Chickens breed Hercules are considered one of the most versatile meat and egg chickens.
These birds grow to impressive size, but at the same time they rush perfectly, which allows using them as not only meat, but also egg breed.
In addition, Hercules are great for backyard content.
Chickens Hercules is a very young breed. It was bred in 2000 by breeders from the Institute of Scientific Research Institute Borky on the basis of the Ukrainian and foreign gene pool of egg and meat chicken breeds.
To obtain the breed used the method of complex interbreeding.
Breed breed engaged Professor S. A. Bondarenko. It took him about 10 years to study other breeds of chickens whose genetic material could help in the creation of a new highly productive breed. New Hercules chickens almost immediately aroused interest among large and private farms because of the excellent combination of egg and meat characteristics.
General description of Hercules hens
The name was due to the impressive body weight. Birds are characterized by a massive body with a wide back. It smoothly passes into a not very large tail, located at an obtuse angle relative to the back of Hercules. The tail has long and rounded braids of a dark or light color depending on the color of the plumage.
The chest of Hercules is wide and full. The belly of the cocks is rounded, but slightly retracted. In chickens it is more lush and massive, although the weight of the chicken’s body is significantly less than that of the rooster. As for the wings, they are well hidden under the plumage of Hercules.
The head of Hercules has an average size. The face is not plumed, of scarlet color. The eyes are small, have a red or orange color. The beak is light yellow, of medium size, slightly curved at the end. Comb large and red. Roosters have from 4 to 6 clearly visible teeth. Earrings are red, rounded. The ear lobes of Hercules can be both light and red.
The thighs of this breed are massive, with magnificent plumage. Hocks are wide, bright. Fingers are widely spread, plumage on them is absent.
The color of the plumage of Hercules can be completely different, since different chickens were used in breeding the breed. The most common dark, light, brown and gray-blue plumage.
One of the main advantages that immediately catches the eye, is a good muscular body.
It allows the poultry farmer to receive a large amount quality and tender chicken meat. Best taste of Hercules appear after cooking carcasses steamed or grilled.
Besides, Hercules have strong immunity. It allows birds to more easily survive any viral diseases, and also prevents the occurrence of colds, which can significantly reduce the productivity of chickens.
Hercules also tolerate any adverse weather conditions: be it very hot or hard frost. This property of the breed is due to abundant feather and downy coat.
On top of that, the chickens of Hercules grow quickly and gain weight just as quickly. As for hens, they begin the first laying at the age of 155 days. With the right content, they can lay more than 200 eggs in the first year of production.
Content and cultivation
Breeders know that Hercules hens do not require special care and maintenance, but in order to achieve the most optimal result on egg and meat productivity, one should follow the basic rules for growing this breed.
It must be remembered that Hercules is constantly need nitrogenous substances. They can be added to a combined feed consisting of a mixture of cereals.
Also this breed of chickens requires the presence of a constant mineral feeding. Chalk, sand and crushed eggshell are often used for this. Chalk and shell are ideal sources of calcium.
This trace element is especially important for laying hens, which constantly lay eggs. As for the sand, it helps to clean the goiter of chicken from food debris. Thus, chickens are less likely to suffer from inflammation and blockage of goiter.
Keep Hercules best in spacious poultry houses with a yard. The fact is that this breed of chickens is quite active, so they need to spend energy somewhere.
A grassy yard, a garden or a vineyard will be perfect for this purpose. Even in winter, Hercules will walk there, as their plumage reliably protects the bird's body from hypothermia.
Youngsters of almost all breeds of chickens are more vulnerable than adults. The survival rate of chickens depends largely on proper feeding.
That is why during the first month of life chickens are given oatmeal porridge mixed with boiled eggs, cottage cheese, greens and cereals.
In the first days after hatching, the youngsters should receive mash with curd and cereals. However, the grain in any case should not be cooked, because after heat treatment all the nutrients can be destroyed.
From the second decade of the month, the young population can begin to give a grain of sunflower. It is best to start feeding with oilcake, previously tested for the presence of films. If there is a film in it, then it should be removed, as the chicken may not swallow it.
