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Types of Mating

Mating is an act of joining cock with hen so that the hens may produce fertile eggs for hatching and multiplication. The number of female birds allowed to be served by a male bird depends upon the factors like breed, body weight, virility, season, age and physical condition of the male. For example, more females may be allowed for each male in the Leghorns (light breeds) than in the heavier breeds such as the Rhode Island Reds. Similarly a young cockerel (young male} can be given more pullets than an old cock. More females can be allowed in the mating pen during spring than during winter (where the winters are very cold). In summer, mating should be suspended as fertility will be very poor and the birds get exhausted.

Matings are of several kinds viz. (1) pen mating, (2) flock mating, (3) stud mating, (4) alternating males, (5) artificial insemination. Artificial insemination may not be a feasible proposal for the village level poultry, as the villagers may not have the necessary infrastructure or expertise in this field.

1. Pen mating In this type of mating, ten hens are kept in a breeding pen and one cock is permitted to mate and live with them freely. Eggs collected, a week after letting in the cock, will normally be fertile.

2. Flock mating Here a large flock of hens is kept with a num ber of cocks in the proportion of one cock for every ten hens. But under confined conditions, the males develop a tendency to fight each other and generally one male becomes the aggressor preventing the others from mating. This may affect the fertility seriously. The eggs also cannot be traced to the cock concerned and so pedigree breeding is not possible. On the other hand, on a free range, there will not be much scope for fighting and the birds are free to run about. Flock mating is preferred where ordinary farm conditions are prevalent and no pedigree breeding is undertaken. It also permits housing for a large number of fowls as one unit and thereby reduces the overhead costs.

3. Stud mating Stud mating consists of keeping the cocks and hen in separate pens or confining the males in separate coops in the pen of the females. The hens are let into the male's pen one by one at intervals, and after mating they are removed to their own pen.

4. Alternate males In this method two males are used for mating, but only one is allowed to serve the hens at a time for one full day, while the other is confined to the coop. The following day the male that had been employed is removed to the coop, and the second one is let in with the flock. In this method, too, the paternity of the off-spring cannot be determined.

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