mute rooster?

tracerracer(z7OR)September 24, 2008

May 2nd I got my girls (14). I had planned on 8, but w/ it not being 100% that I would only get girls, I 'padded' the number. 9/20 I gathered the first egg (soooo proud).....

Here's my dillema, I only wanted hens (girls only club). Please, I don't want the debate over fertilized/not eggs, just my choice I wanted not.....I started watching for developement of roosters after a friend who got hers 2wks before mine anounced that she had 2 that were starting to crow. I suspect 2 of my birds, but, don't KNOW that they are roosters. When I found 'spots' in 3 of the eggs I used last night, I KNOW that I have 1 (at least 1).....

But my birds are acting like they're under deep cover (very 007) no crowing, no visible riding.....(reminds me of a joke my pastor once told, like cats and Christians...You know they do it, you just never see it....)

Here comes the really stupid question, are you ready? How do I figure out which is the rooster(s)? I really enjoy my birds, but don't want roosters in the mix.....any suggestions? Thanks................T

Oh, here's the breakdown of my birds

4 Barred Rocks

4 New Hampshire Reds

4 Black Australorps

2 Araucanas

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sullicorbitt(z5 MA)

When you say you found a spot on the egg what exactly are you talking about?

It is very common to find "meat spots" little bits floating in the whites, also you can visibly see the erminal disc or blastodisc - a small, circular, white spot (2-3 mm across) on the surface of the yolk; it is where the sperm enters the egg. The nucleus of the egg is in the blastodisc. This can be seen in unfertilized eggs as well as fertile.

Also it is not uncommon to find blood spots in eggs, commercial egg producers have equipment to scan eggs to prevent all these little imperfections from being sold.

So I am not convinced you actually have a rooster, could it be one of the spots mentioned above? Certain breeds do mature slower than others and I believe Australorps are among the late bloomers but your roo's at 5 months would be considerably bigger in size and combs.

Hope this helps.


    Bookmark   September 24, 2008 at 7:21PM
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After I posted this morning I spoke w/ my Mom who has more experience than I (none) w/ chickens. She said that it wasn't uncommon to find what I see as a blood spot even in unfertilized eggs. That's what I see them as, in 2 eggs there was only 1 small, the 3rd had 2 small spots in the 'white'....Particularly when they first start layin'.

Funny you should point out the Australorps, 2 of them are the only ones layin' so far.....I suspected 1 of my Araucanas (of course I only have 2) and 1 of the reds....But like I said not a 'peep' ( or should I say 'doodle') to be heard.....So, if they can have spots unfertilized, maybe they are all still my girls. That makes me happy, I like them (not that I'm in anyway opposed to roastin' a chicken) I just like my girls.

One of my barred rocks will follow me like a dog. When I reach down to pet her, she hunkers down, like she's bracing for the worst. BUT, if I haven't reached to pet her in what SHE feels is a reasonable time frame she will run in front of me and hunker down.....Thanks

    Bookmark   September 25, 2008 at 12:34AM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

Like Sheila says, 'blood spots' or 'meat spots' aren't the sign of fertilization, they are simply a speck of blood from the hen that got caught in the egg as it was developing.

If you want to see how to easily tell a fertile egg from an infertile one, check the blastoderm (fertile)/blastodisc (infertile). See this page for how-to's and great pics:

Telling which birds are roos can be tricky, but there are some outward signs. My page on sexing older chicks is here, with tips on how to tell hens from roos going by behavior:

As far as feathers go, look for shiny, pointed cape (hackles, neck) feathers and similar shiny, pointed sickle-shaped feathers at the base of the tail, called 'side hackles'. A roos' tail will also have a large sickly curve to it, with shinier tail feathers. A larger, redder comb is also a tip off.

Failing all else, post some pics here and we'll all try to tell which are the fellas, if any! :)

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   September 25, 2008 at 12:42AM
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organic_flutterby(5 MO)

I have read that once a rooster mates with the hen that for the next several days the eggs can be fertile. Is that correct?

Another question (sorry to butt in): do hens sit on eggs that they know aren't fertilized?

    Bookmark   September 25, 2008 at 8:28AM
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Hi Organic Flutterby,

Once a roster mates with a hen they do lay fertile eggs for as long as 10 to 14 days. I cage breed seramas (for color)and may time I pair a roster with as many as 30 hens. Each hen has her one cage and the roster is moved three times a day from cage to cage. It is funny, after the first 2 or 3 days of moving the roster around-he will jump out onto my hand so he can go to the next. They are so smart-more than we think.

Some hens love to 'get down and broody' and will set on rocks if you let them let along infertile eggs. If you get a hen that wants to set and have no rosters-get some fertile eggs (try some golden pheasants eggs) from a friends flock or google 'Fertile eggs for Sale' you'll get all kinds of results. Then switch the eggs-let the new eggs sit out for 4-6 hour first so they won't be too cold and run the hen off the nest. I use this method years ago to add new kinds of birds to my flock (good for bringing new blood lines in also). Good luck.

Keep on Chick'en. For pics of my Feathered Friends visit:

    Bookmark   September 25, 2008 at 9:19AM
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Check for the beginnings of spurs growing on the bottom of their legs above the feet. There will be a little bump on their legs of birds your age.

You don't have too many and can check them all pretty quickly at night while they are roosting. This pretty much tells you that you have a rooster from what I understand. If not, then I have kill and eaten a lot of hens that I shouldn't have!

    Bookmark   September 25, 2008 at 12:10PM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

FYI, ALL chickens have that bump, hens and roos alike.

Some hens even have tiny spurs, 'mate' other hens and crow! I have two hens in my yard now that do it (except for the crowing) and have tiny, rubbery spurs--and their mother did, as well. Little weirdos... :)

The 'spur bump' is like nipples on humans--only 50% of those humans will have ones that actually function. :)

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   September 25, 2008 at 7:31PM
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I definately wouldn't say all chickens have the spur bump. I have over 90 chickens right now and only my 3 or 4 roosters have them.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2008 at 5:02PM
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I currently have 1351 chickens (Seramas-Golden & Silver Sebrights-Old English Bantams-Mille Fleur D'uccles-Silver-Gold-White-BB Red Phoenixes-Black Cochins-6 different colors of Silkies-White Rocks-Buff Orpington-Black Australorps-ISO Browns-Cornish Xs; 857 newly hatched chicks) almost everyone has spur bumps-several Phoenix hens have 1 to 1-1/2" spurs-usually on one leg. For the most part only the Roos develop the longer spur late in their first year. Most of the hens little nub spur spots become lost in thier developing leg scales. So be careful not to jump the gun in young pullets-what could it hurt to have a Roo among the young hens for them to admire.

Keep on Chick'en. If you would like to see some of my Feathered Friends

    Bookmark   September 26, 2008 at 10:07PM
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