Livestock

How To Get Your Chickens To Mate

It happens naturally right? The Rooster sees the hen and it just happens all the time? Well, Yes! But not all the time. Roosters lose interest in mating with same hen repeatedly. Also, hens get bored with mating the same rooster. So, how do you keep chicken copulation going? How do you ensure that your flock is growing steadily?

Why you should have 1 rooster for every 10 hens

According to research, the roosters sperm reduces progressively when it continues to mate with the same hen. However, as soon as you introduce a new female, the rooster starts to secrete more sperm for his new lover. It’s important to know though that hens are not large enough to fight off a sexual advance. They can however, squirt back semen on a rooster after copulating, which lasts approximately two seconds.

Now, because roosters can control how much sperm they release during copulation, they can mate with hens as often as they like.  They distribute their sperm strategically. One strategy is judging the reproductive value of the female. Roosters judge a female’s reproductive value by the size of her comb. Hens with large combs tend to produce lots of large eggs. So, fertilizing these eggs is like hitting the jackpot.

The chicken copulation process

The chickens sex organs are like other animals. A rooster doesn’t have a penis. If you’ve seen one chicken butt with an exterior opening called a cloaca, you’ve seen them all.  However, the organs stay inside that butt except during the very short period of mating. The rooster mounts the hen which has no choice but to stoop to take his weight. He then holds her by her feathers on her neck just behind the head.  He then tucks his tail under her’s passing sperm to fertilize the egg through the oviduct.

A hen releases an egg every day or so. One mating from a healthy rooster leaves enough sperm to fertilize each egg for up to a week. The egg then travels back down, where it receives the egg-white and the other membranes. The shell is then deposited shortly before the hen lays the eggs.

Each egg takes about 24 hours from the release of mature ova to laying the egg. This egg is soft until it hits the air, and then it calcifies or hardens. Each hen lays her egg a little later each day until she skips overnight and resumes laying early in the morning again.

Important factors to consider

  • Your hens won’t only produce other hens. 50% will be male chicks. Unfortunately, male chickens will not increase your flock. In fact, they eat larger amounts of food and will continuously fight with other roosters. So you’ll have to find a market to sell off some of your roosters as you’re growing your flock.
  • Roosters are very noisy animals. So, if you’re not on a farm, your neighbours could start complaining.
  • Always monitor the number of eggs your chickens are laying. This will give you a sign to either add more roosters or get rid of the hen.

Plan to rear chickens for eggs? Here are a few basics…

15 thoughts on “How To Get Your Chickens To Mate

  1. Very educative indeed. I would like to know this. At what age does a chicken stop being fertile and how can one know when to cull off?

    1. Chickens usually don’t simply “stop” laying eggs when they get to a certain age, but they will lay fewer as they get older. You can then decide whether to slaughter or not. With regards to roosters, once it starts getting up around 5 you often start seeing a reduction in fertility / viability of eggs which gets more pronounced as the rooster continues to age.

  2. I am interested in rearing village chickens as a business. I am also in need of the email for the UNZA- School of Agriculture for details regarding supply, availability of spawn(mushroom seed) and prices

    1. Good day F M Ndashe, Kindly call +260-21-1-295220. They should be able to assist you with contacts for the university’s agric department.

  3. Greetings,
    I have heard of people giving moringa powder to chickens as a way to enhance their health. What would be your advise.

    1. Moringa provides some necessary vitamins, minerals and oxycaretenoids and also improves egg production. However, these can cause yellow colour of broiler skin, shank and egg yolk. You can use it in limited amounts due to the presence of fibre and antinutritional factors though its best to speak to your vet about acceptable quantities.

  4. The article is very educative,
    I am a small scale poultry farmer.
    I am planning on hatching my own chicks..
    I would like to know where I can get fertilized eggs and prices if possible..
    I would also like more information about the process and also what eggs to get to hatch broilers for meat and also also good and bigger breed of village Chickens..and any business advise..

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