Everything About Breeding Homestead Chickens 

Starting your homestead living with chicken, just like any other thing, needs to take it slow. And once you are confident in managing your flock, you should learn how to breed chickens. 

Breeding is done for a variety of purposes. Perhaps you want chickens for meat. If your layers are getting old, you could need chicks. As your family grows, you could also need additional eggs to sell or to feed your family.

Yet, a few things must be considered before getting the best result. Your new flock will start out healthy and happy if you are well-prepared and knowledgeable.

Before You Start

It makes sense to think about whether you have the space to hatch chicks and enough shelter to rear them successfully before deciding to breed from your hens.

Do not mix young growers and adult birds. First, they risk contracting a disease (because immunity takes time to develop), and second, smaller birds would be harassed, requiring separate housing.

As they mature, young roosters will fight, but most varieties of chickens will fight, causing harm and frequently even death.

Start with a Rooster

Before learning how to produce chickens, you must understand how to maintain a rooster. A rooster can quickly make you reconsider whether chickens are cute farm animals.

Tips on Handling Rooster

A good rooster will look out for his flock. He closely monitors his chickens, encourages them when they lay eggs, and dislikes any outsiders (including you). Here are some pointers for maintaining warm relations with your rooster:

Move Slowly 

Avoid sudden movements that might startle the rooster by moving slowly instead.

Wear the Same Attire

Roosters pay close attention. He can easily be persuaded that you pose a threat by wearing new shoes, a new hat, or glasses.

Speak Chicken

Learn to understand his body language and speak chicken. He is agitated when his wings are beating and his neck feathers are poofed.

Respect the Rooster

Remember to respect the rooster; he knows how to breed chickens. Hence, show him respect; you will only encounter a few issues.

Don't Be Afraid

He's just a chicken, so don't be alarmed. The least he can do is use his spurs to peck you or scratch your shins. You'll make it through the pain.

How Chickens Breed

Chickens reproduce rapidly. 

The rooster circles the hen while lowering one wing in a brief mating dance. It will then leap onto the hen's back while holding the neck in its beak. Before squatting to ejaculate into the hen's cloaca, it "treads," placing its feet on its back and moving them quickly. It ends instantly. 

Don't worry if you don't know how to breed chickens; chickens know how to breed chickens, and healthy birds will handle reproduction independently.

How to Safely Breed Chickens

To prevent harm, some farm animals must be watched during mating. Others, like goats, must be kept apart from the opposite sex from an early age to prevent them from becoming pregnant.
However, since chickens are generally safe, you don't need to worry about how to breed them safely. A few feathers may fall off, but that's typically it. Chicks may be kept in the coop alongside a rooster. Until the chick is ready to lay eggs, it will not breed.

Methods For Breeding Chickens

You now understand how to raise chickens. But how do you raise excellent chickens? Start by only breeding healthy animals. When selecting one, look for a rooster with bright eyes, a tidy red comb, and bouncy tail feathers. He ought to be active and alert. 

Planning and creating foolproof techniques for breeding chickens can improve the overall quality of their poultry while also creating a new source of income. 

To ensure that the process of breeding poultry is successful, breeders must follow specific stages and procedures.

Flock Breeding

The most popular method for breeding chickens is flock breeding since it allows you to generate chickens randomly from a group of hens with just one cock. For chicken breeders, this approach is the most straightforward.

Pedigree Breeding

The focus of chicken breeding for specific traits is known as pedigree breeding. The technique involves mating a specific rooster to an average hen to get the features the breeder wants.
When breeding for a show using the Pedigree technique and using more than one hen, the breeder must take careful notes. Your notes will contain information about which hen and rooster mated and the resulting offspring.


Inbreeding is the practice of breeding closely related chickens. It improves the traits of positive genes in succeeding generations. Nevertheless, inbreeding will also increase issues with the genetic code.
The tiniest possibility of genetic issues exists when breeding two unrelated hens. Yet, occasionally hens have genetic problems that are hidden in their Genes. Hence, if you cross two birds carrying that genetic flaw, the risk of it developing in the offspring increases significantly.
Yet, the advantage of inbreeding is that it helps create heritably identical broods, which is excellent if you want to raise high-quality poultry. Also, by looking at the parents, breeders can predict how the subsequent generation will look. Regrettably, fertility declines if the breeder practices inbreeding over an extended period.

Line Breeding

When you have children through mating, a father and a daughter or a mother and a boy, you are line breeding. Compared to breeding siblings, line breeding is safer. When you only have one pair of chickens in your coop, it's also an excellent tool for setting up a breeding flock.


Outcrossing occurs when you give new genetics from the same breed to a known line. Outcrossing breeding can be advantageous when you want to improve a bad trait in a species, like altering the body type or feathering.
This breeding technique aims to create the same breed with new genetics. It's comparable to crossing your American Game Fowl with a different line of the same species unrelated to your line and free of any bad traits.
Breeders should use caution while using this breeding technique because the additional genetic code may also hide issues in the DNA.


Crossbred chickens frequently have two different food sources: eggs and meat. Cross-breeding chickens can decrease the possibility of inherited problems. Only cross your birds if you are breeding a unique heritage breed. If they are not kept up with, these breeds could quickly disappear.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Breed of Chicken

While selecting chicken breeds for your homestead, consider their purpose first. Are you looking for breeds that lay eggs? For your family, do you need meat but not eggs? Or do you want a breed that can produce both meat and eggs?

