Chook breeding

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Hayhay
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Joined: Sat Jan 24, 2009 8:29 pm

Chook breeding

Postby Hayhay » Sun Sep 26, 2010 6:38 pm

At last I feel we might be on track with our chicken breeding! I've been breeding silkies for a few months now with the idea to build up our flock of hens, eat the roosters, and then sell any excess - but sadly what with beginners mistakes and a dog who suddenly decided to eat some baby chicks, I only have one pullet left from the breeding efforts - thankfully which is a hen.

So today we picked up a lovely old cage through freecycle for one of our broody hens. The other is in an old guinea pig cage. SO we have two hens sitting on eggs, all neatly separated and things feel like they might be on track.

I guess the one good thing from losing so many chicks (6 plus a set of eggs that didn't hatch a single chick) is that each time I learn to do it better. Fingers crossed this works out!

Shadowgirlau
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Re: Chook breeding

Postby Shadowgirlau » Sun Sep 26, 2010 6:55 pm

Breeding chickens can sure be a trial and error past time as e are both finding out it seems. I only have 4 hens from the 24 we incubated back in April with 3 roosters. Two of them were destined for the pot but DH didn't get around to doing the deed in time and so now they have started their "manly: antics they won't be any good for more than stock I 'm sure. some one I know is thinking about replacing their old rooster and is thinking about taking my Buff Sussex although she is not sure about its size as her chickens are bantams so he may end up in the pot for stock after all. I am still dithering about an incubator and whether or not i will breed anymore although I do want some more hens as 4 just isn't enough. If I do breed more than the rooster will end up in the freezer and I will keep the hens for awhile then we shall see.

Kathleen
Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.
- John Lennon

childoftheearth
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Re: Chook breeding

Postby childoftheearth » Mon Sep 27, 2010 10:55 am

Hi Kathleen,

Sounds like you had a nice mini break in the city, and came home full of energy.

In your post you said "DH didn't get around to doing the deed in time" (dispatching your roosters) and I was wondering if you can tell me when is the optimum age to ask them in for dinner. I presume from your comments that as they get older they become progressively tougher, is that correct?

As you may remember my chooks hatched just after yours and will be 21 weeks old tomorrow. I have 4 hens and 4 roosters. I want to keep 1 of the roosters so I can hatch some more eggs (assuming the hens ever lay any), but the other three will get the chop today.

Love to see some photos of the quilt hanging.

Cheers
Elaine

Hayhay
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Joined: Sat Jan 24, 2009 8:29 pm

Re: Chook breeding

Postby Hayhay » Mon Sep 27, 2010 2:15 pm

We tried an incubator years ago and had very little success with hatching (think it was not accurate enough being homemade). Also set up a hasty one using my cheese fridge last month when a chook hopped off the nest leaving a whole lot of eggs not quite hatched. But that didn't work out either (for whatever reason) - and now I'm rather reluctant to ever use the fridge for camembert again!

I am hoping not to use an incubator at all. I'd rather it all happened the way it should; and not have to worry about turning eggs, raising chicks indoors (oh we've done that a few times with week olds and I'm not keen on it again!) etc.

The silkies seem to sit well, but last lot that didn't hatch there had been an egg broken and it smelled terrible. When we were moving the brown hen yesterday, partly I must say because the nest reeked, there were three eggs that had been squashed completely. Definitely chicks developing, I think she just had too many eggs in there? They're getting shell grit in their diet and the eggs I bring in don't seem to have thin shells.

Friend of mine has 4 roosters she needs to get rid off - her 10 year old doesn't want to eat them having bought them herself as chicks, and knowing that I don't feel I can take them to put in the pot! They're 3 or 4 months now and yeah definitely showing rooster traits!

Its hard isn't it - so heartbreaking when the chicks don't make it; but so exciting and wonderful when some hatch out! We'll keep trying for the remainder of the year and see how much success we have.

