Friday, January 29, 2010

Making Breeding Simple - Conditioning - Weight

This Stafford cock has quite an obstructive fat belly which will interfere with successful copulation!!!

Not Too Heavy

With the breeding season approaching, it is important to take a critical look at your breeders and resolve to get the birds physically fit for breeding. Being too heavy is rarely a problem for breeding hens, as their having a fat belly does not interfere with the cocks assess. And her fat layer will quickly disappear when she is feeding chicks. The ideal breeder hen is pleasantly plump, "traditionally built".

But for a cock having a fat belly is a major cause of infertility because the fat belly obstructs his ability to connect well with the hen for good sperm insemination. Seeing his fat belly is a wake-up call to put him on an exercise program and a low-fat reducing diet.

Exercise Program

A flight with other cocks will help if you separate the food and water at far distances from each other and have very few perches so that the birds must fly the maximum distance to get food and water. Housing with other cocks will also promote defensive territorial behavior which is a major influence in bringing cocks into breeding behavior.

People often think that putting a pair together will bring on breeding behavior. The presence of the cock or hearing his breeding song will stimulate hormonal changes in the hen but being in the same cage with the hen will not stimulate the cock. He is stimulated by fighting with other cocks and not the presence of the hen!

Low-fat Reducing Diet

Often breeders increase dietary protein by increasing the higher protein seeds such as sunflower, hemp, and thistle. The problem with this approach is the higher protein seeds are also higher fat.

For hens and physically fit cocks small amounts are fine but not for the fat cock! Instead, fat belly cocks are put on a restricted diet of only petamine breeding formula, water, and greens!!!!

Not Too Light

Likewise birds that are too light will not be productive as they are using all their resources just to stay alive. Too light birds have prominent pelvic bones and sharp breast bones because they have lost muscle mass and reddish purple abdomens because they no longer have any fat layer. Such anorexic emaciated birds will not coming into breeding condition. While their negative energy balance may be due to simply inadequate food consumption, their weaken condition may lead to illness.

These birds need to be separated from other birds to encourage them to eat and to decrease their environmentally stress. Too gain weight, they need a low-protein and high carbohydrate diet. Increasing dietary protein must be avoided because these birds can not tolerate the increase stress on the liver for processing protein.

It is also possible that these birds are too inbred or even sick. In either case, we need to protect our other birds and not weaken our gene pool. The worst thing is not that we fail to breed from these birds but that we are successful and produce a whole bunch just like them!

SPECIAL NOTE: HAPPY KANSAS DAY!!! Overnight snow has closed the schools and everyone is celebrating the states 149 th BIRDDAY!!

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