Saturday, January 4, 2014

Getting Hens Ready - Patience

Young Border Hen
First Question 2014:

Dear Linda,
Congratulation for new year. Let me start with my first question in this year:
I raise Lanks and Yorks. The bird room are in full light for about 11 hours a day and the about 20C.
Males are singing for about one month but the females are not ready yet.
The base seed are canary seed+millet(the females are a little fat). Females receives some additives with carrot and a little hard boiled eggs.
Any recommend to make the females ready?
Regards M

Great to hear from you! 

In a single word, the most important thing you can do is be Patient!

These are big birds and should not be bred until they receive 14.5 total day light hours each day (includes 30 minutes dim time at the end of the day).  Smaller birds will breed at 12 hours but big ones do much better on longer hours. Even smaller birds do better when bred on longer hours. Either let the light increase naturally or increase lighting by 15 to 30 minutes per week. I start out with 15 minutes per week and then as they start responding more I move up to 30 minutes. This year I am not doing the sudden change, moving suddenly in one day to 14.5 hours. I think it works better on the big birds to do the more gradual change, 15 to 30 minutes per week.  

The number one thing that triggers hormone changes that stimulate the hen to come into full breeding condition is the song of the male. For this reason, I concentrate on the male first.  Male birds initially are housed together to bring on a little territorial scrapping but of course not enough fighting to hurt anyone. Scrapping males is very stimulating for them.

I am very pleased with the quinoa recipe that includes cooked quinoa, broccoli, oatmeal and vita-mineral and now have added some peas and corn and some dry nestling food (Novafood by Biodecken). All of the birds are getting some of this about four days a week. Will move that up to daily as they start responding. I think it is important to respond to the birds and not push them. (I buy quinoa in 25 lb sacks at health food stores. It is grown in Bolivia.) See blog post What's For Breakfast on Dec. 13, 2013.

It is also good to consider the age of the birds. The closer they are to a year old by breeding time the better. I have noted that some of my purchased birds are not coming along as fast as the others so my first response was to send the band numbers to the breeder and find out when they hatched.

Young Cinnamon Border Hen


Anonymous said...

Hello Linda,
You speak of putting the cocks together to get some territoreal issues. But, my cocks stopped singing after I did put them togehter.
Lights hours still low, 9.5 hours.
Any other things to consider?

Linda Hogan said...

When do you plan on breeding them? Make a chart and check the total number of daylight hours you should have if you advance them no more than 30 minutes per week till they reach 14 1/2 (includes 30 min dim). Right now most breeders would likely be at 11 hour minimum.

At show time, my birds were on 10.5 hours. Shorter days during the molt allows the birds to re-set their photo-sensitivity (light).

Unknown said...


my canary has feather cysts. The vet said there was nothing that we could do except remove the cysts. I read somewhere that Biodecken had a remedy. Where can I buy it?


Linda Hogan said...

Ricardo Sanchez sells a product for the molt which I have used with good results. The cyst must be totally removed and then use the molt product in the water. I started with 9 birds and now only two have any signs of lumps. Check my posts on feather lumps.