Shadowgirlau
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Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2008 4:57 pm

Re: Chook breeding

Postby Shadowgirlau » Mon Sep 27, 2010 5:47 pm

It is heartbreaking when the hatch doesn’t work out as hoped. With us it was our first time incubating the eggs and as I don’t have an incubator myself as yet a friend said she would incubate them in hers for me. We both have chicken breeds which are not known for going broody and both of us are hoping to/or working towards building up our flocks so incubating seems to be the way to go. My friend incubates her chickens eggs, keeps the hens and sells them and/or their eggs and culls the roosters for meat/stock etc. I am planning on doing much the same though not on the same scale as she does.
Having used your old fridge for the eggs and also cheese I would still use it for cheese but would be inclined to give it a very good cleaning and sterilization.
I have a smaller coop and after I used it to house the chicks in for a month I then thoroughly cleaned it and painted the whole of the inside with sterilizer, literally poured the bleach all over everything then left it out in the sun to dry before bringing it inside and then oiling all the wood inside and out.
Elaine, your partially correct in what you assume. As the roosters age (same goes for the hens) the meat becomes tougher. I have been told around 10 months for hens but for roosters the best time is around 4 to 5 months and before they start “acting” as roosters with the girls because once they start doing “the deed” so to speak they release an enzyme which taints the meat or so I have been told. Have no experience of this myself so am only going on what I have been told so please don’t take it as gospel.
I am a member of a chicken forum but when I asked the experience chicken keepers this very question I was met with horrified gasps as none of them eat their chickens. :D


Kathleen
Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.
- John Lennon

Heidi
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Joined: Sun Aug 16, 2009 10:12 pm

Re: Chook breeding

Postby Heidi » Mon Sep 27, 2010 6:16 pm

Hi,
My story of chicken heartbreak was with my ADHD sussex hen. She went broody, put a dozen eggs under her, all was well, until day 17. She got off the nest and didn't go back to it until I realised it was too late. No perseverance that girl at all! Anyway, I was given a dozen bantam leghorn eggs from show stock, and I have them under two broody bantams. I candled them last night and they are all going well. They should hatch on Friday barring any disasters! They are destined for my sons school, and should be ready to hand over when when the school holidays finish. I do hope they work out.
Incidentally, the breeder I got the eggs off said that with incubators, you only get about 70% hatch rate, and they are notoriously temperamental, with each incubator having its only little quirks. He said they need tweaking until you get it just right, but still, there's a lot that fail, especially around day 18.
I've just finished three separate pens in my chook yard. One for the isabrowns and miscellaneous layers, one for the Australorp hens and rooster, and one for the Sussex hens and rooster. I'm hoping to get pure bred fertile eggs to put under the next broody hen.
Wish me luck!
Heidi

Shadowgirlau
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Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2008 4:57 pm

Re: Chook breeding

Postby Shadowgirlau » Mon Sep 27, 2010 6:44 pm

Heidi, I think our eggs failed due to multiple reasons. I ordered 24 fertile eggs, at candling 5 were found to be infertile (I think the breeder should have reimbursed me for those eggs as they were supposed to be fertile and that is what I was paying for) anyway, from the remaining 19 eggs, 12 hatched and 5 chicks died over a couple of days for unknown reasons. I spoke to the breeder and did quite a bit of research as well and it seems you shouldn’t move the chicks out of the incubator until the last egg hatches but my friend was constantly opening the incubator and taking the chicks out to put in the brooder box and this apparently can cause the chicks to catch cold and die and can also affect the humidity in the incubator which it probably did, causing the chicks to die in the eggs and stop the hatch. My friend also decided to move 7 eggs from the incubator and put them under one of her hens who had gone broody and the next day the hen got off the eggs and didn’t go back. Was an expensive first time for me.
I have read and been told that the incubation rates vary both with the type of incubator and the uses of same. Someone told me to get a couple of silkies as they frequently go broody and are good mothers, while I am sure that is the case I am not so sure that would suit my requirements so only time will tell which option we eventually settle for.
Yes natural methods are often the best just not really any more fruitful then the artificial means at times as both have their drawbacks.

Kathleen
Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.
- John Lennon

Hayhay
Posts: 389
Joined: Sat Jan 24, 2009 8:29 pm

Re: Chook breeding

Postby Hayhay » Tue Sep 28, 2010 12:56 pm

Wow good luck Heidi! Your set-up sounds great. Hope you get successful hatchings.