It should also be remembered that chickens of the Hercules breed in the first months after their birth can not normally digest food containing large amounts of fiber. In no case should you give the young flour, as it is strongly glued under the action of saliva, which could later become a causal blockage of goiter.
After adding greens to the feed of chickens, the farmer needs to carefully monitor the condition of the feed. In fresh feed, different pathogens are often infested that can cause the death of young Hercules. In order to prevent all the uneaten food better time to clean. In no case should not use it a second time.
If the correct diet has been established for the chickens, they will quickly grow into strong adult individuals. Of course, to improve the survival of young Hercules, one proper feeding is not enough, therefore need to additionally monitor the air temperature in the roomwhere the birds live.
Ideally, it should not fall below 17 ° C. If the temperature is too low, the chickens will grow too slowly.
Here we talk about the characteristics of chickens Hercules. The live weight of cocks at the age of 52 weeks can vary from 4.2 to 4.5 kg, and chickens from 3.2 to 3.4. Layers of Hercules begin to lay eggs at the age of 155 days.
They can produce up to 200 eggs per year. On average, each egg weighs from 60 to 70 g. 70 g eggs are perfect for incubation. 88 to 91% of chickens are hatching eggs.
Real analogues of this breed do not exist in Russia and Ukraine. There is only one breed, similar to Hercules. Chicken breeds of the Hungarian Giant are considered to be quite productive.
It is also characterized by high egg production and good muscle mass, but in terms of growth rate and quality of the meat produced, they are significantly inferior to Hercules.
Chickens Hercules: Description
The color of the bird of this breed can be either color or pure white. The main distinguishing features of chickens Hercules include:
- good muscling body
- wide chest
- volumetric abdomen
- strong thick legs of yellow color,
- bright red comb and earrings,
- neat, raised up the tail.
Experienced farmers advise when buying chickens to pay attention to their head. If the realized daily chicks are truly oat-flakes, they should completely lack the scallop.
According to reviews of breeders, these chickens have their advantages. These include, first of all, unpretentiousness, as well as a calm, benevolent disposition. Cockerel hercules fight very rarely, including with representatives of other breeds. With geese, ducks, turkeys, and so on, this bird gets along very well.
Hercules hens lay almost the same eggs as regular hens. With good care from one individual, you can get 210-220 pieces. Eggs are quite large. Taste they have very good. Farmers also praise them for a very large yolk of a rich bright color. The weight of one egg is usually 64-66 grams.
The weight of the bird of this breed is also gaining very well. Chickens can reach a mass of 3.3-3.5 kg, males - from 4.3 to 4.5 kg. At the same time their juicy and tender meat is considered more tasty than that of layers. You can cook not only soup. It differs from broiler meat in a more natural flavor.
What you need to know
Metabolism in meat and egg chickens is slightly worse than in the same layers. The diet of the breeds of these areas of productivity is similar. The only difference is that meat-giving chickens are fed 15-20% more. It is very important to ensure that the oatmeal chickens do not overeat. If they get too many vegetables and grains, their weight may increase too much. But not at the expense of meat, but because of the fat on the internal organs that suppresses the hormonal system. Such chickens begin to nest much worse, and their eggs lose their biological value.
Therefore, it is important to ensure that the grain and mash in the feeders do not lie. Eat all that they are offered, chickens should a maximum of 30-40 minutes.
Sometimes the owners decide to breed such a bird, like the chickens of the Hercules breed, on their own. In this case, during the breeding period, males are usually fed separately. The behavior of this poultry is such that the "gentlemen" usually pass the "ladies" to the feeders first. Therefore, cockerels often remain hungry, which, of course, can not affect the quality of the offspring. To prevent this from happening, in the barn it is worth stuffing separate feeders on the walls. They should be located at such a height that only the males would be comfortable with them.
Vitamin supplements for the winter
Chickens, hercules, reviews of which are very good, can be carried in the cold season, of course, only with proper nutrition. To take care of a full-fledged diet of chickens in winter is from the summer. Be sure to prepare vitamin supplements. It may be:
In the summer, you should add shredded dandelion, plantain, sow thistle and spurge into the fodder.
