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Flock management tip for breeders: High mating ratios could mean low persistency of flock fertility

13 January 2020, at 8:03am

Maintaining fertility throughout the production period requires a balanced female to active male ratio. Higher than recommended mating ratios can lead to issues with over-mating, as well as reduced flock fertility, egg numbers and animal welfare. Therefore, a planned reduction programme should be used to avoid high mating ratios and maintain optimal fertility during lay.

To avoid high mating ratios:

  • Review mating ratios weekly
  • Establish a well-planned male-reduction programme
  • Use recommended mating ratios as a guide only, and adjust them to local circumstances and flock condition.

Assess mating ratios weekly, check for signs of over-mating from 25 weeks of age.

Remove males if:

  • Alertness and activity has declined
  • Body weight is not on target
  • Legs and feet are not straight or show signs of bent toes or footpad abrasions
  • Body condition is not as expected
  • Comb and wattles are not an intense red color and the beak is not uniform
  • Males exhibit no feather loss around the shoulders or thighs
  • Vent is pale in color with no signs of feather wear
  • Females show visible damage or excessive feather loss.