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Natural Breeding of Gamefowls

(You can see photos of chicks in the natural rearing, in the Photo Gallery Aufzucht 2005)

With Natural Breeding I understand that the hen is breeding hatching eggs and then can raise the chicks. It is not important, that the eggs are from the hen or from other farmed animals. The natural breeding is not comparable to the rearing of chicks, with an artificial hatching breeder. This chick are often more "hand-tame", but this cannot replace the sight of a hen, which cares with much devotion for her offspring. As for many other species, also for the hen applies, first to care about the offspring and then to follow the satisfaction of one's own needs. The hen can be so hungry, every food available will be offered to the chicks, before the hen eats. The same thing is with guarding and protecting the offspring. No threat can be large enough to abandon the chicks.

Even if these aspects serve for the conservation of the species, this property for me is the attitude of fighters.


Natural Breeding

The Natural breeding and natural rearing has many advantages but also some disadvantages.

Advantages:

 
Disadvantages:

A big advantage of the Aseel race is their big breeding instinct that distinguishes them from other chicken races particularly the so-called economic breeds. Since I particularly early in the year (February-March) start the natural breeding, I care for a good diet of the animals. Many vitamins, minerals and not enough too much protein (see the article "Around the hatching") Also deworming before laying the eggs or before begin of breeding is recommended. I let not breed nervous and restless hens even if they are otherwise very typey and have much temperament. Strong character and balanced hens lead and protect the chicken later confidently and without uncertainty. This is important so that the hen will not warn her chicks because of bagatelles and so unnecessary brings unrest in the small family.


Natural Breeding

The Nest

I make sure that the nest to protect the eggs is very well filled with sawdust and straw. As nests I use small plastic boxes (for fruit and vegetables), they have a variety of advantages. On the one hand they can be cleaned with the steam radiator wonderfully. In addition, the hen can be moved, including the box, if she is ?breedy?. Since each side of the box can folded in, when a hen is breeding I always fold one side of the box e inside, so the chicks can leave the nest after hatching without any major problems.

 

Parasites

To prevent that the hen during the breeding gets parasites (mites, Featherlings etc.)  I pollinate their nest with plenty of diatomaceous earth. Even the barn will be generously ?treated" with diatomaceous earth, so the chicken from the very beginning are prevented t get pesky parasites. (see ?diatomaceous earth " at the end of the article)


Natural Breeding

To bolster eggs

Based on laying eggs (see article "Weaning of Breeding") the beginning of breeding almost exactly can be calculated. So I collect the eggs in time of the different breeding strains, from which I hope to get offspring.

The signs that a hen is getting clucking are easy to recognize:


If I want to breed one of those "glucky" hens, I put as a replacement for her eggs cheap eggs from the discounter, I marked before. The retrieved eggs are labelled immediately after collection and will be put to the others. When the hen is sitting the whole day on the nest, this is a sign that she has begun to breed. After two days the hen when it is dark will be moved in the barn prepared for her. Over the next two days I leave the hen still on the cheap eggs. Inexperienced or unsafe hens will leave the eggs so the eggs would no longer be used. Only when the hen sits firmly seated on the eggs, in the evening when it is dark, I will change the "egg substitute" against the hatching eggs. If for an unforeseeable reason the chicken will no longer sit on the eggs, the next breeding will move until the next hen is glucky. Experienced hens sit so tightly on the eggs, they do not mind to be moved. I never put more than 12 eggs under my hens, as all eggs should be kept warm enough. This also depends on the size of the hen, the larger the animal is, the more eggs can be warmed.


Natural Breeding

When I began to farm chickens, I thought it would be better and more natural, if the hen breeds with the other chickens in the hutch. In the meantime I have another opinion after the first year of holding poultry. Other hens that were not broody, used the time in the brooding hen left the nest to defecate and to eat and to lay their eggs into the nest of the breeding hen. This caused much unrest for the brooding hen and the whole breeding tribe.
Furthermore, I observed, that the presence of a brooding hen caused the rest of the hens to hatch. Even my laying hybrids and hens, that laid no eggs at that time, wanted to hatch at this stage. So I had a barn full of chickens, all in their nests at the same time (without eggs) were sitting and brooding, sometimes even two in one nest. Later I learned that wild hens lay their eggs away from the herd and brood there. With chicks hatched successfully, they go back to the herd.

Once in the past an Asil hen vanished and then appeared 21 days later with a handful of chicks. We were very relieved because we thought that a fox or raccoon had caught the hen. Later we discovered the well hidden and abandoned nest in the barn.

 

The Gluck stall

Because of these experiences breeding hens come in an extra stall. This stall does not need to be a large and expensive construction, but should be safe and free of drafts. My stall is small, has about 2 square meters and a large window (without glass with grid), in which the hen with her chicks can enjoy the sun, even if outside there is a closed snow cover. As litter, I use dry sawdust, where the hen can enjoy "dust baths" that promote her wellbeing. A part of the litter consists of the (healthy) strain, thus the intestinal flora of the chicks will be used to the bacteria of the parents. In one corner of the stall there is a feed pan with coarse sand, the chickens need this for crushing the food in the digestive system. The mother hen can deal extremely well with the dry and stable, extreme cold climate in the stall. A damp stall with draft can cause losses among the young chicken.

