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How many hens per rooster?
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Is it always better to keep more than one rooster for selection purposes?
It depends on the purpose of selection.
If you select chickens in order to maintain a good “genetic variability” it is better to keep more than one rooster per hen group.
In this way the chicks obtained from a hen will not be full siblings (offspring of the same hen and the same cock) but half siblings, i.e. offspring of the same hen but different roosters.
It is recommended to proceed as follows:
- to form the breeding group (roosters and hens according to the ethology of the breed) and incubate the eggs for 3-4 weeks;
- after this period, replace the roosters; however, the eggs to be incubated should not be collected until 3 weeks after the replacement of the cocks; these eggs should be incubated for a further 3-4 weeks;
- at the end of this period, change the cocks again: either the old group or a third group can be used;
- continue in this manner until the end of the breeding season, bearing in mind that at least three weeks must elapse after the replacement of the roosters before incubating the eggs.
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