Fertility

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happy hen
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Fertility

Post by happy hen » Mon Apr 01, 2019 3:52 pm

I keep bantam faverolles, my cockerel is 3years old and free ranges with 6 hens. I usually have very good hatch rates.....until this year, I tried an early batch set end of Feb...only 1/18 fertile . Next lot candled yesterday at 10days ...only 4/26 !! . The only thing to have changed from previous years is their feed...they're now on copdock mill layers pellets. Could that make the difference ? I'm undecided as to whether I should change the feed or trim their fluffy bums :-)07 . I've bred faverolles for the past 6 years with no problems.
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Marigold
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Re: Fertility

Post by Marigold » Mon Apr 01, 2019 3:59 pm

The other thing that has changed in the past year is that, like all of us, your flock has got whole year older! How old are your hens? Maybe by 3 years old, the cockerel is beginning to fire blanks?
You could try breeders' pellets, (Google Breeders Pellets for Chickens)
- or feed tonic supplements, or just add extra protein to their diet?
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Re: Fertility

Post by MrsBiscuit » Mon Apr 01, 2019 6:20 pm

There is a good chance the cockeral is getting less fertile. I try to use yearling cockerals on hens that have been through a proper moult, ideally 18 months -3 years old.
happy hen
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Re: Fertility

Post by happy hen » Mon Apr 01, 2019 7:49 pm

Thanks, I did wonder ..3 doesn't seem very old. If I ever manage to hatch any chicks! i shall keep a cockerel
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Marigold
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Re: Fertility

Post by Marigold » Tue Apr 02, 2019 9:25 am

Comparable physiology to hens, whose most fertile and productive laying days are over by the time they're 3, i.e, beginning their 4th year.
If you want to get a new cockerel for breeding purposes, you might consider a new one from outside your flock, to import new genes. Many people are only too happy to rehome a spare home-reared surplus cockerel. Whereabouts do you live? People on here might be able to help, or to know someone with bantam faverolles.
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chrismahon
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Re: Fertility

Post by chrismahon » Tue Apr 02, 2019 10:18 am

Breeding from older hens- over 3 years, is my preference as undesirable traits have surfaced by then and can be excluded. Our last breeding was with 6 year old Wyandottes. However cocks over two can be problematic in fertility and our 18 month old had to be replaced as only 1 egg in 50 was fertile. His 9 month old replacement gave us 12 from 12, but introductions have to be managed carefully as older hens are likely to initially reject the youngster.

Our boy was initially rejected completely but was accepted after feeding him treats which he could call the hens over to. When the hens grasped that this boy was a provider and not just a young upstart he was accepted.

Good idea to find a breeder with spare cockerels.
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Marigold
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Re: Fertility

Post by Marigold » Tue Apr 02, 2019 10:52 am

Good idea about how to introduce a new young cockerel, Chris.
Do you find that shell quality is thinner and thus less resilient to the stresses of hatching in older hens? I agree that hens should be at least in their second laying season, as then they will be laying larger eggs than pullets in their first year, consequently there will be more food and space available in the shell for the growing chick. I would have thought any defects, either in health or conformation, would be evident by the second year in lay, and by the third laying season, other problems might be creeping in.
Happy Hen, if your birds are now 3 years old, does this mean they're now in their 4th laying/breeding season?
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Marigold
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Re: Fertility

Post by Marigold » Tue Apr 02, 2019 11:03 am

As you did enquire about Copdock Mill Layers Pellets, I looked them up, and they do seem to me to be less than optimal in composition for a breeding flock, with a lot of soya, GM ingredients and synthetic colouring. I don't know whether a change to another brand might be helpful. There was a long thread on here last year where we discussed various brands, that you might find interesting. See viewtopic.php?f=3&t=10525

COPDOCK MILL RANGE LAYERS PELLETS

A complete feedingstuff for laying hens from 3 weeks prior to point of lay to depletion.