What should be the house
The conditions of the chickens Hercules are not too demanding. A house usually built frame-shield boardwalk. Inside install feeding troughs and drinking bowls, and also fill roosts and nests. The window in the coop should be required. Heating in the house is usually not satisfied. However, a thick litter (not less than 40 cm) of straw should be put. In the winter period, various biological processes begin to occur in it, accompanied by the release of heat. That is, such a litter begins to act as a "soft" heater.
Perches are installed at a height of 80-100 cm. Nests of standard sizes are nailed next to them. Feeders equip turntables. If this is not done, the chickens will climb in them and scatter the feed.
When the floor content in front of the barn arrange walking. From the chicken coop into it should lead a fairly wide hole. Hercules - the chickens are calm, but it is worthwhile to put a reliable fence around the paddock. Otherwise, the bird may enter the garden and peck, for example, tomatoes.
When kept in cages, you can slightly reduce the cost of raising such a bird as the Hercules chicken. Feeding them, however, in this case has some peculiarity: group D vitamins are necessarily introduced into the diet. This may be D2 or D3. Their use helps to strengthen the body of the bird and increase resistance to disease. In chicken cages, meat and egg production grows a little faster.
It is a bird of this breed a little more expensive than laying hens. The price of daily chicks, for example, can vary between 40-50 rubles. Adolescent chickens cost about 60-100 rubles. In Russia, the hercules breed is quite difficult to buy. Sell and breed them mainly in Ukraine.
Laying hens (the price of such chickens is about 35 rubles) are cheaper, give a little more eggs, but meat in such quantities as from hercules is impossible to get from them.
Hercules breed of chickens of the 21st century
Hercules is not a pure breed, but the result of breeding experiments. Scientists sought to produce a decent alternative to broilers, and put all their efforts into working on this selection. To achieve this goal, the breeders involved representatives of Broilers, as well as other breeds.
Scientists began their work in difficult times - in the 90s, and yet, after a while, they managed to present the result in 2000. The young generation that went through a series of experiments was notable for its rapid growth and good meat potential. Unlike broilers, the bird was not prone to diseases, and also did not have such a disadvantage as the watery taste of meat.
The merits of breeding a powerful chicken, called Hercules, belong to the staff of the Ukrainian National Institute of Livestock, which is located in the Kharkiv region. The group of scientists was headed by Professor Bondarenko, who gained fame thanks to the emergence of a new hybrid of meat and egg orientation.
Today, Hercules breed of chickens, too, managed to gain popularity - the poultry farmers fell in love with her not only for their productive qualities, but also for their ability to endure frosts without harming their health.
Birds "Ukrainka" worthy to be admired. Of course, in their appearance there is nothing unusual or exotic. They look like cute, country clubs with interesting colors, and large carcasses make them a bit awkward, giving even more charm.
Consider the main characteristics of the exterior.
- For you to immediately understand, we are talking about fairly large birds. “Ladies” with magnificent forms weigh about 3-3.5 kg, and their “cavaliers” - 4-4.5 kg. But, it is worth considering that these indicators only reflect the average value. There are not isolated cases where leaders have gained weight up to 8-9 kg, so everything depends on the genetic potential, diet and diet, and living conditions.
- Kharkiv Kvochka is presented in several different varieties of color. Kukushechny, golden, pockmarked, silver (like Adler), and white. Breeders, and many poultry farmers, point out that white quots have a lot of weight, and golden ones are better than all others.
- The shape of the body is trapezoidal. The body of the wedge with well-defined muscles, a broad back, massive chest and bulging tummy. Roosters have the same form, only they are somewhat larger.
- In relation to such dimensions of the body, the head looks rather small. On the reddish skin of the face is completely absent plumage. It is noteworthy that the crest of the birds is very developed, some leaders even hang down to the side. The ears are medium in size, can be red or pink. The eyes are not very expressive, and the iris is colored red-orange.
- "Fur coat" klush is formed from densely located feathers, and a large amount of down. The tail braids are impressive in length, especially in males.