If you need egg layers, you should be aware of the following:

  • Average Annual Egg Production

Certain breeds can lay up to 364 eggs per chicken (or around one egg per day), while others can only lay 150 eggs per year or less.

  • Color of the Eggs

Some chickens lay eggs ranging from light to dark brown to green, blue, and white; some even lay the occasional pink egg!

  • Age of Laying

It's crucial to be aware that while most chicken breeds start laying eggs around six months, some kinds start earlier, and some breeds start later, so it's essential to know the average for the breeds you're considering.

If you need chickens for meat, you need to know the following:

  • Quantity of Meat

You should also be aware of the processed weight of the meat breeds you bring to your farm, which is the weight of the bird after processing, to estimate how much meat each animal will be able to offer for your family.

  • Age of the Process

The average processing period for meat birds is 16 to 20 weeks, but some (like Cornish Cross chickens) must be butchered considerably faster, and others need more time to grow out.

Pay attention to the following details regardless of breed:

  • The Hens' Broodiness

You will either need your chickens to tend towards being broody, or you will need to know how to hatch chicks using an incubator to be more sustainable and hatch your chicks.

  • Normal Mature Size

If you have a small homestead, the average mature size of the birds is crucial. You might not be able to retain as many hens if you select a breed with a huge frame as opposed to one with a more petite frame.

  • Country of Origin

You may or may not think it matters where the breed originated, but it is always a good idea to know the background of the animals you bring into your homestead.

  • Changes in Mood

It's crucial to understand a chicken breed's temperament or behavior. While most breeds are friendly and quiet, others can be noisy, energetic, or aggressive. In cases when kids will be near the birds, this is very crucial.

  • Is it a heritage breed?

You may or may not find this necessary, but being informed about your chickens' needs is always a good idea. The Livestock Conservancy is a source of heritage breeds.

  • Flightiness

Consider the location where you plan to keep your chickens. Will it be a problem for you if they can fly? If so, consider building a fence, containing them in a run, selecting breeds that aren't good flyers, or clipping wings.

Chicken Supplements

Your chickens will have less energy during breeding and brooding than usual, so giving them the necessary nutrients is best. Never overdo it with the vitamins you give your chickens and their chicks.

Dry eyes, stunted growth, or a greater vulnerability to illnesses in your chickens could all be signs of a vitamin A shortage in their diet. To avoid this shortage, supplement their meal with broccoli or kale.

To prevent vitamin D insufficiency, ensure your chickens receive more than 30 minutes of direct sunlight daily and give them cod liver oil. The number of eggs your chickens lay may decrease due to this deficiency.

Practical Tips on Breeding Chickens

You can grow your flock of chickens in a variety of ways. It's straightforward to breed your own chickens, which is why many chicken keepers do it.

Choose the breed wisely.

What you choose as your breeder matters. You should select a healthy breed of chicken suited for your needs in terms of production and a good temperament. When you want to advance a particular breed of chicken, go for types with the qualities you wish to see. Simply said, only breed hens with exceptional physical and behavioral traits.

Prepare for spring.

Even though many breeds of chickens may produce fertile eggs throughout the year, spring tends to be a more productive time for them, especially in colder locations. Throughout the winter, most chickens focus more on keeping warm than mating.

Tracking a rooster-to-hen ratio.

Breeders should know that having more than one cock in a flock is not advised. Hens often face competition from roosters.
As long as there are enough hens for them, some roosters can live together if they are raised collectively. One rooster should produce four to five hens. Another benefit of having more than one cock in a flock is that it increases fertility.

Roosters must be kept with the hens.

When choosing which cock to breed with the hens, eliminate all the other roosters and keep the selected one with the hens indefinitely. Sometimes check to see if your rooster is performing its duties. It will eventually mate naturally with the hens with the breeder. There may be a problem if your cock is not performing as it should.

The waiting period is key.

You shouldn't expect fertile eggs for two weeks if you recently joined your rooster. The chickens will continue laying fertilized eggs for two to three weeks.

Look into the rooster's behavior.

Some roosters are more aggressive than others, so if your hens are bleeding, losing feathers, or otherwise appear to be under a lot of stress, your cock may be becoming inappropriately hostile. Put an end to the breeding process and introduce a new rooster. To keep your hens safe, it is essential to maintain their physical and emotional wellness.

Keep an eye on those fertilized eggs.

The eggs will have a little white spot like a bullseye after two weeks, indicating they are fertile. Eventually, after a few days, you'll see red veins.

Storing and laying of fertilized eggs for more success. 

For about a week, keep eggs with their pointy end down at 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Then place them all at once in the incubator.
The eggs will develop simultaneously using this technique. Generally, following these instructions will increase your hatch rate. However, the hatch rate will decrease if the period is more than a week.

Start Your Flock Now!

Surprisingly, there are numerous approaches to expanding your flocks of chickens. It can be fascinating to plan your chicken breeding strategy. The entire family can enjoy the process as well. Making notes while you research will produce the finest results.

The finest breed of chicken to raise in your backyard is ultimately up to you. The most crucial factor is that rearing your chickens will achieve your initial purpose of breeding chickens.

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published