PREVENTION BETTER THAN…
Prevention will always be better than the cure, but when it happened to one of my hens many years ago, my initial reaction was one of guilt and shock. I had some veterinary wound powder on site, so was able to douse it on the affected tear which healed in a few weeks. The feathers took a bit longer to come back through, but it was a lesson learned and I haven’t allowed it to happen again.
If you have experienced a case of ‘cock damage’ in your flock - no matter how many females your male is in with - then it needs addressing and fast. Our resident vet Victoria Roberts will have the best advice on the latest treatments for torn skin, but any females that have feathers missing on their backs [as a result of the male’s feet] should be inspected further for any damage that’s not visible while ‘on the deck’.
So go ahead and enjoy breeding from a single pair of birds, but keep your eyes peeled, make an assessment of the situation and remember that observation is key. You will get a feel for what is right, and it’s a big help being aware of these things before they are allowed to happen. With the above example, you may like different-coloured eggs and embrace the newcomers that help your pair-mating endeavours run smoothly.
Many of the top breeders swear by only breeding from ‘a pair’
Marans-based hybrids in with the Brahma male help share the burden with the Brahma female