Saturday, April 5, 2014

Troubleshooting Breeding Part 2 - Increasing The Number of Eggs Per Clutch

Breeders who contact me with their breeding problems often complain about clutches of one or two eggs. Disheartening after all that preparation for sure!

Several factors need to be considered when hens lay one or two eggs.

1. Pushing: Were they pushed to lay? Pushing hens to lay often results in one or two eggs commonly called heat eggs. They tend to be darker in color and are often laid off the perch. Occasionally the hen will lay in the nest and even set on them but alas the eggs are infertile. If a hen does this, I let her set and use her for a foster or after a couple weeks, I start re-cycling her. Normal clutches of a minimum of four eggs will likely result when she lays next time.

2. Inbreeding can result in few eggs being laid. When I see this it is when I purchase prize bird that are winning on the show bench and then the pair produces few eggs and sure enough the next year they and their daughters, even though I have outcrossed them,  produce only a couple of eggs. Pay close attention to the number of eggs a hen lays and when you select your breeding birds, consider the number of eggs the mother of the hen produced per clutch.

3.  Diet: By increasing the amino acids in the nestling food fed, especially methionine and lysine, the number of eggs per clutch can be increased. Typically when the hen is fed Miracle vitamin from Italy, the clutch size increases from four to five or six and a few outliers hens will lay seven or eight. But if a hen has that many eggs it is better to foster a few, as she may have trouble covering and turning them.

In the US, Miracle is available from ABBA Products. They have it listed in their computer as AA Miracle so be sure and tell them AA Miracle. (At times, I have told them just Miracle vitamin and they were unable to find it in their inventory.)


Evon in WI said...

Linda, I usually let the hens have 2 clutches of babies. How do you stop the hens from wanting that third nest? These 2 hens have had the feeding chores shared with help of the fathers.

Linda Hogan said...

I go by the number of chicks and whether the cock was helping her and what kind of shape she is in. Generally, if a hen feeds 5 or 6 chicks in two nests that is enough.

Stopping can be hard but take away male, nest and no egg food. If possible, cut her light by moving to lower area or partly covering her cage.

dr.emreotlu said...

Hello Mrs Hogan,

I follow your blog for a long time. I'm a novice Yorkshire canary breeder from Istanbul/Turkey. After the first clutch chicks i didn't seperate the cock bird. The parents both fed them very good. On 14th day of first clutch chicks i've seperated the nest of the chicks and the hen started to build a new nest in the previous area. Everything went okay and after a week or so she laid the first egg. I collect them in a container that is filled with canary seeds like before. She laid 5 eggs (after the fourth one i've put all the other ones) and she started to incubate them pretty tightly like before. Today is the 8th day of incubation but there is no sign of fertilization. What might be the cause?

Linda Hogan said...

At about 14 days the first chick leaves the nest and about that same time the hen becomes receptive for mating. I check the cock vent again and trim any extra feathers again and on larger birds the side feathers. I let the chicks stay with the parents for the first 21 days and separate them when I see them eat the quartered hard boiled eggs. Perhaps taking the chicks away has encouraged the hen to lay again to quickly. It is hard to get the same fertility on 2nd nests. I do not mind going for the third nest as I seem to get more hens on the 3rd nest.