Achieving Fertile Eggs
In the pursuit of that perfect fowl many fertility problems have developed. In the case of some breeds the quest for perfection has lead to them not being able to mate successfully naturally, with for an example many Pekin breeders now having to artificially inseminate their birds to achieve fertility. That perfect tennis ball shape certainly does not lend itself for a breeding pair coming together to achieve fertile eggs for hatch. However fertility problems are certainly not only restricted to Pekins but unfortunately occurring in just about all finely breed exhibition poultry. As breeders however, we can take steps to help with poultry fertility.
- Ensure all birds selected for breeding have good solid confirmation, including strong stable legs.
- Heavy feathered birds should have their vent areas clipped on male and females.
- Feed a formulated breeder ration when wanting to achieve fertility and include a vitamin supplement.
- Small mating numbers one cockerel two hens.
- Large fowls require good open pens with best results achieved if able to free range.
- Avoid use of perches, as many hens soon realise that jumping up on the perch is a perfect way to avoid the cock bird.
- Provide plenty of access to natural light.
- Try to plan for hatch in spring time the natural time for birds to breed.
With all these basic steps taken it is still possible to achieve infertile eggs. On many occasions people believing the cock bird to be infertile, it is my experience this is not always the case, with many pure breeds having only a small window of fertility each year.
If you are experiencing fertility problems with your chosen breed try speaking with a noted breeder of that breed as they will have years of experience that can be applied to that specific breed.