Kathleen sounds as if there was a lot of playing round with your eggs. Apparently once they hatch they should be left in the incubator for the first 24 hours, which should see through all the hatchings. Which kinda makes sense cos once the first eggs hatch under a broody hen, she sits for another day whilst the rest hatch; keeping it all humid and warm and moist in the process.

I'm a bit worried about our brown hen. The eggs should have hatched by now. DH candled them and there are chicks inside, but they really should have hatched by now!

Not sure about using the fridge for cheese again!!! I probably will but yeah will give it a SUPER good sterilisation!

Hayhay
Posts: 389
Joined: Sat Jan 24, 2009 8:29 pm

Re: Chook breeding

Postby Hayhay » Tue Sep 28, 2010 12:57 pm

Oh and I was just thinking Kathleen, you could always get just 2 or 3 silkie hens and keep them as your broody mothers for the other eggs???

Shadowgirlau
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Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2008 4:57 pm

Re: Chook breeding

Postby Shadowgirlau » Wed Sep 29, 2010 8:33 am

Oh and I was just thinking Kathleen, you could always get just 2 or 3 silkie hens and keep them as your broody mothers for the other eggs???


Umn? I have been thinking about it.

Kathleen
Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.
- John Lennon

Hayhay
Posts: 389
Joined: Sat Jan 24, 2009 8:29 pm

Re: Chook breeding

Postby Hayhay » Fri Oct 01, 2010 1:15 pm

Yeah I know me stating the obvious!

I think we'll have to take the remaining eggs from the brown silkie today. Might replace with some I've been collecting and start afresh.

Heidi
Posts: 582
Joined: Sun Aug 16, 2009 10:12 pm

Re: Chook breeding

Postby Heidi » Sun Oct 03, 2010 4:50 pm

Hi,
I had thirteen bantam leghorn eggs under two separate bantam langshan hens. Of the thirteen, one was infertile, and one stopped developing early on. Yesterday of the 11 remaining, I had 10 healthy chicks hatch! The one remaining egg had stopped developing probably mid incubation. An excellent hatch rate.
On the down side, my Australorp hen has had a prolapse, and despite my best efforts, it continues to protrude. So, she's about to be culled.

H.

minnie
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Re: Chook breeding

Postby minnie » Sun Oct 03, 2010 5:13 pm

Hi Heidi,

I know we used sugar on a prolapsed cow once (from a James Herriott book, very old way ;) ) and pushed it back and it worked great, she never prolapsed again.

It's sad if you have to cull her, hope something gives.
:)
Vicki

Shadowgirlau
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Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2008 4:57 pm

Re: Chook breeding

Postby Shadowgirlau » Sun Oct 30, 2011 10:20 am

As I am having a look around (trying to stay awake) I decided to revisit a couple of older posts. How is the chook breeding program's coming along those of you who have been doing this?

My hens started laying again after thier long winter "hiatus" only for one of them to go brrody with in 2 weeks and stop laying. I managed to secure a dozen fertile eggs only to have the hen eat the eggs after a few days. All gone so she then proceeded to steal all the other hens eggs and eat those as well so no eggs at all for me and needless to say she went off to meet her maker.

A couple of weeks later her sister went broody so road trip over to Kirup and collected a dozen new eggs. This time the broody hen has been sitting very happily on the eggs and they are due to hatch on the 5th Novemebr so not long now.
I hope these ones are a few weeks old before any of the other hens go broody as I will be making another road trip for another dozen fertile eggs for which ever one goes broody first.
Will then make a decision as to which hens I wont to keep and which I won't worry about.

Hope all your breeding troubles are lessening now that time has marched on a little and you have more experience.

Cheers
Kathleen
Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.
- John Lennon

minnie
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Re: Chook breeding

Postby minnie » Mon Oct 31, 2011 7:16 am

Oh Kathleen and 'egg eater'.... grrrrr... I thought I had one but didn't know which one, then I worked out that the shells were thinning and if there was an egg in the nest and another laid on top it cracked, well then it was over, the hen or all of them ate the eggs.

Since getting them onto shell grit and the shells getting better, we haven't had any problem whatsoever, thank goodness.

I'm making a big egg and bacon pie today as I've got two dozen eggs and they're laying about 2-3 per day (4 hens).
:D
Vicki

Shadowgirlau
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Re: Chook breeding

Postby Shadowgirlau » Tue Nov 01, 2011 10:05 pm

Glad to hear that you haven't had such a problem as we with egg eaters. My broody continues to sit on her eggs. Only 4 days now till we should see some chicks hatching. Very pleased.

