Unless you are buying pre-fertilized eggs, if you want to breed chickens, you are going to need to know how do chickens reproduce or how do chickens mate.
Obviously, it is going to be a fairly natural process for your chickens. However, it is still worth knowing the specifics so you know what is going on. That is what we are going to talk about on this page. Basically, we are going to give you information on how do hens and roosters mate.
Obviously, there are two components to chicken mating. You have the rooster and the hen. If you don’t want to breed chickens, and a lot of people don’t want to breed chickens, then you don’t have the rooster.
This means you get all of those delicious eggs that you can eat. As soon as you introduce a rooster into the mix, then everything changes up.
How Do Hens and Roosters Mate
The Role of the Rooster
A hen can lay an egg every day or every other day, but if you don’t have a rooster those eggs will not be fertilized. So how do hens and roosters mate?
Roosters are not too fussed about the chickens they mate with. They will mate with all breeds, and they will never tie themselves down to a single chicken. In most cases, a single rooster is more than enough for around ten hens.
Hens and roosters will mate all year round. There won’t be a single day where that rooster will not be trying to mate with the other chickens. That being said, while chickens are going to be able to mate all year, there will only be certain times of the year where the hen will ‘brood’.
This means when the hen will actually look after the fertilized eggs. Although, if you are breeding chickens yourself, this is probably not going to be that much of an issue. This is because you can always do the job that the hen will do here e.g. ensure the fertilized eggs are kept warm.
How Do Chickens Mate – The ‘Wooing’ Process
One of the reasons as to why you should only have one rooster is because roosters are very territorial. They will see pretty much every single chicken in the immediate vicinity as their domain. Once the ‘wooing‘ process starts, the rooster is going to fight any other rooster (quite violently) for the territory.
Therefore, if you are raising backyard chickens, you absolutely will never want more than rooster. If you have more than one rooster then, well, you are going to have just one in no time at all. Well, one, plus a dead rooster.
The wooing process begins with something known as ‘tid-bitting’. It is unlikely mating will take place at this point, but this process is to show the other chicken that the rooster is interested in mating. It, basically, involves the rooster finding some food for the hen.
The rooster will then draw attention to this food through all sorts of clucking and head bobbing. The hen will acknowledge this, and remember that the rooster wants to mate.
The Rooster’s Mating Dance
This is when the mating process actually begins. The hen will have some say in it. It all takes place around the mating dance. The rooster will run in a circle around the hen. It will have its wings outstretched, and it will scratch the floor.
If the hen wants to mate, then she will squat down and await the mounting from the rooster. If she doesn’t, the rooster will try again at some other point. He will likely have plenty of other hens to interact with.
How Do Chickens Mate – Final Stage
After the rooster does the mating dance it jumps on top of the hen and breeds her.
If the hen is willing to mate, then the rooster will mount her. This is actually quite a ‘violent’ process. The rooster will grab onto the comb of the hen. This can cause a little bit of pain. She may squeal. However, this is completely natural.
The next part is very brief (it has to be brief, the rooster can mate up to 30-times per day!). Once the rooster is on top of the hen, he will reveal his cloaca. This is not a penis. Roosters do not have penises. It is just a small bump that delivers the sperm.
At the same time, the hen will open up her cloaca. This is a small hole. The two of them will touch. As they do, the rooster’s sperm will be released into the hen. The process will hen be complete, and both will go on their merry way.
Then those eggs inside of the hen are fertilized.
That is it. When it comes to learning ‘how do chickens mate’, it is simply a case of ‘wooing’ and then ‘mounting’. The rooster will do this several times throughout the day, so do make sure that you do not own a rooster if you do not want fertilized eggs!
See also: When Do Hens Start laying Eggs.