Tuesday 8 January 2013

Asterix the Gauloise

Asterix and his harem
I sell hatching eggs and the two things that buyers are most interested in are the fertility ( the percentage of the eggs they buy that are fertile) and hatchability (The percentage of fertile eggs that hatch). Fertility can be 95% or higher early in the year but tends to decline as the laying year progresses and its largely down to the male getting older and and fatter then losing interest in his work.

Cockerels mate about five times a day and hens every other day and he has a harem of 12 hens. You can do the arithmetic yourself. After mating the sperm is stored in the oviduct of the hen, enough for five or six days so its a rather efficient system. 

Cockerel fights can be bloody


Asterix my Bresse Gauloise stock cockerel has only been on the job for six months and hasn't lost interest yet but his behaviour is monitored and batches of eggs are tested for fertility from time to time in the incubator. Like his jungle fowl ancestors Asterix has a territory and if there were other socially inferior males around he would monopolise the mating in that territory. If a high status male appeared on the scene there would be a confrontation along the lines of, "Oi you lookin at my birds"? followed by a fight, possibly to the death.

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