A separate stall for the mother hen has also the advantage that the hen can drink and eat undisturbed. I observed that the mother hen, when separate lost less weight and went back to her clutch faster. Especially in extreme cold climate this is an appreciable advantage.


Natural Breeding

Diet of the hen

when a hen is hatching for the first time, leave, especially for the first few days I care, that the hen has enough food and water. The new environment can induce the hen not to leave her nest for a long time and too eat not enough food. Especially in the cold season, it is very important that the hen has sufficient energy in form of food. The energy budget of the brooding hen is especially necessary for the warming of the clutch. A good indication that the hen has left the nest, are the turds. I remove these turds every day from the barn. If after 2 days there are no turds, the hen has cautiously been removed from the nest and water and food has to be given. Once the chicken accustomed to the new situation, it will eat and drink by itself. It is also important that the chicken gets up once per day from the clutch up and moves. It promotes digestion and dissolves the breeding stiffness of the animal.  I observed the following order of the hens, when leaving the clutch, defecating, eating, drinking, fast wing beat, dust bath, smaller defecating, eating, drinking and then back to the clutch. Depending on the outdoor temperature the duration of leaving the nest varies. The colder the outdoor temperatures are, the shorter the time in which they leave the clutch alone. At temperatures above 10 ° C they may leave more than half an hour, at sub-zero levels just a few minutes.

In normal outdoor temperatures, the brooding hen will be given commercial mixed feed grains, the energy reserves are sufficient to overcome the breeding season without any problems. For extreme minus temperatures, I think it is necessary to offer a very energy-rich substance. During this time grain feed, a mixture of seeds (millet, hemp, etc.) are fed. Fresh vegetables are not fed during the breeding season, because it may cause diarrhoea. Thus, the nest could be soiled, which is not desirable. Drinking water, which should be always fresh, is supplemented with a bit of vitamins, this cannot be harmful.

 

Free chicken-run

when I began to separate the chuckles, I made the mistake to offer free run during the time for defecating and eating. I did not consider that the chuckle during the first few days would be anxious to get to the old coop and not the new. It was quite exciting to catch the hen and bring it back into the coop.

In any case, from this day the chuckles remained in the coop after hatching of the chicks. Later the desire for freedom is not so strong that it is constantly running back and forth the window to get outside. This equilibrium is very beneficial to the chicks. Nevertheless, I'm glad when the mother hen with her tremendous urge to move can finally leave the coop together with the chicks.


Natural Breeding

Screening the hatchery

many breeders screen the hatchery from the 7th day and separate not fertilized eggs. This has its meaning. For my part I did not do this. Because until now all eggs were fertilized and as I did not use eggs for a dispatch or older than 10 days the slipping rate was almost 100%. An apparatus for screening hatchery can be quickly and cheaply be built. A shoebox, a light bulb inside, a hole cut out and ready is the screening apparatus.

 

Eating the hatchery

In case of natural breeding usually my chuckles separate unfertilised egg by itself. Every now and then the chuckles at the end of the breeding season eat some eggs. They seem to eat eggs only eggs if something is wrong or they are not fertilized. Chicks are eaten only when they are sick or dead. So do not be surprised if for example after the hatching of 10 chicks only 8 healthy chickens remain and the missing two eggs cannot be found. This seems to be natural, in order to avoid attracting predators with the smell of dead chicks and is also a valuable energy snack, the mother hen after a long breeding season can really use. If however the mother hen would eat healthy chicks, I would have this hen excluded, so that this bad habit is not passed. The shells of hatched eggs are also eaten by the hen eaten, but from hen to hen this varies.

From day 20-21 I check whether the first chicks are to be seen. If this happens, we are always completely fascinated by the new chicks. Until now we never had any problems hatching the chicks. If this should happen once, I will (heavy heart) not intervene. I appreciate the HINT HOROZU particularly because of their natural behaviour, and their robust nature, so I would like to keep like this for the future.

When the chicks are slipped, they are best fed and cared for by the mother hen, a heating of the coop is with HINT Horoz not necessary. Even below -10 ° C the mother hen can adequately warm the chicks.


Natural Breeding

Diatomaceous earth Info:

Diatomaceous earth are seaweed granules harmless for human and animal (It must have a grain size of 4-20μm) that comes between the limbs of the parasites and destroys the top layer of the insect carapace. The body fluid is leaking the parasite is desiccating.

Diatomaceous earth is environmentally safe, free of biocides and insecticides. No resistances occur by the bio-physical process.

Diatomaceous earth can be used against all crawling insects and arachnids, such as Animal lice, fleas, ants, bacon beetles, silver fish, red bird mite, grain beetles etc 

(You can see photos of chicks in the natural breeding, in the Photo Gallery 2005)

with natural breeding I understand that the hen is breeding hatching eggs and then can raise the chicks. It is not important, that the eggs are from the hen or from other farmed animals. The natural breeding is not comparable to the rearing of chicks, with an artificial hatching breeder. This chick are often more "hand-tame", but this cannot replace the sight of a hen, which cares with much devotion for her offspring. As for many other species, also for the hen applies, first to care about the offspring and then to follow the satisfaction of one's own needs. The hen can be so hungry, every food available will be offered to the chicks, before the hen eats. The same thing is with guarding and protecting the offspring. No threat can be large enough to abandon the chicks.

Even if these aspects serve for the conservation of the species, this property for me is the attitude of fighters.

Andi Haller

Translated by Regina Diesch


Natural Breeding