Author Topic: Fertility issues  (Read 3605 times)

Shelley Armstrong

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Fertility issues
« on: April 15, 2015, 09:39:54 PM »
We lost our best Silver LF rooster last year to a predator.  We've never had more than one rooster with our different colors of hens, meaning we had one silver roo with silver hens, one blue roo with blue hens, etc..  We have an 13 month old silver that is only at about 12% fertility rate.  We've been patiently waiting for the fertility to rise, but it's been the same for about 2-3 months.  We've already turned so many away that normally get chicks and hatching eggs from us...

Wondering how other breeders handle this issue.. Do you keep spare Roos or just skip a season and try again with a new one?

John W Blehm

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Re: Fertility issues
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2015, 09:46:27 PM »
Have two or more cocks per breeding coop, using one at a time, and giving one a break for a couple days. 

Mike Gilbert

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Re: Fertility issues
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2015, 09:56:39 PM »
Keeping just one rooster per variety can lead to all kinds of problems, predation being just one of the risks taken.   Then there is the possibility of infertility, loss from accidents or disease, eventual reduction in productivity/fertility/hatchability from too close inbreeding, etc.     One wise old timer said you should always keep three, because one will die, one won't be fertile, and that only leaves one to be useful.   I kept two LF Partridge Chantecler roosters this year.   Sure enough, one of them never fertilized an egg.   The other fertilized nearly 100% when he was used.   
Mike Gilbert
1st John 5:11-13

Tailfeathers

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Re: Fertility issues
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2015, 01:54:54 AM »
I would echo the above.  Always keep at least 1 backup male.  I'm not down to just two lines with my Am's yet but I am with my other 3 breeds (Barnevelders, Buckeyes, and Welsummers).  So I always keep at least 2 males for each line.  Well, make that almost always.  Last year I had 2 Barnie roosters.  One got taken by a coyote and Barnie, my old cockerel, was found dead in the breeding pen one day for no apparent cause.  I am now having to rebuild my lines by getting SC splits outta my RC project.  Fortunately, I have one really nice SC Blue Barnie that was a split off my Blue RC's.  But, no doubt, it'll be a lot longer road back to where I was than what I'd like. 

So I'd encourage you to take the 12% fertility, keep your flock closed, and go from there.  A couple other things you might try is to limit the # of hens/pullets you have with one rooster.  You didn't mention how many gals you have him trying to cover but having too many gals in with one male can lead to him only fertilizing the "easy" gals.  Also, keep him penned up by himself for a couple days and then put him on the gals.  (This might be a good time to do some single mating and establish a couple more lines to work on specific improvements.  Keep him penned by himself and let him store up some seed and then put him on a gal(s), rotating him from pen to pen between rest periods but still covering the gals at least ever 3-4 days.)  Lastly, you might wanna pluck some feathers from around his vent and the gals.  Give him a bit better target so to speak.
God Bless,

R. E. Van Blaricome
Seek Ye first the Kingdom of God, and all His Righteousness
- then these things shall be added unto you (Matt. 6:33)

Schroeder

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Re: Fertility issues
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2015, 08:37:06 AM »
I raise LF wheatens and blacks, and I struggle with the whole rooster management challenge.  I don't keep anything in individual pens, as I don't have a large barn.  To separate a male from the rest, I have to give him his own 4x6 ft coop. (I can set up 6 coops of various sizes, or remove doors to have fewer, larger coops.)   I keep one male with a group of females most of the year, but I simply don't have the room to keep spare males.  As it is, I have unintentionally evolved to all wheatens/no BW because of the unexpected loss of a BW cock, combined with issues with the only 2 BW hens I had kept.  The male had been separated from everyone else for several months when he up and died for no apparent reason.  This may sound crazy, but I'm convinced his isolation/loneliness had something to do with it.  I wish I had a solution to the dilemma.  Another building is out of the question.

I just had to get rid of 3 wheaten cockerels, leaving me with only 1, to make way for new hatchlings. A couple of them were very nice and I hated to part with them.   I'm looking for a good BW cockerel.

