Joined: Feb 04, 2010
Location: PA-Zone 6
Right now I only have 6 hens, but somewhere down the line we might get a rooster. A few questions:
Since I have 3 different breeds I assume any offspring that comes about will be a mix breed?
If I want some to breed and some for eggs in a small space, how do you manage that scenario?
If a rooster is around hens and they are laying eggs; how do you handle the egg collection and consumption?
Im assuming that all of the eggs are getting fertilized and I know you can eat them, but do I have to do anything special to them to prevent them from turning into chicks? I really don’t want to put my wife through cracking an egg and finding a baby bird, that would push her over the edge
Joined: May 24, 2010
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
I find natural crosses to be very healthy and low-maintanence.
The hen's characteristics are already known, since they're a 'breed', so I'd get a rooster who's offsrpring will strenthen your flock. A meat/dual-purpose breed rooster crossed over egg-laying hens works well. Remember that within one generation he'll be breeding with his daughters. Some people find this isn't an issue (genetically), but I like to change roosters periodically. Rotating them around chicken keeping friends is practical. I also get bored with the chicks looking the same. For example, my mum recently had a buff orpington rooster. Handsome, docile and a bit thick. Perfect. (I will not make any weak jokes here!) After a generation or so, the rooster's genetics dominated and there was a majority of handsome, docile and thick chickens.
Do you eat, or plan to eat the birds or is breeding just to keep up the layers? Consider that you'll get approximately 50% male chicks, so you'll need a disposal strategy!
Fertilised eggs have a tiny white spot in the white. Until a hen goes broody and sits tight on a nest for some time, there'll be no chick development.
If you collect eggs every day, there is no risk of any embryo development. Even if a hen is broody, an embryo takes a while to develop. There isn't much you can do about breeding some and not breeding others, unless you separate them. Sometimes a broody hen will jump off the eggs to eat or drink and then sit on a different clutch of eggs when she returns, or other hens may lay a new egg in the nest when they get up.
What do you mean about collecting and consuming eggs when a rooster is around? Are you concerned about aggression or egg development? If your rooster is aggressive, get rid of him...And unless you're house is crazy hot you needn't worry about the eggs.