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Care and feeding of breeding hens

PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2018 4:51 pm
by Scarlet
Hi all. I've always bought in eggs for hatching, but for next Spring I'm thinking about hatching my own flock's eggs. They'd be a merry mix-up of Barnevelder, Wyandotte and Orpington - should be interesting!

I'm just wondering if I need to do anything extra to ensure peak fertility and healthy chicks. Do the hens need better feed or supplements? Should bum feathers be trimmed on the particularly fluffy ones?

The rooster is a 2-year-old Barnevelder and very keen. But he's got 10 hens to attend to, is that too many? I could coop him up with just a select few if necessary.

Re: Care and feeding of breeding hens

PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:49 pm
by Marina
10 hens is not too many for a Barnevelder rooster. He'll have favourites and fertility may not be 100% but that's just normal

As for feeding: if they are free ranging they'll get everyting they need to produce hatchable eggs.

If they are in a pen and solely dependent on you feeding them it will help if they get greens on a regular basis. Meat left-overs like chicken frames and the bony bits from chops also help. Make sure they get a good brand of pellets. Westons is the best brand I know of here in the South Island but some smaller mills produce good feeds for their local market. It's important that there is some meat and bone meal in the pellets - soy based feeds are not that good to produce healthy chicks if the parents get nothing else to eat.

A Barnevelder rooster should be athletic enough to mate with even the fluffiest female.

Can you tell the eggs your Barnevelder females lay from the other eggs? If yes - why don't you try to breed some more Barnevelders? They are quite rare. Crossbreds are bot rare.

Re: Care and feeding of breeding hens

PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 1:17 am
by Scarlet
That's a good point about the Barnevelders. I'll give it some thought. Thank you for all your advice, Marina. :)