I have paired a single Roller cock with 2 hens, one of which produced 1 chick last year, and the other is that same chick. The cock is the son of the older hen and the father of last years chick. The older hen had 1 clutch with 4 eggs, which were all infertile. The young hen had 2 clutches which were all infertile. After removing the first clutch from the older hen she has not laid again, which has been 3 weeks now.
I have just removed the second clutch of infertile eggs from the younger chick and am now wondering if I am wasting my time this year.
Your advice would be greatly appreciated.
Big Bird says, "How disappointed you must feel Steve, after having chicks last year and to come up empty handed this year. Each year the birds must be in full breeding condition to produce chicks. Both the male and female must fully participate and actually although both are important, the hen begging to be fed and to mate seems to be the most important in the equation.
I ran some experiment this year with pairs who resisted coming into breeding condition, Of course, they need to be healthy and of normal weight and not too thin or any strong push could threaten the bird's life. These birds are producing now, hatching uniformly on the 13th day of incubation and feeding great.
I wrote a blog post about what to do and now here is my update on what really worked. I experimented with two Orlux (Versele-Laga) products this year, first the Orlux fert-vit which is given in the water daily till laying. This product is so weak that even given daily for weeks, did not bring cocks into breeding condition especially the Borders. In fact, it is so weak that the only thing it is good for is tightening up feathers and general conditioning on show birds and preparing birds for song competition. This product does not hold a candle to ABBA Fertility E which is an excellent conditioner for breeding but two strong other than once a month for the other uses.
I also experimented with Orlux omi-vit. It is designed to use once a week year round and twice a week during breeding season. This is a much better product but still some birds resisted coming into condition and I think it would work much better had I started it a year before rather than testing it on the problem cases at the time of the problem and after the Orlux fertility E had already failed to bring them in. The twice a week worked well for most birds.
Like you I had a few who even with my conditioning either produced infertile eggs, even on two consecutive clutches or laid no eggs at all. These are signs that suggest that more vitamin E might do the trick. So I gave them Orlux omi-vit daily and after about a week or 10 days, they got with the program and started producing. All hatching on the 13th day but overall smaller nests of two or three than the majority of birds who came in easier. Overdose can happen and is evident when hens fail to sit or feed.
I definitely will keep working with these products and won't wait to use the daily Orlux omi-vit on cases where the first round is infertile.
Be sure the diet supports egg laying (calcium/D3) and your birds are healthy and then I say Go For It!"
Omnivit is the same as Fertivit, except for the vit E.
What do you think is the reason for the many dead in shells Borders breeders suffer from?
This is really interesting. When you compare the formulas Ferti-vit has more vitamin E 45,000 mg versus 7,000 mg, more Methionine 30,000 mg versus 20,000 mg, more lysine 20,000 mg versus 15,000 mg and you would expect the ferti-vit to have a more dramatic effect. Makes me wonder about the lot number I tried. I have only had two lots of these products. For several years, I have been using ABBA high fertility E so my internal reference is that product which compare to it is very weak. ABBA does not say what the concentration of their product is but really works dramatically.
Ferti-vit did work for rollers ok, but not nearly as well as the high dose vitamin E ABBA makes. When comparing the effect on most birds, ABBA will bring in cocks in three weeks. How frustrating when the ferti-vit would not bring in the Border cocks even is six weeks Border cocks are particularly difficult to get vent development and full condition compare to the other breeds and it was the Borders where differences were so apparent.
The daily ferti-vit just did not bring them in nor did the twice weekly omni-vit but the omni-vit daily worked like a charm. I also was offering the dry nestling mix with orlux insects etc and lots quinoa and then I was also adding Miracle vitamin which is high in methionine and lysine. Perhaps the combination with my diet made a difference.
The main reason for trying orlux was the fact that ABBA vitamin E is just that and not a full compliment of vitamins and amino acids.
Preliminary studies using omni-vit daily between nests looks like it really worked to improve the fertility there also. I have been using KD powder as soon as the last chicks hatches. When not sitting so tight, the hen gets off the nest more and feeds more and the chicks are healthier. Unfortunately, this drops the breeding instinct of the hen a bit and more infertility on the second nest cropped up. To counter this I started daily omni-vit in the water when chicks were nearly weaned. Preliminary work here looks great just hatched five Stafford chicks where the hen had all fertile eggs on first round but although she laid a full clutch with chicks weaning in her cage (which may cause infertility) and I had delayed her sitting because I did not want the chicks to break or soil the eggs. When I removed the chicks a few days later and gave her eggs, she did not want to sit on them. So I fostered these to a roller so I could see how many hatched, only two were fertile. Since she did not want to sit, I started the pair on daily omni-vit and now five hatched.
Next year, I am going back to ABBA high fertility E once a week about a month before breeding season and when they are close, I will try the Orlux omni-vit to bring them on. This will help with avoiding vitamin E overdose.
DEAD IN THE SHELL
If the egg dents instead of hatching it is poor shell quality which is a major problem in Borders. Likewise if the chick fails to pip through the membrane it is because the membrane dried out and was too tough for the chick to break. Other causes such as infection or poor incubation temperature can account for losses. At what stage do you notice the problem? Any odor?
Oops, ABBA fertility - E is 475,000 mg per 1000 grams.
Anonymous: Thanks so much for your post! It is very stimulating for me! After teaching 31 years in a University classroom where reading students and responding to feedback is one difference between a a good teacher and a great one, the fact that 160,000 views so far and averaging 300 views or more per day, the fact that I hear from only a very few, bothers me. Just a little feedback and I am on a roll!
The doses on orlux is per kg.
DIS seems to occur just before piping, because the (dead) chicks look perfect anatomically, the egg having a normal air chamber of 20%....strange....
Thanks for the help!
Please be assured that your blog is very widely read and your opinions and thoughts are well respected.
Borders seem to require more nutrients than most breeds. The problem you described is typical of poor thin egg shells that allow the membrane to be so dry and tough that a chick can not break through it.
The Avi-tech in the water during water during laying really turned this around for me. Soluble mineral grit year round but is heavily consumed right prior to laying. I also gave a day of Avi-tech periodically but the problem was only fixed when I used it during laying. On the day they were set, I replaced the water with untreated plain water for the incubation period.
Which product of Avitech do you refer to?
The Avitech product is Cal-D-Solve. Everything needed to make egg shells.
As you give the calcium to the hens when laying eggs, I suppose there is also a cock in the cage.
Do you see a reduced fertility in these cocks, because the calcium load can reduce their zinc absorption.
My goal is for mating to occur five days before laying. The closer mating is to egg laying the less likely eggs are fertile. Late pairing, after the first egg is laid, will likely only fertilize eggs 4 and later. The calcium is started after the hen lays her first egg and at that point the eggs should already be fertilized.
My late friend Janice and I use to get together on Saturdays and talk birds. One Saturday, I took a breeding ready hen with me and while we visited we put her in a small flight with her best cock. I took her home and she built her nest but I was worried when she did not lay her first egg till two weeks later and she had had no contact with any other male. How surprised I was when she hatched five of five eggs! More fertile eggs are produced by early mating than late.
The sperm can stay alive in the hen for over 40 days.
hi linda just come across your site looks very interesting
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