In our articles we at the typesofchicken.com team have tried to touch almost every subject about keeping chicken in your backyard. We have written about what to feed your chicken to get the best eggs, DIY projects (toys for your chickens, uses for chicken feathers, make your chicken waterer) etc. Few days ago while having a discussion about our next articles we realized we never wrote about the most important thing every chicken keeper needs to know – how do chickens mate. This is what made us, the typesofchicken.com team focus this article on that particular subject. So without any further prolonging – How do chickens mate in 4 Steps.
1. Impressing the ladies (hens)
Some roosters prefer to take a proud stance and in that way impress and attract the hens and others are using different more energetic methods. The second and more active type of roosters are known to do a dance (tidbitting), or to spread their wings and slowly walk around the hens to get their attention and admiration. This can be a long or a short process in most cases it depends on the breed, but how you treat and feed your chickens can also make a big difference.
2. After Establishing the connection
If and when the hen feels attracted to the rooster she starts to peck around him and turning his back and with it showing him her reproductive organs. Then the rooster jumps on top of the hen until he reaches the needed position. This may take a few tries because of the complicated structure of the reproductive systems both of the hen and the rooster alike.
3. How does it happen?
When a rooster jumps on the hens back he grabs her neck feathers with his beak and he tries to balance himself with his feet. This process is also known as treading. Treading can damage the feathers of the hen and it can cause feather loss. Many people who mate their chickens are using a cloth apron, or as some may call it a hen saddle for protection. After that it is time for the hen to do her part and crouch, spread her wings to keep herself steady and lowers her tail.
4. The cloacal kiss
A roosters reproductive organ is called the papilla and it is located in his cloaca. For a hen to be able to receive the rooster sperm she inverts her cloaca as she steps into position. For the transfer of the sperm to happen the cloacas of both the rooster and the hen need to touch. This is called the cloacal kiss. The cloacal kiss finishes the whole process of reproduction and after that the rooster jumps off the hen and the hen shakes her feathers.
These are the 4 steps every hen and rooster go through for natural reproduction. Some breeders prefer to intervene and choose the breeds that are going to mix. A hen does not need to go through this process for it to produce eggs, but the eggs that a hen that hasn’t gone through this process will produce will be infertile. To know the differences and similarities between infertile and fertile eggs make sure you check out our previous article.