When it comes to gamefowl breeding, most of the work is done by the rooster. However, egg and chick management are certain things that a breeder can control for an overall smoother process.
Here are 5 Breeding Tips for Egg & Chick Management:
Tip #1: Establish clear goals for your breeding program
A breeder can easily evaluate the success of certain matings and bloodlines when they have a gamefowl breeding goal that can be measured or is quantifiable. That’s why it’s super important to have clear goals and objectives right at the beginning of the breeding program. These are usually measured in terms of the winning percentage of the offspring (progeny testing).
It goes without saying, but when choosing breeding stock, the birds must be healthy and must have decent temperaments. They must perform desirable characteristics so you can be at the top of your game!
Tip #2: Control the Rooster to Hen ratio
The commonly accepted ratio is 1 rooster for every 10 hens. Be that as it may, the “golden ratio” for your flock will depend on your number of hens and which particular breeds you have.
For instance, lightweight and active breeds like Leghorns and Fayoumis can handle a higher rooster to hen ratio (12:1). This is because these breeds are known to be energetic and therefore will be able to service more hens. Meanwhile, mellow breeds like the Silkies and Orpingtons should have a lower ratio (6:1) so the rooster may have favorable circumstances to service his flock appropriately.
You might be concerned about competition between the roosters. Nonetheless, they can coexist just fine as long there are enough hens. Plus, having more than one rooster can increase the fertility rate in your breeding flock.
Tip #3: Monitor the rooster’s behavior
Some roosters are more eager than others, which can result in unintentional physical harm for the hens. If the hens appear to be losing feathers or are looking a little bit stressed out, then consider stopping the breeding program for the time being; maintaining the hens’ physical and mental health is important for the breeding process. After she has recovered, then go ahead and introduce a different rooster.
Tip #4: Egg management for fertilization
One can tell that breeding is a success through candling. Candling is when you go into a dark room and shine a bright light underneath the large end of the egg. If the egg is fertile, then there should be a dark spot around the middle of the egg with a couple of spider-like veins beginning to form around it. If not, then all you’ll be able to see is the shape of a yellow yolk without any signs of embryo or veins.
Tip #5: Provide newly hatched chicks necessary care and attention
After the eggs have hatched, the chicks cannot be kept in the incubator very long. For successful chick management, move them to a brooding area which is a key element to their survival and growth during the early stages.
An ideal brooding area must be clean, spacious, and safe, away from any potential predators and cold drafts. A slip-resistant or “grippable” and absorbent floor is also key unless you want them to develop a variety of problems in their legs and feet. They must also have easy access to chick feeds and water.
For more information about gamefowl breeding, click here.