Despite the fact that the feathery “Khokhlushki” have impressive forms, they are very heavy and look quite solid, they have a very good temper. Good-natured giants are the leaders of the pack, they are not characterized by pugnacity, but on the contrary, they know how to get along with everyone in the poultry yard.
Hercules breed of chickens leads a measured life, everything that happens is calm, without much interest, and most importantly, without fearfulness and stress.
Puberty and egg production
The testicles from these layers are very much loved by both farmers and consumers of agricultural products. This was quickly noticed by enterprising poultry farmers, and industrial poultry farms became interested in it.
The rate of maturation in Kharkov Kvochek is about 5-5.5 months, sometimes - 6. If pullets eat well, the clutch gets adjusted very quickly, and typical problems with the eggshell or the size of the testicles can be avoided. Annual egg production can reach 200 eggs, and all of them are large - from 60 to 70 grams.
The advantage lies in the fact that eggs produce a very voluminous yolk, constituting about 35% of the total weight of the product. The shell is soft cream or beige.
Chicken Hercules breed is not designed for the performance of maternal duties. She can be passive throughout the year, but when she suddenly sits on her eggs, she immediately has an attack of activity. As a result, the hen is engaged in anything except incubation.
Because of this irresponsible attitude towards children, poultry farmers do not recommend allowing the hen to be allowed to do this, it is better to assign this task to the incubator right away. Hercules is a breed of chickens with a weak incubation instinct.
Novice poultry farmers can be difficult to navigate in matters of care for offspring. Это не удивительно, ведь цыплята более чувствительны и уязвимы. Малейшие оплошности могут принести фатальные последствия.
Чтобы минимизировать потери, приступая к разведению, необходимо изучить основную информацию и четко следовать рекомендациям по выращиванию молодняка.
Линька является традиционной для всех кур. At this time, the bird becomes noticeably balding, dropping its plumage and carrying fewer eggs. Despite the unpleasant appearance for the host, this process does not bring any discomfort to the bird. Fluffy plumage of Hercules is restored literally in 1-1.5 months. At this time, birds are recommended to be fed fatty foods. For example, meat broth or fish oil. They have a good effect on the recovery of plumage.
Since Hercules is a hybrid, only primary offspring has the ability to adopt all the signs of the breed. All subsequent offspring will not be able to acquire the productivity of the cross. That is why the second generation is no longer allowed to breed. Or, in extreme cases, bred him with a Cornish breed rooster that can help restore signs of the breed.
Young of breed Hercules
To produce a quality first offspring, it is necessary to select a female weighing no more than 3.2 kg and the male no more than 4.8 kg. They must be healthy and well developed. Hens of this breed do not differ maternal instincts and reluctantly sit on eggs. Experienced farmers notice that even if the chicken was rather passive, then when she landed on her eggs, she always had various activities. She tries to do anything except incubation. Therefore, poultry farmers recommend not to allow chickens to incubate eggs, and immediately entrust this matter to the incubator.
Chickens breed Hercules do not require special care. Like the young of other breeds, the most dangerous period is considered to be up to 3 weeks. Later, the chickens are getting stronger and are already fairly well tolerated conditions for adults.
The survival rate of the chickens of this breed is about 90%, which is a fairly high figure on the general background.
Here are the basic guidelines for keeping chickens that will help grow sturdy individuals:
- in the first three days, chicks need around-the-clock lighting with a lamp,
- the first day I maintain the temperature at 32 degrees, and then gradually reduce 2 degrees per day, bringing it to 18 degrees in one week,
- It is possible to relocate to adults at the age of 1 month.
Nippelny drinking bowl for birds
It is important to take care of proper nutrition of the young. This will ensure rapid growth and normal development. Drinking bowls use nipple or drip. Do not allow nestlings to get wet. Chickens have poor digestion, so more fiber should be added to the feed.
Chickens Hercules have good immunity and resistance to various living conditions. However, like other breeds, they can get sick. The most common diseases are described below.
Healthy Hercules Chickens
Avitaminosis in chickens
The result of infection of puhopeedami
Most diseases can be avoided by regular prophylaxis. It will help you to save not only individuals, but also the whole livestock. Follow the recommendations and you will be able to protect your birds from ailments.
