Egg Production in Breeding Stock

This article is on egg production in your breeding stock and is being republished from Acorn Hollow Bantams website with permission from Lou Horton.

When I began my breeding program in Rouen ducks in the late nineteen sixties, I kept track of the egg production of each female since I was stud mating the birds and each female was penned separately during the breeding season. I was shocked to learn that the average number of eggs laid by my Rouen females at the start of my breeding program was less than 25 eggs per breeding season.

While I did not want to sacrifice size, type or color to improve egg production, I made a mental note to take the egg production of the female parent into consideration when selecting breeding stock if all other quality measures were equal. That really did not entail any sacrifice on my part (other than the little bit of trouble it took to keep track of the number of eggs laid by each female) and I was amazed at the difference it ended up making. By four years into the breeding program, the average number of eggs produced by each female Rouen went from less than 25 to just about 40. That meant that I had to keep fewer females to get the number of ducklings I wanted each year and that I could be more selective in choosing those females. In case you are wondering about the males, I would choose a young drake out of a very productive mother over one from a less productive one but again, only if all other qualities were equal. My point is that one does not have to give up decent egg production just because one is working with a flock of exhibition birds.

egg production

I still use a modified version of that system even though I no longer use a stud mating program. I often employ trio matings in both my East Indies and my Wyandottes. It is really easy to just put a hash mark on the tag I have on each pen identifying the mating each time I collect an egg from that pen. If I can easily tell which shape egg is being laid by each female, I will keep separate track. Otherwise, I just go by the mating total and divide by two. Not as accurate but better than nothing.

The one thing I can promise you is if you pay no attention to egg production in choosing your breeding stock, over the long term, that egg production will decrease.

By Lou Horton