I have 5 other hens and get between 3 and 5 per day. Doesn't take long to have a couple of dozen in the fridge even after I use them so I have started selling the eggs when I go down to Albany for quilting. This helps pay for their feed so I am happy.

Kathleen
Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.
- John Lennon

minnie
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Re: Chook breeding

Postby minnie » Wed Nov 02, 2011 7:21 am

Hi Kathleen,

I've never had an egg eater but I know friends who ended up with one, and it taught the others... that's the danger of them.

I haven't had any issue since they have their nest fixed up and the shells harder. I nearly put my thumb through one and thought it's time to get some grit into them, never had any issues at Hogarth but here obviously big changes, as evidenced by the cattle.

Years ago I worked for a short time in a poultry shed picking up eggs (fertile eggs for meat birds) and if you dropped an egg boy oh boy were those chooks quick to dive in and eat it.
:)
Vicki

Heidi
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Joined: Sun Aug 16, 2009 10:12 pm

Re: Chook breeding

Postby Heidi » Sun Nov 06, 2011 9:10 pm

Well, ages ago I purchased some mail order Australorp eggs with the view of hatching and breeding Australorps as a dual purpose chook.

Of the dozen I bought, only 6 were indeed fertile. Luckily, all six hatched, although two disappeared (probably rat) and one was eaten by the dog. Thankfully, the three remaining were actually beautiful pullets!!! So, I bought a rooster and had three hens, who started laying beautifully. Then, I found one had drowned in the cow water trough :cry: , one had to be euthanised for a prolapsed oviduct :cry: , and have one pullet remaining. The rooster, a fine fellow, had some type of neurological disorder, which would mean that I would find him laying on his back, unable to get back up. This started to occur more frequently, and even though he was fine after being "righted" (he would wobble off and get his balance back eventually), I had to euthanase him, as it was getting into Summer, and he was found baking in the sun for goodness knows how long. I thought a quick end was better than heat exhaustion if it happened again. So, that left me with one Australorp hen, still laying beautifully. She was taken by a fox the other night at 3am, however, I gave chase, made the fox drop her, and then nursed her back to health. I couldn't believe that the fox wasn't a bit frightened of me, so much so that I thought I was dealing with a wild dog at one point!

Now... I have just bought 9 Gold Laced Wyandotte 6 week old chickens, and been given a Silver Laced Wyandotte rooster. I found a Bellsouth 100 incubator with auto turner in the local consignment shop, and will eventually have a crack at breeding Wyandottes for eggs and meat.

Wish me luck!

Heidi

minnie
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Re: Chook breeding

Postby minnie » Mon Nov 07, 2011 7:16 am

Hi Heidi,

Forgive me, I can't stop laughing at the whole story... it sounds like the things that happen to my Mum or me! :lol:

As an example - My mother was going out the other night and picked up a fellow from up the road, who has some mental issues. Anyway she's driving into town and the fellow says "do you want to get rid of your rooster" and she said "no" and he said "I'll take him if you don't want him" and she said "what rooster what are you talking about" and he says " the one sitting on the back seat" and sure as eggs there's her rooster (who's about 15 years old, the oldest rooster you'd ever know) sitting quietly going for a ride. :lol: :lol: :lol: She had to turn around and take him home, imagine getting to town and someone seeing him perched on the back seat... :lol: :oops: He hopped out of the car and trotted off, just as quietly.

So picturing you chasing the fox and picking up the rooster on it's back just hits the funny nerve. ;)

But I do wish you luck this time!
:D
Vicki

Mojojo
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Re: Chook breeding

Postby Mojojo » Mon Nov 07, 2011 4:49 pm

Cracker of a story, damn foxes.

Oooh, Silver laced 'dotties' were one of my favourite breeds back when we had a few hundred 'exhibition' poultry - my Dad's hobby.
They were so nice and quiet. Not so many eggs from them from memory. I had one that use to be happily picked up and carried around, and would cluck away and I would cluck back, quite the conversation, if only I knew what I was saying...
~ Jo
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