Healthy Hercules Hens
- It is not recommended to place young animals and adults in one poultry house. Chickens have a weak immunity, so even a minor disease transmitted from an adult individual can cause their death.
- If a disease is detected, immediately quarantine the diseased individual.
- If a sick bird is found, the room where it was located is necessarily treated with disinfectant solutions.
- Keep a balance of the feed you give to the chickens. Often it is bad food that causes illness.
- Watch out for the livestock habitat. Excessive contamination of the coop is not allowed. Unsanitary conditions cause many diseases.
A clean chicken coop is an important part of bird health.
If you follow these simple rules, then significantly reduce the risk of disease in your poultry, or at least prevent the death of a large number of individuals.
Is it profitable to raise chickens Hercules?
Buying chickens from this hybrid will cost the farmer twice as much as buying ordinary chickens. The price of daily chickens in the region of 40-50 rubles. Slightly grown young stock will cost 60-100 rubles per head. But such investments are well paid off due to the rapid growth of chickens and excellent egg production. Already in two months, the males reach a weight of 2 kg. Individual roosters grow to 5 kg.
Egg production at the breed is also above average. Eggs of this breed are highly valued, as the yolk takes about 35% of the egg weight. It is easier to care for these chickens than for broilers. Therefore, we can safely say that chickens Hercules are suitable both for growing for meat, and for breeding for an egg, being rather profitable birds.
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Before we consider the full description of these chickens, it is worth saying that hercules are not exactly a breed. This is a four-line cross or, as it is also called, a breed hybrid. Therefore, with ordinary home breeding, only 25% of the offspring can receive the productive qualities and characteristics of the parents. But this does not prevent the bird to be popular in the private home yard. As they say reviews of many breeders, according to the meat characteristics of chickens, oat-flakes are similar to color broilers.
Hercules is considered the most universal type of meat-egg chickens. They can be successfully grown for both eggs and meat. They quickly gain an impressive weight and at the same time they are excellent. It is because of the large size and excellent productivity that the birds received such a big name of the ancient Greek hero.
As we have said, this breed of chickens got its name due to the corresponding appearance. These birds are very large, massive, with strong bones. They have a wide chest and back, a rounded belly, small wings, tightly pressed to the body. The head of the Hercules is not very big, but with a well-pronounced facial part without feathers. As seen in the photo, these chickens have a large and bright crest, in roosters with clearly pronounced teeth.
Special attention deserves the description of the colors of Hercules. Since many breeds were used in breeding the cross, these chickens received a wide variety of color variations. There are several groups: white and color. The color of white hercules can vary from light milk and actually white to gray and blue. Colored chickens Hercules are distinguished by some pockmarkedness and there may be cuckoo, pockmarked, golden and other variants.
Of course, as you already understood, these chickens have a lot of advantages. First of all, our compatriots are pleased with their endurance and unpretentiousness to climate. You yourself know how different the weather can be: the heat in summer and the frost in winter. In addition, the birds themselves are beautiful and sociable, they are not shy and friendly, they quickly get used to the regime and their home.
But, perhaps, a very weighty flaw, judging by the feedback from farmers, is that this is a cross. That is, with self-breeding it is very difficult to achieve the same good qualities in the offspring. However, there is its own but. For example, good productive qualities can be preserved by crossing hercules with Cornish cocks. Otherwise, to update the herd, you will have to buy a new egg or chickens every time.
Photo 1. Grown-up chickens hercules
Photo 2. Chickens Hercules of different colors
Photo 3. White variety of oatmeal
Chicken beige cream eggs begin to give closer to six months of age. Moreover, in the first two months there are many two and three yolk eggs. The annual egg production rate of the breed is 220, the average weight of each is from 65.0 to 70.0 g.
Chicks already by the second month weigh more than 2 kg. One-year-old hens weigh from 3 to 3.5 kg, and for roosters - from 4 to 4.5 kg. These are standard indicators that are sometimes refuted in practice. So breeders claim that fattened roosters grow to 6-7 kg.
Interesting fact! Crosses are very viable. Safety of the grown chickens reaches 92-96%. And among adult birds, up to 94% of the livestock survive.
