The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Livestock => Poultry & Waterfowl => Topic started by: Eeyore77 on March 07, 2021, 07:52:31 pm

Title: Cockerel Fertility
Post by: Eeyore77 on March 07, 2021, 07:52:31 pm
I gave a cockerel from last years hatch to a friend as he wanted some chicks this year. He thinks the cockerel is infertile as the eggs he has set so far this year arenít fertile and heís not chasing the girls yet.
I advised that I think itís a bit early, what is your opinion?
Heís in Aberdeenshire near Alford and had several feet of snow a few weeks ago? The hens are penned up as per avian flu requirements, but it will still be pretty cold.
Do you think itís best to give him until April to prove heís not a dud? Heís an exchequer leghorn and was fairly chasing the girls when he was here, but as he was last years hatch there was no  more hatched later on in the year.
Title: Re: Cockerel Fertility
Post by: landroverroy on March 07, 2021, 08:38:51 pm
Not chasing the girls is not the same as being infertile! If the bird never mounts a female then it's fairly irrelevant whether he's fertile or not.
I would be wondering why, when he was chasing the females last year, he isn't interested this year. Are they older hens that are bullying and intimidating him? I would certainly give him a chance and maybe wait another few weeks until Spring is well and truly in the air and see if that makes a difference.
Title: Re: Cockerel Fertility
Post by: Richmond on March 07, 2021, 09:34:30 pm
It's light levels that influence breeding and not temperatures. As long as the pens aren't covered in heavy tarp that reduces the daylight they are getting then both the hens and cock should be functioning as normal. Maybe the cock is ill? Is he crowing?  How are the birds being kept? Muddy pens are a hotbed for all sorts of diseases so it's important that the birds stay as dry as possible - pallets, straw bales etc to perch on during the day - with an area to dustbathe in.
When you say "last year's hatch" is he Spring, Summer or Autumn hatched. It can make a difference. Both my Summer 2020 hatched stud cockerels are already fathers (as of mid Feb)  but appreciate I am bit further south than you! An Autumn hatched bird may struggle to get going but if he was chasing hens prior to you rehoming him then I would suspect an illness/husbandry issue.
Title: Re: Cockerel Fertility
Post by: chrismahon on March 08, 2021, 06:58:31 am
May simply be that the hens haven't accepted him as dominant yet. Sounds like he's a lot younger than them. I wouldn't expect anything to change until they are out of the pen. In my experience infertility is very rare as we've only ever had one case- all the others were down to dominance with the top hen of an established flock remaining top. Our solution has been to feed treats to him so he can call the hens over. When they see him as a food provider it all changes. We've just had to do this with our new young cockerel and it has all changed over a couple of months.
Title: Re: Cockerel Fertility
Post by: Anke on March 09, 2021, 06:43:59 am
Is the cockerel quite a different colour to the hens? I had a white Leghorn cockerel a while ago and he only mated the white and pale brown hens, but the Marans were not covered at all (the dark shelled eggs wer einfertile). I don't know if this was a dominance issue and who was not interested in whom, but I now keep to Maran type cockerels as most of my hens are Maran types....
Title: Re: Cockerel Fertility
Post by: Eeyore77 on March 09, 2021, 11:59:08 am
Thanks for the replies.
They are penned up for the Avian flu precautions and under thick tree cover from memory so could be a lack of light, not sure about his preferences for different breeds, but they have a mixture of different hen breeds. He was hatched out around the end of April so Iíd almost a year now.
Canít say either for crowing, mounting and dominance in the group as I canít head by yet for the Covid restrictions either to have a look.
He plans to give him a bit more of a chance and heís also planning to get another cockerel to see if he is more successful and will split off the group and see what the results are.
Thank you.