How Do Chickens Mate?

This article covers things you never wanted to know about rooster reproductive anatomy and chicken mating, including up-close and personal photos. Soon you will be well equipped to impress friends and business associates at cocktail parties with an alarming amount of information about chicken copulation.

Some roosters dont even bother trying, theyll simply take charge of their mate, but the more romantic types have a few go-to moves they rely upon to dazzle the ladies, which can include any of the following: Tidbitting Picking up actual or pretend morsels of food while calling the hen over to investigate is the oldest trick in the book.

With apologies to Hasbro and my daughters whose Play DohI pirated for this illustration, I present you with a rudimentary model of the rooster reproductive system. The rooster gets into position, which resembles a piggy-back ride, standing on her back, holding her neck feathers with his beak and steadying himself with his feet. The hen crouches down, spreads her wings to the side for balance and lowers her tail in a position I call the submissive squat .

How does a rooster impregnate a chicken?

A rooster often employs a type of foreplay by prancing around the hen and clucking before mounting her. The transfer of sperm happens quickly without the penetration normal in mammal mating. The cloaca, or vent, of the male and female touch and sperm are exchanged.

How many times a day does a rooster mate?

In the mating season a rooster can mate numerous times each day ( between 10-30 times a day ).

Do chickens need a mate to lay eggs?

Hens will lay eggs with or without a rooster. Without a rooster, your hens’ eggs are infertile, so won’t develop into chicks. … Owning a rooster so that you can breed your chickens is generally not a good idea. In allowing your hens to have chicks, you will end up with several more roosters.

Why do hens shake after mating?

Actual mating then occurs. The rooster will dip his tail to the side of the hen’s tail and spread his tail feathers so that their cloacae meet — the ‘cloacal kiss. … The rooster then hops off, the hen shakes out her feathers and they each go about their business as though nothing has happened!

How Do Chickens Mate? Some surprising aspects of chicken mating make it possible for families to keep a few hens in suburban and urban areas and enable monstrous operations to produce commercial eggs at low cost.

Instead they coat their feces with uric acid that exits their body through the cloaca as moist chicken poop. Not producing liquid urine allows birds to have lighter bodies than mammals of similar size.

There are many cities and towns that will allow you to keep chickens both for pets and as a source of food. You can generally order an entire live crate of cute, fuzzy little chicks to raise, and that is how a suburban hobby farmer gets started.

These roosters will take a hen by extreme force (i.e., the chicken equivalent of rape and assault!). Chickens are birds, which means that fertilization occurs inside the females body before she lays the eggs.

However, in the animal world, fertilization of eggs often occurs outside of the body, as is the case with fish or insects. Essentially, there is one entrance and exit hole through which birds and chickens urinate, defecate and reproduce. He rapidly shakes his behind for a few seconds to transmit the sperm to fertilize the eggs that are currently developing inside the hens ovaries.

Additionally, an older rooster may not be able to grab and hold on to a hen during mating long enough to do the job correctly. They will have major cockfights in the coop to gain dominance, too, with the winner getting total freedom and breeding rights. Ergo, considering purchasing a couple of different adult hens if you are going to start your flock with a breeding pair.

On the other hand, raising a mating pair of chicks, particularly if they are different subtypes of chickens and therefore not likely to be brother and sister, can work for you too.

So, what exactly is involved in getting that egg fertilized? Its more complicated and devious than you might think sit back and delve into romancing the hen.

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HAPPY GRUBS – ULTIMATE MIXTURE OF WHOLE, HALF, AND POWDER OF BSFL FEED – CHICKEN FEED MIXTURE – 50X-80X More Calcium Than Meal Worms – NON-GMO, Molting Treatment, Great For Wild Birds, Reptiles, Ducks Egg Armor For Your Girls Eggs – Mixture of whole, half, bits AND POWDER of black soldier fly larvae that you can mix in your chicken’s feed. This behavior may not lead directly to mating at the time, but the hen will remember his attentiveness; he is creating an impression. Any other roosters that hang around in the hope of enticing some hens will be chased off, and if necessary, chest-bumping and fighting may ensue.

But at around three years old, a rooster starts to feel his age and maybe challenged by younger and stronger birds. The secondary boys will resort to all sorts of tricks to lure a female into a tryst. The rooster dance entails dropping one wing to the ground and shuffling around the hen he selected to mate with.

The wing facing the hen will be dropped to the ground while he dances around her, showing his interest. In most cases, the rooster is gentle enough for the hen to tolerate the breeding rituals roughness. Keep an eye on this fella, and make sure your hens dont get beat up by him over time.

