Friday, March 19, 2010

When Three Is Not A Crowd!

Three Is A Great Number!

Three In This Stafford Family

Note how the non-crested hens have similar markings but opposite dark and light patterns on the head.

Overall Pretty Good Crested Stafford Male, Full Neck, Circular Crest But The Crest Needs More Height and Length.

This Young Stafford Hen Has Good Frontal Rise and Roundness. She seems to be dreaming about a family with our Stafford male......

Nice Looking Couple!

Nice Looking Couple Too! More pictures of these two on last Tuesday's post, "Building Too Deep".

The Older Hen Built and Laid First

Young Stafford Hen Building Her Nest Now

Older Stafford Hen was Set today with Four Eggs

My favorite pairing is two hens with one male. This makes the best use of the space and solves some aggression problems! When paired with one hen, if she happens to be shy, he can be too pushy where when paired with two hens, he has more options and works with the more cooperative hen first and patiently waits for the more timid hen.

Another big advantage is to have the male with the hens at the right time. If you work, the timing can be difficult first moving him in with one hen in the morning and then moving him to the other that evening. Only realizing where he needed to be after the fact.... Because they are all in the same cage and they are not being disrupted everyday by his moving, there is a higher fertility rate.

Two padded nests are place on opposite sides of the cage with a tuff of nesting material in each. Usually the hens will pick different nests. Sometimes, if they seem interested in the same nest, I temporarily put three nests in the cage for more choices until the hens pick their nest.

A few years ago, when I first tried multiple hens with one male, I would try to pick two hens at approximately the same stage. I still like to do that but I have found it not a problem as long as new babies are not being hatched when the other hen has babies leaving the nest. When chicks leave the nest, they are disruptive and are anxious to change nests and be fed by any bird who will feed them.

The older hen in this pair was set today and the younger one will likely lay very soon. I will continue feeding nestling food till the second hen is set and again feed it when the older hen hatches her first baby. Even though nesting food is offered, the birds know when they should eat it!

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