Cowood - Bull System Made Easy
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has been much talk lately about the advantages
of using a stud sire with lots of different hens.
It would be truthful to say that many lofts house
great pre-potent cocks capable of siring class
quality offspring that win out of turn. It would
be a great idea to get as many young from that
one cock as possible, all aged to within a week
of each other, thus starting life in the young
bird section as a team.
can be quite easily done, and the results can
transform your yearly performances dramatically.
The number of young obtainable from the stud sire
in one round depends on what you wish to put into
it. I successfully bred 10 young on my very first
attempt, all weaned off together. On my second
attempt I used a lot more hens (12) and weaned
off a full round of 24 young, all half brother/sisters,
all from the one single cock, using no more than
an ordinary 12 ft x 8ft stock loft or section.
Utilizing 12 hens; It is a good suggestion that
the hens to be used have already laid and reared
previously. The loft was fitted out with 12 ordinary
widowhood nestboxes. (Just about any type of nestbox
can be used so long as it is impossible for a
cock to get in and tread the hen.)
then selected on paper the hens in which I wanted
to use. The twist here came at this point, as
the cocks that were going to be paired to these
hens to rear the young as there own would also
be the sire's to the 2nd round of eggs. So when
selecting which cock goes to which hen make sure
you are thinking ahead, as the 2nd round young
will also be (as individuals) half brother/sister
to the first round off each hen.
loft itself should be fitted with an aviary where
the cocks can be locked out when the time comes.
I fitted a simple 4ft x 2ft wire aviary and tacked
an old curtain to the inside that could be dropped
and secured with household drawing pins. In the
aviary I placed a drinker and grit & mineral
pots. So you have your pairings worked out and
it is time to introduce the 12 cocks to there
nestboxes. It does not matter which box they take,
just allow enough time for them to get settled
in. It is also a good idea to lock them into the
aviary a couple of times to get them used to the
the day you are ready to proceed make sure that
the hens have been well fed and watered. It will
work a little better if you introduce the hens
later rather than earlier in the day. Feed &
lock the cocks into the aviary then place the
hens in the locked half of the nestboxes of their
selected cocks. If the hens are fit and ready
to pair they will tell you so without a cock being
present. It is a good sign that things will go
easy when the hens are very amorous.
the hens secure in their half of the box allow
the cocks into the loft. They perform there usual
stuff with plenty of billing between the bars
of the partitioned box. There is not a chance
that the cock can tread the hen. Leave the birds
like this until morning.
is a good time for pen and paper, so make sure
that you have a clipboard or such in the loft,
with the ring numbers and box numbers for all
the hens laid out. This will help you re-place
the hens into the correct boxes until they are
fully versed and keep good records of the days
first thing that I check as I walk in the loft
is that all the hens are still in their boxes,
none having escaped previously. This will be the
first item on the agenda every morning for the
next few days. If any hens have escaped it is
not a problem at this stage but you must remedy
the situation and prevent it happening again as
it is vital to the purpose of your programme.
Feed the cocks and lock them in the aviary with
their own drinker. Once secure you can allow the
hens freedom of the loft to eat and drink, pickstones
etc. As each hen returns to a box (hopefully its
own) lock her in. When all the hens are back in
their boxes let the cocks come back in. you will
get a feel for how things are going at this point.
The cocks should rush to their boxes spinning
and cooing. Repeat this again at some stage of
the day, allowing the hens a chance to stretch
their wings, eat & drink and find their own
box. You can also fit little drinkers to the nestbox
if you wish.
3 and Day 4
the same as day 2.
is the day to introduce the stud cock. The cock
I used was 10 years old and I thought this could
be a problem, but it turned out to be quite the
opposite. This system can work with a cock that
is already paired or sitting but you will get
quicker results if he is un-paired.
the cocks and lock them in the aviary. Release
the hens to eat & drink etc. Lock all hens
back in box. Bring in the stud cock and release
him into the loft, he will strut his stuff and
the hens will respond from the boxes. Allow the
stud cock to roam around, he will fly upto many
of the hens introducing himself. They will all
respond to his attentions. After 10/15 mins release
the hen from the first nest box, in no time at
all she will get down for the cock. As soon as
the deed is done get the hen back in her nest
box and remove the cock. Mark down on your record
sheet a note alongside the hens ring number that
this occurred. Place the stud cock back in his
own section. Rest for 30 mins and repeat with
the 2nd hen. No need to allow the stud cock time
to get his bearings, just place him in the section
and release the next hen. Copulation will be swift,
the chances are that all the hens saw the first
procedure and are now competing with each other.
Remove the stud cock and re-place the hen. Repeat
this every 30 mins to cover the first 6 hens.
Then give the stud cock a couple of hours rest,
re-starting later in the day with the last 6 hens.
Don't forget to mark down each hen in turn. If
one of the hens refuses to mate make a note of
it as she will be the first one the next day.
When all is done make sure all the hens are secure
and allow the cocks back into the loft from the
aviary, they are none the wiser.
all went well the previous day, do exactly the
same procedure but this time in reverse, starting
with the hen that was last the day before. Not
forgetting that the hens must be well fed etc.
before you commence.
the same procedure as day 6.
depending on the hens you are using you could
be getting eggs at this stage. If so, I suggest
you concentrate on any hen that has not laid as
it is my experience that once the hen has laid
she will have nothing more to do with the stud
cock, (sounds about right!!) Carry on with the
procedure until all the hens have laid. But be
warned, I have never known a hen that has already
laid her 1st egg to allow the stud cock to tread
her again, so the theory of 2nd egg fertilisation
needs looking at.
this stage I allow all the cocks into the loft
(but no contact) whenever possible to see that
their hens have laid. As soon as the hen lays
her 2nd egg I open the box and allow the cock
to enter. Many of them rush in and instantly sit
the eggs, no matter what time of day it is. Once
all the hens have laid you can treat the section
with ordinary everyday management. The cocks will
have no problem believing that the eggs are their
own and will sit normally. Let them sit 4/5 days
and then check the eggs are full. If you find
that any are infertile you can check your records
to see if there is a reason for this. When I used
12 hens every single egg hatched using just this
method, ending up with 24 young birds that all
resembled each other in various ways. If you paired
up correctly in the first place you will now be
able to let these cocks and hens lay a 2nd round
in the normal fashion.
agree this method can take up some time, but the
wise amongst you will plan this carefully to fall
on a weekend or a holiday. It is well worth the
trouble and does not take up any more time in
respect of days.
just had this published in the British Homing
World and thought it could be of interest to others.