In nature, this means the associated behaviors of finding a suitable mate, nest making, laying, and sitting on her eggs until they hatch. Rhode Island Reds are not renowned for broodiness, but this is the second year that I have had two of them as mothers and they do a fine job. Hens are fickle on occasion, accepting food and tidbits from any rooster but will not necessarily mate with any of them!

If she is compliant with mating, she will squat or crouch, dropping her head and body lower and spreading her wings slightly to indicate receptiveness. Once the hen is sitting on her eggs, she will lose all interest in mating and chase off the rooster if he advances to her. So, although taking over the nest-box may not be what you desire, its best to leave her there until she has hatched the chicks, then move them.

In addition, a broody box will ensure they arent trampled in the coop or attacked by the other hens. Once the mating is done, he will usually move away while she shakes her feathers out and resumes normal business. A rooster doesnt have a penis, just a tiny bump called a papilla inside his cloaca.

Thats an awful lot of little swimmers, but the mechanics of getting the sperm into the hens cloaca are tricky. This stored sperm is viable for four to five days and is quite capable of fertilizing successive eggs. However, the usual array of damage is thankfully minor, such as feather loss and breakage.

Usually, these are fairly superficial and can be easily treated, but sometimes his claws can do significant damage to the skin, ripping it open and causing problems. Deeper wounds may need to be stitched, and in these cases, you should consult your veterinarian. With a rooster causing these types of injury on several hens, it may be best to lock him up until the girls heal.

Then, when he is released, monitor his behavior if he is consistently rough and causing damage, it might be time to think about another rooster. Usually, the pressure applied to the comb will stop the bleeding after several minutes. Using a small pad or tissue, pinch the damaged comb between your fingers firmly.

Some of the fluffier breeds, such as Wyandottes and Orpingtons can have difficulty collecting the sperm because of all that fluff. One quick and simple solution is to trim away much of the bum fluff so her cloaca is more accessible to the male. It doesnt look stunning, and if shes a show bird, she wont be on the stage anytime soon, but if you want baby chicks, this is the easy way to go.

Happy Coop Door – Weatherproof Automatic Chicken Coop Door Open/Close with Timer/Light Sensor, Predator Resistant Self-Locking Gears, Protection Sensor Plug and Play Design – Takes 10 minutes to install the door Up to 6 Months of Power with AA batteries – You don’t need an outlet for the door to work, it functions on 4 AA batteries or a 6V battery (adapter included) Protection Sensor – Built-in sensor when closing to detect when there is an obstruction under the door to prevent injury to chickens Protects Chickens From Predators – Due to it’s design, the notches the gear uses to open and close the door act as a self locking mechanism that prevents predators from breaking into the chicken coop. With this your chickens are protected and you can enjoy fresh eggs in the morning Door Will Open if Hell Freezes Over, Rain or Shine – Our weatherproof design has been tested to work during rainy weather as well as extreme cold temperatures as cold as 5F HAPPY GRUBS – ULTIMATE MIXTURE OF WHOLE, HALF, AND POWDER OF BSFL FEED – CHICKEN FEED MIXTURE – 50X-80X More Calcium Than Meal Worms – NON-GMO, Molting Treatment, Great For Wild Birds, Reptiles, Ducks Egg Armor For Your Girls Eggs – Mixture of whole, half, bits AND POWDER of black soldier fly larvae that you can mix in your chicken’s feed.

