Chapter 12

Mating Your Chickens


Bullet Discovering how to sex chickens

Bullet Checking out the reproductive system

Bullet Looking at methods of mating and hybridizing chickens

When you experience the joy of chicken ownership, you may decide you want more chickens. What better way to get them than to produce your own? However, successfully mating chickens and producing chicks isn’t as easy as some may assume.

Keep in mind that many modern breeds of chickens won’t even sit on their own eggs — the desire to raise a family has been bred out of them. Therefore, you need either an incubator to produce new chicks or a hen from a breed that still has the brooding instinct. (We discuss incubation, both artificial and natural, in Chapter 13.)

In this chapter, we discuss mating chickens — how to choose mates, how to prepare chickens for breeding, and how to recognize mating and reproductive behavior.

Rooster or Hen?

You probably won’t be surprised to hear that, to mate chickens, you need birds of both sexes. If you can’t keep a rooster for some reason, you won’t be able to raise any chicks from your hen’s eggs, no matter how hard you try.

For some people, determining whether they have both sexes ...

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