Analytical Constituents:
Crude Oil and Fats 4.5%, Crude Protein 17.0%, Crude Fibre 4.0%, Crude Ash 13.5%, Moisture 14.0%, Sodium 0.2%, Total Copper 19 mg/kg, Calcium 4.0%, Phosphorus 0.5%, Lysine 0.70%, Methionine 0.36%

Composition:
Wheat, Hipro Soya Bean Extract (GM#2), Barley, Calcium Carbonate, Wheatfeed, Sunflower Extract, Blended Vegetable Oil, Vegetable Oils, Dicalcium Phosphate, Sodium Chloride, Dl-Methionine, Antioxidant, Layers Supplement. (GM#2) produced from genetically modified material, vegetable oil contains BHA and ethoxyquin as antioxidants.
THIS FEED CONTAINS PERMITTED YOLK PIGMENTERS LUTEIN, ZEAXANTHIN AND CITRANAXANTHIN TO ENHANCE YOLK COLOUR.
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Marigold
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Re: Fertility

Post by Marigold » Tue Apr 02, 2019 11:10 am

For comparison, here are the details about Allen & Page Smallholder layers pellets, which do come in a small pellet size suitable for bantams.

Composition:
Wheat, Wheat Feed, Beans, Calcium Carbonate, Linseed, Maize Gluten, Maize, Grass Meal, Di-calcium Phosphate, Salt, Seaweed, Marigold flowers, Yeast, Fructo-oligosaccharides, Mannan- oligosaccharides

Additives (per kg)
Vitamins:
Vitamin A (3a672a): 5.5k iu; Vitamin D3 (3a671) 3k iu; Vitamin E (3a700) 20mg

Trace elements:
Iron: 10mg (Iron (II) Sulphate Monohydrate) (3b103)
Zinc: 20mg (Zinc Oxide) (3b603)
Manganese: 40mg (Manganous Oxide) (E5)
Iodine: 0.05mg (Calcium Iodate Anhydrous) (3b202)
Selenium: 0.15mg (Sodium Selenite) (E8)

• Smallholder Range only include natural ingredients such as Marigold leaf for lovely golden yolks and a deep rich taste.
• Smallholder Range only source identity preserved (Hard IP) Non-GM ingredients.
• Smallholder Range feeds are made from natural ingredients which can result in the feed changing colour slightly through the seasons.
Establishment No: GB226 0005 UFAS 1

And Dodson & Horrell layers;

Nutrient Analysis:

Protein 16.0%
Oil 3.5%
Fibre 3.5%
Ash 12.5%

Ingredients
Wheat, extracted sunflower, limestone flour, wheatfeed, dehulled soya bean
meal, distiller's wheat grains, vegetable oil, vitamin/trace mineral premix,
diacalcium, phosphate, salt, L-Lysine, sodium bicarbonate, pumpkin squash,
broccoli, spinach, tomato, marigold.
Available in Sizes - 5KG, 20KG,
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chrismahon
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Re: Fertility

Post by chrismahon » Tue Apr 02, 2019 12:32 pm

Infertility could easily be down to a vitamin deficiency and as Marigold shows the Copdock stuff is decidedly inferior to the aforementioned. My preference has always been for Allen & Page, primarily because the pellets are small. In the case of our cock he was given 2 mL cod liver oil with multivitamins and all the hens had their bottom feathers trimmed- made no difference. His replacement was an awkward decision as the new boy lived North, 6 hours drive away, but the fertility of Wyandottes in the Southwest was inherently very low and most cocks had been taken by foxes. So we decided to rectify the situation and 6 very fertile cockerels were the result. All the show breeding cocks in this region are now decedents of our English/ French flock. With Wyandottes I read (in one of my old books) the fertility secret is to cross the rose comb with a straight, the result being a rough surfaced rose, that being a visible guide to genetic fertility levels I believe- our original had a completely smooth comb and the new boys is covered in bobbles. Apparently occasionally a straight comb is thrown up in breeding and should be retained.
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