Chickens Mate and Hen Behavior

When the springtime rolls around, the hens’ hormones go into top gear. In nature, this means the associated behaviors of finding a suitable mate, nest making, laying, and sitting on her eggs until they hatch.In many hen breeds, this instinct has almost been bred out of them, so they don’t waste time and energy in being broody.However, there are still many good breeds that will happily turn broody during the summer months.Also, it’s worth mentioning here that not all hens run true to their expected broodiness.Rhode Island Reds are not renowned for broodiness, but this is the second year that I have had two of them as mothers – and they do a fine job.The first part of mating is finding a suitable male. If there is only one rooster for the flock, then he is a lucky boy!However, if there are more than a couple of roosters, then the mating game can get devious and nasty on occasion.However, the females aren’t easily fooled.Research has shown that hens can compare roosters – who has the best comb and shiniest feathers?She will choose to mate with the fellow that fits the specifications she has in mind.Apparently, a bright red comb and wattles really do it for the girls!The hens also judge the suitors’ ability to find food, care for the flock and treat the hens well. Therefore, hens may express a preference for mates based on not only their looks but abilities.Hens are fickle on occasion, accepting food and tidbits from any rooster but will not necessarily mate with any of them!Although one rooster may be the ‘alpha male,’ if a hen does not like him, she will not be compliant with the mating ritual and may never mate with him at all.If she is compliant with mating, she will squat or crouch, dropping her head and body lower and spreading her wings slightly to indicate receptiveness.You can see this behavior sometimes. For example, if you reach out to touch a hen – she will squat for you.Once the hen is sitting on her eggs, she will lose all interest in mating and chase off the rooster if he advances to her.This behavior will continue until she releases her brood, anywhere from 6-10 weeks on average.After that, the rooster’s advances will not be welcome, and she will let him know in no uncertain way.Our backyard hens are spoiled in that they already have nesting spots available – ready-made and safe.So, although taking over the nest-box may not be what you desire, it’s best to leave her there until she has hatched the chicks, then move them.If you can move them to a broody box once they have hatched, she is unlikely to desert them.In addition, a broody box will ensure they aren’t trampled in the coop or attacked by the other hens.It also ensures they receive the correct protein intake for growth and development.

The Mechanics When Chickens Mate

Once the rooster has hopped aboard and has himself well situated, he will dip his tail down and to the side of the hens’ tail and deliver a ‘cloacal kiss.Once the mating is done, he will usually move away while she shakes her feathers out and resumes normal business.So, what is a ‘cloacal kiss,’ I hear you ask?A rooster doesn’t have a penis, just a tiny ‘bump’ called a papilla inside his cloaca. It is via this papilla that the sperm is delivered to the hen.A rooster may mate between 10-30 times per day, depending on his ability and enthusiasm. His ‘sperm load’ is greater in the morning when he can deliver anywhere betweenThat’s an awful lot of little swimmers, but the mechanics of getting the sperm into the hens’ cloaca are tricky.At the same time that the rooster delivers the sperm in the ‘kiss,’ she must evert her cloaca/vent so that the sperm are directed up to the waiting eggs.Once inside the oviduct, the sperm will go on to fertilize the ‘egg of the day.Sperm will also be collected in ‘sperm pockets’ located within the walls of the oviduct.This stored sperm is viable for four to five days and is quite capable of fertilizing successive eggs.

Common Problems When Chickens Mate

Sometimes roosters can be a little rough on the ladies. However, the usual array of damage is thankfully minor, such as feather loss and breakage.Loss of feathers and red, irritated bald spots are a good indication that the hen is a ‘favorite.’ Often, she will have a small bald area on the top of her head just behind the comb.This is where he will grab her feathers in his beak.The area that usually suffers the worst is the back, where his claws can rake over the feathers and skin, sometimes causing skin abrasions.Usually, these are fairly superficial and can be easily treated, but sometimes his claws can do significant damage to the skin, ripping it open and causing problems.I use a salve containing comfrey and plantain to soothe and heal reddened areas, but if there are open areas, the skin should be treated with antibiotic ointment as needed.If you notice your hens starting to get a little ragged over their backs, you can fit them with a ‘saddle.’ These items certainly do save the hen some ‘wear and tear’ on her exposed skin.A saddle is simply a barrier between the feathers and the rooster’s talons. It is fitted under the wings to keep it in place. It certainly cuts down on damage to the hens’ back from overly amorous roosters.The skin under the saddles should be checked and treated daily. It does get hot and moist under the saddle – a perfect environment for bacteria, lice, and mites to thrive in.If the damage is more severe with open wounds and bleeding, you will have to remove the hen from the flock for a while and treat the wounds with soap, water, and antibiotic ointment.Deeper wounds may need to be stitched, and in these cases, you should consult your veterinarian.If you cannot afford a vet, you can sometimes get the wound to close together using ‘butterfly’ type Band-Aids. Be very diligent about checking the wound for infection.With a rooster causing these types of injury on several hens, it may be best to lock him up until the girls heal.Then, when he is released, monitor his behavior – if he is consistently rough and causing damage, it might be time to think about another rooster.

Our Choice of Treats for Our Chickens

Another problem with mating that can occur is actually getting your chickens’ eggs fertilized!Some of the ‘fluffier’ breeds, such as Wyandottes and Orpingtons’ can have difficulty collecting the sperm because of all that fluff.One quick and simple solution is to trim away much of the ‘bum fluff’ so her cloaca is more accessible to the male.It doesn’t look stunning, and if she’s a show bird, she won’t be on the stage anytime soon, but if you want baby chicks, this is the easy way to go.