It's time for another edition of the "Breeding My Flock" series! I know you are super excited to hear about my plans for mating the chickens, right? ;)
Unfortunately we lost a few hens recently to a predator that I was planning to breed, so I'll have to make due with the ones we have left. I'm still a little saddened by the loss of my favorite sweet hen. I have decided to keep Pennyroyal, Rosemary, and Lavender in the coop together with Reggie for a week, followed by those same three hens in the coop with Cori for a week.
I'm breeding both roosters because both carry good traits and Cori actually has better coloring and a straighter tail. My hens are fairly good in terms of the Standard, but could stand to have less "smut" in their coloring and yellower beaks. My cocks in this flock need a lot more work: they need more of a U-shaped back, longer and fuller tails, less beefy combs, and need to be smaller overall in weight.
I'm not sure how this will go down--because it will be one heck of a task to get the other two hens and rooster out while keeping the ones I want in. Additionally, Reggie is going to FREAK OUT when he sees Cori in there with his ladies and he can't get in to "save them." I admit though, it is rather comical to see a rooster in distress and carrying on about protecting his girls from another rooster--you will never see them run and fly so fast! But very chivalrous and sweet.
|the mounting process in action- cue Marvin Gaye sexy music....|
|the poor hen gets pulled on at the head and clawed by chicken feet on her |
back, but it's how the rooster holds on :)
After the eggs have been laid for each week, I will mark them with a sharpie to know which ones I need to leave in the coop for setting.
Next comes the hard part, I must be patient and hope that a broody hen will see that nice big pile of eggs and sit on them. It may take a couple of tries before one "sits tight." She may sit for a few days, but then become tempted by treats or fresh air and get up off her nest. But once a hen "sits tight," new chickies will hatch within about 3 weeks!
I sure hope I have a hen who wants to mother soon in my flock!