Poultry Breeding Introduction
The modem fowl is much superior with regard to its productive capacity, in terms of number and size of eggs and quality and quantity of meat, as compared to its ancestors. This has been made possible through the environment and the improved breeding methods. Poultry Breeding – Chicken Poultry breeding is, thus, a scientific practice which aims at genetic improvement of the birds through successive generations by virtue of planned reproduction.
Breeding refers to mating poultry for either maintaining or increasing the current flock or for selecting specific individuals for improvement in one or more characteristics (e.g., for size, weight, egg production, meat quality, behavior, plumage, comb type, or a combination of factors).
A successful breeder should have adequate knowledge of the various qualities and capabilities of different breeds of poultry in order to select the right type of birds and to combine all the desirable qualities to a fairly high degree. Highly scientific breeding of poultry may not be possible in our villages. But an average farmer may follow the fundamental principles of scientific breeding that are practicable in the villages where they are properly instructed and guided. An effort is made here to discuss the various aspects of poultry breeding relevant to the village conditions, in a simple and systematic way.
An understanding of general poultry genetics is important before starting a breeding program. In order to identify chicks wing or leg bands can be used as well as notching the toes. While hens lay eggs without a rooster being around, if you want to hatch your own chicks a rooster is necessary. The number of roosters per hen various depending on the breed, but is typically 6-8 hens per rooster. If there are too many roosters they spend too much time fighting and less time breeding. If there are not enough roosters, there will not be enough matings to ensure a high percentage of fertile eggs produced. Otherwise management of a breeder flock is similar to keeping an egg production flock. If you are selectively breeding you can use trap nests so that the hen is trapped into a nest when she goes into lay an egg. This will allow you to identify which egg came from which hen.