Monday, August 16, 2010

Q & A: Concerning Fertile Myrtle - - -

Q:  We have little Banty rooster, Rodney, who LOVES the ladies...luckily we have about 18 hens and he has no favorites.  I was going to let one of my hens hatch eggs this year but it ended up that none of the eggs were fertile. Anyway, Rodney has been around for years and was pretty old when my friend gave him to me, so do they stop being able to fertilize after a certain age?
Fertile egg - note circular area near the center. photo courtesy of thank you!
A: Being perfectly honest, I don't know if there have been any studies published involving age of roosters in regard to fertility.  If the eggs are "turning up empty", there are many things that need to be considered.  Roosters need to be in prime nutritional condition, and I believe there are ROOSTER BOOSTERS on the market that would help increase fertility .  Also, various illnesses come into play that don't always display noticeable distress in each animal affected (avian infectious bronchitis is one such disease that comes to mind).  Roos can acquire epididymal stones that, of course, would effect fertility.  Heat induced sterility could be possible as well.
Coming up EMPTY?
Blank eggs aren't always the fault of the rooster. You don't mention if your hens are bantams too, or if they are Standard size hens.  That may play into the answer.  Hens generally prefer a gentleman of their own  size/age (they won't let a young cockerel near them for courting!). If he is a good deal smaller, he may be large enough to perform the actions but not be big enough to "close the deal"!  Also, if her cloaca feathers are too dense, that would cause some difficulties in performance.  Hens are more fertile at a younger age; the number of eggs they will ever lay is predetermined at the time they become young pullets, surprisingly enough.
Broody hen
Did your hen lay eggs and leave her nest?  Some hens just don't become "broody".  Broody hens will lay until a suitable size clutch is laid.  The eggs can be left unattended in the nest box and the embryos will continue a slow development, but the vital period when they need the steady warmth from the broody hen is 12 days after laying, and then the hen will sit on them and rotate the eggs as nature intends her to do.

I hope this helps a little!

Good Egg, Good Day!
The Chicken Wrangler


Carol............. said...

The hens are regular sized and actually the hen in question is the largest one in the mix. She sat on that nest and would all but hiss at me when I came near...LOL...she would not budge from the nest.

Hmmmm, Rodney is quite the "little man" maybe in more ways than one. (LOL again!)


Angela said...

That was a great post Chicken Wrangler! I learned a lot from it. I suppose that is something to think about if you have a smaller rooster.

Have a Great Week!

Rose said...

when you were sharing, i thought of humans who become less fertile with age. never knew the complex sex life of a rooster. rose

Chatty Crone said...

It helped it would help a lot more if I had a chicken and a rooster!

No kidding - a rooster booster - I want one of those.

Love, sandie