Advantages and disadvantages
When choosing a breed for breeding, the canals take into account its advantages and disadvantages. So the advantages of hercules include:
- rapid growth
- tender and tasty meat, as well as eggs with large yolks,
- normal tolerance of temperature drops,
- resistance to summer heat. Thanks to this, Hercules can be bred in the conditions of the southern climate,
- cold resistance allows keeping Kharkov crosses in temperate latitudes,
- lack of aggressiveness
- strong immunity.
How to walk
Hercules are covered with thick feathers and abundant, dense fluff, so do not suffer from the heat and are not cold in the cold. And in the winter, they easily walk in the snow.
Hercules are not afraid to walk even in snowy weather
Kharkov hens love to walk. Let them out into the fresh air for at least a couple of hours a day, especially on warm and sunny days. This will have a positive effect on the overall tone of the birds and increase resistance to disease. When it is freezing below 20 degrees, walking is not recommended.
Step-by-step instructions for preparing feed for chickens
Take 4 pieces of corn kernels.
Add 3 pieces of wheat grain.
Then put one part of the crust (sunflower meal) and the same amount of bone (fish) flour
Makukha and fish meal
To maintain the gastrointestinal tract, add crushed shells, chalk or crushed shell rock to the resulting mixture.
Special fodder chalk for chickens
Important! Hercules, like other breeds, need periodic baths of ash and sand mixed in equal parts. It is important for the prevention of ectoparasites. Because of them, birds have skin diseases and feathers fall out.
Seasonal update "wardrobe" - a phenomenon characteristic of all chickens. When feathers fall out, bald patches appear on the body. The hen begins to give less eggs, but it feels normal. The cover of hercules is restored in 1-1.5 months. In these weeks it is recommended to add to the feed components that contain a lot of fat. For example, rich broth from fish and meat.
Hercules lose beauty during molting
Chickens - crosses require special care up to three weeks of age:
- in the first 3 days you will have to install an infrared lamp in their chicken coop that burns around the clock,
- 24 hours after the appearance of young stock, the ambient temperature should be maintained at 32 degrees. In the future, it is reduced by 2 degrees per day, by the end of the first week it is brought to 18. And after another 21 days, the young are transplanted to adult birds.
Feed for older chickens should contain a lot of fiber. Update your drinking water more often. Drinkers are better to buy nipple or drip. It is important that the chicks do not get wet.
Important!Baby birds of the first days of life are given corn grits and chopped boiled yolk. After a few days it is allowed to add chopped grass, steamed or boiled vegetables, and low-fat cottage cheese. Mineral supplements are introduced later.
Crosses Hercules have strong health and immunity. They are hardy, but, like all domestic chickens, can hurt.
The table shows the likely pathology of bacterial origin.
Juveniles go astray in groups, beeping, pressing their paws. Sick chickens survive only in 30% of cases.
Specific therapy, as well as special prevention, has not been developed.
Antibiotics are used preventively (dibiomycin, terramycin, etc.).
Therapy involves taking antibacterial drugs (kanamycin, tetracycline, etc.).
The main method of prevention is vaccination.
The carriers are rodents and avian ectoparasites.
Infection occurs through contact, airborne droplets, as well as through water and food.
Also, birds can tolerate non-infectious diseases, which are presented in the table below.
As well as representatives of other breeds, Hercules are subject to:
- infection with intestinal worms and protozoa,
- infection with pathogenic fungi,
- the invasion of ectoparasites (ticks, bedbugs, fleas and lice).
Note!The better the genetics and the higher the immunity of the birds, the lower the likelihood of health problems. The risk of loss of chicken herd due to illness will be minimal if the breeder feeds the chickens properly, provides them with proper care, and does not forget about preventive measures.
Hercules bred less than 20 years ago. But during this time they have earned an excellent reputation. These chickens are very beneficial to breed, both in material terms and in terms of care. Kharkiv crosses have collected a lot of positive feedback. They have very tasty homemade meat. And the Hercules chickens are unpretentious. Buy chickens today as you can on the nearest chicken farm, and on an ad on the Internet.