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Cockerel conundrum

PUBLISHED: 08:11 28 March 2014 | UPDATED: 08:42 28 March 2014

These chiceks were bred from a bantam

These chiceks were bred from a bantam

Can a bantam cockerel mate with a full-sized hen? If so, would the eggs be viable?  This was a question one of our readers asked of Michelle Dunn, one of our experts.

Can a bantam cockerel mate with a full-sized hen? If so, would the eggs be viable?  This was a question one of our readers asked of Michelle Dunn, one of our experts.

ANSWER: A bantam cockerel can definitely mate with full size birds, and there is every chance the eggs will be viable. As a general rule, a bigger size difference between a cockerel and hens will result in fewer viable eggs, so if your birds are, say, Orpingtons, and the cockerel is a Sebright, you may not get many chicks. Your best chance is if the bantam cockerel is a similar breed to your full sized hens. Keep an eye on the mating – sometimes bantams can damage big hens in their efforts to mate with them. The resultant offspring will be a mix of large and small, but most will probably be medium and will lay relatively small eggs. Not a good bet if you want to sell them, but perfectly fine if you are keeping them yourself.

PICTURED: These chicks are all bred from a bantam cockerel with full size hens.

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