Ronnie Sillitoe’s 2020 Breeding Diary

For family and personal reasons my breeding season starts earlier and finishes sooner than many other fanciers.

This means the updates I will be giving each week are six to eight weeks in advance of majority of the fanciers reading these pages.
Please do not think you are behind and try to force your birds to catch up with mine as this will only lead to disaster

After the show season the birds have been relaxing
With daily baths being given but the seed regime is one hopper of seed a week and only fresh water daily as to avoid hens getting fat and the difficulty in getting them slimmer ,there are no extras given during this period .

Prior to the conditioning program the birds are treat with Baycox to get rid of any coccidiosis and then two days on Prolyte C .
Then a treatment of Tylodox (from the vet) and after that Prolyte C for 5 days.

This is when I commence the program.

Week 1. Lights 10 ½ hrs. I have seen good activity in the stock .I have tied soft string to the cage fronts of the hens, I use this as a gauge to see which hens are pulling at it and coming into condition and those which are not.All birds treated for mite.

Week 2 Lights 11 hrs sees not much change
At this time I am prepping the clay nest pans by steeping them in bleach for a few days and also doing the same to the nest felts then I wash the nest felts again as I think they have been treated by the manufacturer. All birds treated for mite.

Week 3 Sees the lights on 11 1/2 hrs and the hens looking well and cocks singing well.All birds treated for mite and vents trimmed whilst trimming birds are checked for condition and feed adjusted accordingly.

Week 4 Lights on 12 hrs begins with cocks getting louder and some hens shredding the soft string which I replace.

Week 5 Lights on 12 1/2 hrs sees the second half of the program start when I start to give ferti-oil on the treats each day till they are ready .the stock cocks are almost in full song with one or two second round cocks a bit slower.

Week 6 Lights on 13 hrs sees the cocks in full song and trying to out sing the other cocks and some of the hens carrying nesting material pulled from the holders on the cage front at this time I sit and observe their behaviour so I don't miss the odd hen which wants to go very early.

Week 6+1 Lights held back at 13hrs for a week to let some hens catch up to the cock’s condition.

Week 7 Lights on 13 1/2 hrs the cocks I want to go with the hens are hung onto the hens stock cage to let them see each other, the first hen has starting building and a few more are not far behind .

Week 8 Final lights move to 14 hrs 4 hens have built nests 1 hen has laid and several more are carrying, things look promising as cocks are treading hens but one or two are squabbling another week should help

Plus One week on and 8 hens have built nests 3 hens have laid.

Plus Two weeks This week sees another few hens building nests and cocks seem to be treading well, a few fussy hens fighting with the chosen cocks but I will try again tomorrow.
The weather has been stormy, wet and very cold but hasn't affected the birds. I checked the first nest of the season, using a light box, at five days and the eggs were infertile which isn’t a surprise as I never saw them treading and the hen seemed more interested in building and sitting I will leave her to sit for 10 days and them remove the nest for 3-4 days then give her a fresh one.
I checked the second nest and those eggs are fertile so I am happy with that.
The hens that are sitting have full hoppers of mixed seed( no extras) as they don’t come off the eggs very often and I want them to have what they want ,the water is just plain for those sitting and building the ones not fit enough are still on the program

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