Submitted by Neil Armitage on Thu, 08/10/2017 - 20:22

Breeding starts with making sure the cockerels are doing their part and that you have fertile birds that are not overstretched, ie no more than 6 or 7 hens to a male . Select birds for mating that conform to the breed standard if you a planning to sell the eggs for hatching or to raise on.

I always feel a bit sorry for the hens as all they get is squashed and pulled ruffled feathers. Chicken foreplay seems to be chasing the hens around and grabbing their ruff feathers.

cockerel treading the hen

There is little to be done other than to let the chickens get on with what they do best and making sure they are well fed and in good condition. The best eggs to collect for hatching are those layed in the birds second spring. Second because the eggs are bigger in the second year which makes for stronger, larger chicks and fertility seems to be better in spring.

I can recommend removing the tip of the spur or blunting with a nail file as they can damage the hens. Make sure the cockerel has enough hens to keep him amused or he may literally shag the feathers off the hens and this can lead to sunburn and all sorts of troubles.