John W Blehm

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Re: Fertility issues
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2015, 09:28:00 AM »
Quote
don't have the room to keep spare males.
You don't need much room for the spare cocks when they are out of the breeding coops/pens, during breeding season.  Here are a couple units I have to house them.  One holds 4 birds, is on casters and rolls out from under some breeding coops.  The other is 8 feet long with 6 holes.

Russ Blair

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Re: Fertility issues
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2015, 07:47:03 PM »
I have something similar to John for individual markings, trios of bantams and I also use them for holding pen a for extra cockerels. I also try to keep 3 per variety due to some lessons learned the hard way. I have a extremely nice Black Bantam Cock and Splash Bantam cockerel that will be heading to the auction this weekend. Due to low or no fertility, I even hatched chicks out of the Black last year????? No room for duds here at my place no matter how nice they are
S.E. Michigan

Beth Curran

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Re: Fertility issues
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2015, 09:20:31 PM »
I have mine stacked in dog crates. As Jeff Foxworthy would say, you might be a redneck if...  ;)
Beth Curran

Shelley Armstrong

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Re: Fertility issues
« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2015, 11:05:31 AM »
Happy to see I'm not the only one who has had issues! Right now our silver roo only has 6 hens.  He does his job, so I'm guessing either he hasn't fully developed still, or he just has issues.  I did order some surplus chicks from John (thankfully) and will hope for a silver roo to fall in the mix for next year!  Hoping to add some good lavenders too.

We do have smaller pens out around our coops and run, so I guess a spare roo here or there or maybe some trios are definitely doable!

Thank you for the great advice!

Russ Blair

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Re: Fertility issues
« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2015, 12:43:23 PM »
Where are you located? I have an extra cockerel he isn't great, little small but I would give him too you if your close? It would have to be picked up as I have never shipped adults and ou post offices limited hours really hinder my ability to ship live animals😔
S.E. Michigan

Suki

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Re: Fertility issues
« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2015, 03:25:56 PM »
I have mine stacked in dog crates.
Me too!  I get the Amazon Warehouse deals and they can be very cheap.  the UPS man laughs when he delivers them.  I have even a chihuahua sized one for sick birds.  Gives great ventilation, but John's method does allow them to be stacked better because they can't "get to each other".  Right now to avoid that I put a cardboard board, from the boxing of said crate, in between.  They like to peck at it. 

Tailfeathers

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Re: Fertility issues
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2015, 04:15:42 AM »
Hmmm, this is odd.  This thread just showed up as an "Unread" post for the first time since I posted on the 16th?

Anyways, I thought I'd describe my set up.  I have 2 coops that are 8x10 and 10x12.  All my birds run together most of the year and roost in them.  Then I have a 6hx6wx10L chain link kennel, a 4hx6wx6L chain link kennel, two 4hx3wx8L wood & wire pens, and one 4hx4wx8L A-frame that reflects all to well my pitiful excuse for carpentry skills.

In the past, when breeding season kicks in, I have kept all the males in the one big kennel and let the females run free undisturbed until it's time to put them in the various pens.  This way the gals get plenty of time to clean out and I can even use the 2 coops as breeding pens too if I need to by single mating in showcages and then returning the males to the big kennel.  Or using one of the wood/wire pens on a rotational basis.  Plus I can keep collecting eggs from the coops when I rotate the gals in pens.  This only works of course when you can tell the eggs apart.  Like Welsummers and Ameraucanas.  This system also allows me to pull the roosters off the gals ever couple days or so which has prevented barebacks.

Unfortunately, this year because of a number of different reasons, I wasn't able to do that so I've currently got all the pens being used as breeding pens and I'm already thinking I've gotta change it to the above system because I'm getting barebacked females already and I'm only halfway thru my breeding plan for the year.
God Bless,

R. E. Van Blaricome
Seek Ye first the Kingdom of God, and all His Righteousness
- then these things shall be added unto you (Matt. 6:33)