Eggs
After about two weeks go by, you'll start noticing fertilized eggs. Fertilized eggs look a little different. They will have a little splotch in the yolk that kind of looks like a bullseye. That's when you'll know it's a fertile egg.
8. Storing the Eggs
All of your eggs need to be incubated simultaneously, so you're going to want to store the eggs until your hen is done laying fertilized eggs (about a week). Once she's done, you'll take the fertilized eggs and incubate all of them at the same time. Store them at 50-60 degrees, narrow side down for about a week.
That's about it! These are pretty simple tips and we hope to see all of you with your very own flock of baby chicks this spring! Check back next week for another fun, new blog post!